2017 July 19: “Why is there no state funeral for Prudence?”

Text by Yaya Mavundla
Photos by Zanele Muholi

Struggle songs & ritual performances at an activist funeral. Prudence Mabele shocked many by her passing on the 10th of July just before celebrating her 46th birthday on the 21 July 2017.  Her funeral service held at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg was attended by many.  Politicians and public figures such as deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the funeral.

Cyril Ramaphosa_4173Ramaphosa was distracted by a group of activists who felt the government have constantly neglected the need to provide proper healthcare for average South Africans at public facilities. A group of activists walked out on Ramaphosa, just before the exit they shouted, “Remember Marikana”. Regardless of the protest, deputy president carried on with his speech he had prepared.



Programme directors for the day was Dr Ramathesele & Ms. Rosie Motene who handled the event very well, with dignity and pride, whom also knew Prudence on a personal level. A lot was said and happened during the proceedings. Highlight of the entire day was seeing Christians being able to work with traditional healers to send off their loved one with respect by doing what she believed in and who she really was. Prudence Mabele was a traