2016 Feb. 4: Intwaso yase Market Photo Workshop

by Sicka ‘Shaz’ Mthunzi

Sharon Shaz Mthunzi sm_ Daveyton Johannesburg 2013
I grew each day and everyday and I’m growing through transitioning in different art forms. Viewing the world through the ‘EYE’ is a very interesting and very ‘eye opening’ to how the world functions. The ‘eye’ refers to a camera, a tool that I didn’t have any interest in, until I was introduced to photography. I never saw photography as an art form; I always thought that there was nothing fascinating about just shooting.

August 2015 I registered at Market Photo Workshop (MPW) for the Foundation Course (FC), which took 8 weeks. I thought to myself 8 weeks was nothing, little did I know that pressure and a pile of work waited for me. On the 28th of September I received a call from MPWs admin office asking me to come in the next day to get documents and info on when my classes where starting. The next day I got there and  was told my classes start the next day, and I thought to myself these people mean business and it was a wake up call that I must take this very serious and expect pressure.

The first day we had Orientation where we were introduced to every stuff member, rules and requirements of the school. Every member was very welcoming from the head of the school John Fleetwood, to the lady who cleans, I love and adore her and call her mamNthabiseng. There where 11 of us in class and I don’t know what happened to the 12th person since MPW takes 12 per course. For our classes we had my favorite visual literacy taught by Michelle Harris, my other favorite subject is Analog taught by Ilse van de Merwe, adobe Photoshop and bridge by Sanele Moyo, Professional practice with Natalie Payne, Technical practice with Michelle Loukidis and Mpho khwezi as our Analog trainer and assessment supporter.

We then had Mr Tswaledi whom we always went to, to get cameras that we hired from the school, which was a digital cannon 550D camera, a Nikon analog camera and a tripod, but we were not allowed to take both cameras home at the same time. MPW takes 6 FC classes a year, so when we started the fifth FC was about to finish and we were the last one for the year. Every class we attended we were asked “why are we here?”
My response was “my mentor Zanele Muholi is a photographer and I work with her writing and documenting for the Inkanyiso website, and I’m also an artist, so when going for shoots I will know how and where I want to be shot.” 

In Loukidis’s class (technical practice) we were taught the functions of the digital camera, how to work with different light and she also took us outside to shoot. With Moyo we got to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and bridge, how to edit and manipulate images using Photoshop. Payne helped us with professional practice where we got tips about the industry and also writing our own CVs, biography and photographer’s statement. Michelle Harris taught us how to view the world in a different way, how to see beyond, create images and helped us build our confidence and communication skills.

Mpho Khwezi was assisted Ilse with analog and he also helped us with preparing for assignments. We did analog with Ilse, which is the old and more traditional part of photography using film and the dark room. We had seven assignments for the course and submitted every Monday. They were visual elements, exposure, home, hard and soft light analog, SA photographer, brochure that I hated and personal selection. During crits we would place our pictures on the wall and present them. Both Michelle’s were critiquing us and in our final crit. we had an extended person added who hasn’t seen our work. Crits were very important because you are told where you went wrong and also about your progress when you are resubmitting.

In looking at an image analysis is very important because you get to notice and understand everything about the image. Usually most people who don’t go to exhibitions, when they look an image they look at it for a few seconds and end up missing the little points that make up the whole image. Through learning image analysis I can look at an image for a long time like we used to see how this top class people do when they get to exhibitions. My experience at MPW was worthwhile and very inspirational and because of my mentor advising me to go, I now respect what photographers undergo. I am looking forward to carrying on with photography and have my own body of work, which I would exhibit in my township.


Related link

2014 Dec. 7:  My eight weeks at Market Photo Workshop doing FC





Posted in 'Sicka' Sharon Mthunzi, Activists Act, Being conscientized, being respected., Being seen, Black Lesbian musician, Black lesbian sangoma, Black lesbian visibility, Brave, Chance, Change, Claiming mainstream spaces, Dedicated, Dedication, Market Photo Workshop, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Feb. 7: Second Infinity award for South Africa

by Lerato Dumse

It has been a good start to 2016 for Zanele Muholi, who is selected as an honouree for the 32nd annual Infinity Awards. The International Center of Photography (ICP) made the announcement beginning of February and the ceremony will be held in New York City on April 11, 2016.

The announcement comes a week before the acclaimed photographer is due to collect an Outstanding International Alumni Award from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. In 2010 Muholi graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media at the institution.

The award winning photographer, artist and activist from Umlazi, in Durban South Africa, has managed to build a name by documenting black members of her LGBTI community. It was her exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum that impressed the Infinity panel that selected the winner in the documentary and photojournalism category. Her solo exhibition titled Isibonelo/Evidence was mounted from May to November 2015 at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Isibonelo/Evidence comprised of eighty-seven portraits produced by Muholi between 2007-2014 including her equally acclaimed award winning black and white portrait series Faces and Phases. The exhibition fused photos, videos and text by featuring same sex weddings and a timeline detailing the horrors of hate crime incidents, combined with personal testimonies.

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Congratulations for Muholi have been coming in from far and wide for this award, which is “widely considered the leading honour for excellence in the field.” Infinity awards are also ICP’s largest annual fundraiser, supporting all of its programs, including exhibitions, education, collections, and community outreach.


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Muholi is no stranger to the world of winning awards, she has won numerous awards including the Fine Prize for an emerging artist at the 2013 Carnegie International; a Prince Claus Award (2013); the Index on Censorship – Freedom of Expression art award (2013); and the Casa Africa award for best female photographer and a Fondation Blachère award at Les Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography (2009).

Her Faces and Phases series has shown at, among others, Documenta 13; the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale; and the 29th São Paulo Biennale. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her publication Faces and Phases: 2006-14 (Steidl/The Walther Collection).
Muholi is an Honorary Professor of the University of the Arts, Bremen.

Past recipients of the Infinity awards include Muholi’s mentor David Goldblatt, who also supported her financially to complete her MFA. As well as Berenice Abbott, Lynsey Addario, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roy DeCarava, Elliott Erwitt, Harold Evans, Robert Frank, Adam Fuss, David Guttenfelder, Mishka Henner, André Kertész, Steven Klein, William Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Levitt, Mary Ellen Mark, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Daidō Moriyama, Shirin Neshat, Gordon Parks, Sebastião Salgado, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Mario Testino, and Ai Weiwei.


Full List of 2016 Recipients:

Lifetime Achievement: David Bailey
Art: Walid Raad
Artist’s Book: Matthews Connors, Fire in Cairo
OnlinePlatform and New Media: Jonathan Harris and Gregor Hochmuth for Network Effect
Documentary and photojournalism: Zanele Muholi

Writing and Research: Susan Schuppli


Related links


2013 Aug. 31:  Black lesbian visual activist wins Mbokodo award




South African artist wins in the US

Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Creating awareness, Expression, Power of the Voice, South Africa, Uncategorized, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Jan. 31 Best of Black Girls Only

Photo Album
by Lindeka Qampi/ Inkanyiso media
What: Black Girls Only
Where:  Women’s Jail, Braamfontein, Con Hill
When: 31.01.2016
Camera used: Canon 6d hand held


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2016 Jan. 31 Black Girls_0450


2016 Jan. 31 Black Girlz Only_0451


2016 Jan. 31 Crowd of Black Girls Only_0452


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2016 Jan. 31 Omuhle 9_0218


2016 Jan. 31 TK @ bgo _0436



About the photographer


2015 Sept. 12: ‘2015, the year of breaking silence’





Posted in Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Creating awareness, Expression, Power of the Voice, South Africa, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2016 Jan. 31: Muholi’s upcoming mo(ve)ments

Feb. 2016: Announcements on upcoming exhibition, artist talk/lectures in the US
Source:  Posters provided by hosts and partners

2016 Feb. 6 Zanele-Muholi_poster


2016 Jan. 14 Muholi _ ft MoCP Lecture


2016 Feb.5 - 26 Muholi @Gallatin NYU invite

Previous lectures:


2015 Dec. 8:  Cultural exchange from Johannesburg to Sardinia




2015 Oct. 14:  Brief visit to Amherst




2015 Oct. 9:  Muholi presents at Penny Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series



2015 Sept. 8:  Faces and Phases presented at Hasselblad Foundation




2015 Sept. 2:  When Faces Meet in Gothenburg, Sweden




2015 Aug. 23:  Muholi and Dumse present at Light Work AIR




2015 March 12:  Muholi addressed scholars at Brighton University, UK




2015 Feb. 27:  Announcement 
Public Lecture by Zanele Muholi @UCLAN, London




2014 July 18: Women’s Day Lecture at UFS




2014 June 17: Muholi’s Ryerson University (RIC) Talk




2014 Mar.21: Photo of the Day from Human Rights and LGBTI in Sub-Saharan Africa class




2014 Mar. 18: Sharing South African Queer Knowledge with students in America




2014 Mar.5: More than an activist




2014 Feb.4: Black Queer Born Frees in South Africa




2013 Nov. 4: From Market Photo Workshop to Bremen University





Posted in Activists Act, Africans Abroad, Announcement, Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Archiving Queer Her/Histories in SA, Art Activism, Art Edutainment, Articulation, Artist Talk, Being conscientized, Being heard, Collaborations, Creating awareness, Education, Expression, lectures, New York University - Gallatin Gallery, NYU - Gallatin poster by Ellen Eisenman, Posters, Power of the Voice, Reports by Lerato Dumse, Sharing knowledge, South Africa, Visual activism, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Writing is a Right | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Jan. 22 Lyle Ashton Harris talk at Nirox Arts…

Photo Album by Lerato Dumse & Sandisiwe Dlamini

Where: Nirox Arts Space, Johannesburg, South Africa


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2016 Jan. 22 Nirox friends & supporters_0284


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2016 Jan. 22 Nirox friends_0339


Lerato & S_0310

2016 Jan. 22 Rudean & Muholi_0261


2016 Jan.22 Friendships_0428


2016 Jan.22 Yswara Muholi Harris_0244



Related link


2016 Jan. 25:  Creative Artists share knowledge on archiving






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2016 Jan. 25: Creative Artists share knowledge on archiving

Text by Lerato Dumse
Photos by Sandisiwe Dlamini & Lerato Dumse

Over the last couple of days there have been numerous news reports about snakes being spotted in residential homes and incidents of humans and animals being bitten in South Africa. So when we arrived at the Cradle of Humankind on January 22. 2016, for the conversation between Lyle Ashton Harris and Zanele Muholi at the Nirox Foundation, my first thought was ‘I hope there are no snakes here.’ The place looks beautiful with a green nature ambience created by the many green trees that surrounded the studio that Lyle used during his Artist Residency at Nirox and the conversation venue.


2016 Jan. 22 Muholi & Harris_0211

The conversation was made possible through a partnership between Nirox Foundation and the US embassy. In her opening remarks, Elizabeth McKay, US embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission thanked everyone for attending the event, “which celebrates the rich traditions of art in South Africa.” Calling Zanele and Lyle talented and proactive, Elizabeth also thanked the artists for bringing their voices and critical work into conversation about art and the intersection of sex, race and gender. Adding that Lyle is the second American artist that the embassy has sponsored to spend time at Nirox.


2016 Jan. 22 Nirox friends & supporters_0284

Front row (right) Elizabeth McKay, US embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission interacting with audience.


This is not the first time that Harris and Muholi’s work have crossed paths. Harris came across Muholi’s work around 2007 when a friend who had visited South Africa told him she (Muholi) was someone to look out for. Shortly after they were part of a group show in New York, which received a good review in the New York Times.
In giving context about his history with photography, Lyle explained that he was an economics major, and it was during his junior year that he visited his brother in Amsterdam and started doing photography. His stepfather Pule Leinaeng convinced everyone that, “they need to let the boy do what he needs to do.” He had his first New York show in 1994 at the Jack Tilton Gallery. Harris shared many of his signature shots, some of which he referred to as infamous. One gender-bending image taken in 1994, remains relevant especially with the Black Lives Movement, “Saint Michael Stewart” (named for a young black man who died in police custody, in the photo Harris wears both lavish makeup and a New York City police uniform. He also projected “Lyle Ashton Harris in collaboration with Thomas Allen Harris, Brotherhood, Crossroads and Etcetera. #2 1994, the image initially spoke to the complications of desires of the body.


2016 Jan. 22 Lyle presentation _ portrait_0235

Harris has managed to successfully cultivate a diverse artistic practice ranging from photographic media, collage, installation and performance. His work explores intersections between the personal and the political, examining the impact of ethnicity, gender and desire on the contemporary social and cultural dynamic.

“We Live in Fear” a documentary collaboration between Muholi and Human Rights Watch was a hit with the local audience when it was screened at the event. The activist then explained that the documentary was produced in 2013 and narrates how she does her visual activism focusing on LGBT community. Muholi explained that she has started working with herself, “trying to remember the person she is.” The project was born from an urge to introspect, as she “becomes a different person, aging as a female bodied being, confronting personal demons that we hardly deal with as human beings especially photographers.”

Muholi shoots her Somnyama Ngonyama series at every space she wakes up during her travels and added that she doesn’t need to paint herself because she is already black. The images are on blackness and representing the self, as she wakes up feeling different, sometimes she doesn’t like herself.
Muholi has had two solo shows and one group exhibition for Somnyama and was well received in New York, Johannesburg and Nuoro Italy.
Muholi told the captivated crowd that in this series she uses her body as her artistic response to on-going racism in different parts of the world, but has not divorced the self from exploring issues of gender, class and sexuality. One of her striking images in Somnyama speaks on being the ‘black sheep’ in your family.
“Many queer people are disrespected in their own families, especially when you are a female and there are expectations for dowry or ilobolo to be paid for you.” The activist said she wanted to create an image “that speaks on being the black sheep in a family where you are expected to provide for one to be respected.”


2016 Jan. 22 Rudean L. _0226

Apart from the artists presenting their work, a special reading and musical performance was on the programme. It was the first time that Harris’ mother Rudean Leinaeng was reading from her forth-coming book in the African continent, titled Coal, War and Love. It is a fictionalised treatment of a family history based on her grandfather Sergeant Albert Johnson Snr. Albert fought in the Great War, WWI and became one of the famous, ‘Harlem Hell Fighter’ a black area in New York. The story talks about a boy forced to leave school after the forth grade, he travels and makes the world his classroom. He struggles to find his place in early 20th century America as a black man. Albert marries the woman of his dreams and risks his life in the war, with hopes of making a better life for her and their children. He enlists in the 15th coloured regiment of New York and wins many medals. Rudean read from chapter 25, which takes place in 1917.


Lerato & S_0310


Mixing various instruments such as a flute, rhythym guitar, whistle and vocals allows Lerato Lichaba and Tubatsi Mpho Moloi to create a rich and unique sound. Their style of clothing is beautiful and embraces African fashion. The creative duo makes use of ordinary objects such as pipes, to create unique sounds. Born in Mzimhlope, Orlando West Soweto, Lerato is a self taught Guitarist who began his journey with the guitar at the age of 16 years. While Tubatsi has been performing with Lerato since 2013, he has toured the world on a musical production called Umoja where he was also acting and dancing.


Previous by Lerato

2015 Dec. 8:  Cultural exchange from Johannesburg to Sardinia




Posted in A new visual history, Acceptance, Appreciation, Archive, Archived memories, Archiving Queer Her/Histories in SA, Art Activism, Art Is A Human Right, Art is Queer, Artivist, Beauty, Before US, Being conscientized, Being heard, being loved, being recognized, being respected., Openminded-ness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2016 Jan. 14: Disowning parents

by Mandisa “Thozie” Mathe

Nobody belongs to any other person in this life. We only have connections with each other, either you are connected to me because we’re family, friends, partners or enemies that’s if there is anything like an enemy. Life for homosexual people has been hard and still is. The hardships come when one has to compromise his or her being and be what the other person wants them to be. Parents can only have dreams about their kids but parents must be aware that they are bringing lives to earth. Meaning they are bringing souls that are here to manifest, experiment themselves and bring about change if there is anything like that. It shocks me when a parent is so much hateful towards her or his homosexual child. But why Lord?
Why would one do such a thing?

Parents must know that there is no need for them to approve their gay kids, nor a need to disapprove them. Nobody can or must choose whom you should love and no one has a right to decide who you must sleep with.

I don’t understand why parents are chasing their kids away. If one has the ability to choose which sickness you must have then they can choose your sexuality, if one can feel your pain then they can choose your sexuality. If you are not me then stay right there and embrace my presence with love.

It is so painful to even think of homosexuals that committed suicide just because they wanted to be accepted or be approved. There is really nothing to be approved here because all human beings have a right to LOVE and LOVE wins. You cannot convince a person to make love with someone they do not love.

2015 Jan. 2: Families at Durban South Beach...

2015 Jan. 2: Families at Durban South Beach…

If we can try to unpack reasons why some people don’t like homosexuals we would be wasting time. How can a loving parent chase away a child that she carried for 9 months because of the fact that she is a lesbian. Reversible we can conclude that when we are told that these are the final days we mean people have turned to be animals, we mean there is no humanity in us. Families shall part sisters will kill each other simply because we are fighting over the fact that you are not sleeping with a man. You do not want a penis to penetrate you! Simply because you are happy with another women in your life, then that would make some people turn to be animals, people would want to kill you.

Fact is love wins over everything. You can only have hopes for your kids but you can never have dreams for them, they are the only people to manage their dreams. Sometimes we even prefer to talk to “strangers” about our problems. Are we not supposed to talk to family members first?

The other issue is the dress code

What is it exactly that defines a female? Is it clothes? Are you female enough underneath a dress?  Are you man enough under shirts and baggy pants?
No! Does your breast make you a woman? Does having a penis make you a man enough?
No! You may have a penis but it might not be functioning well. You may have breast but as time goes on they might have cancer and they have to be cut does that mean you are not a women now?
Nothing in your body defines you. Your dress code does not tell who you should be in love with, and a vagina or penis does not determine who you should marry!

Under formal pants we still find man who are killers and fathers who rape their own daughters, underneath nice skirts we still find “women” who abort kids and who abuse their kids. What then makes a female a woman? What in life determines who a woman should be in love with?

A dress code and your anatomy cannot determine LOVE for you. It is time we let people be what they want to be, love who they want to love. Sleeping with a man or not sleeping with a man does not make you less of a woman or more of a woman. The fact that I was born female does not mean I need a penis to be more like a woman or to be accepted by the community. To be disowned by parents just because you will not allow a penis to your vagina does not mean you are less of a woman. Gone are the days when one would be loved because of who or what they are. The days of unconditional love vanished too soon. Homosexuality is not from towns neither from rural areas. If God is love, then love is unconditional meaning God loves you as you are.


Previous by Mandisa
2014 June 16: Ze ungandibizi


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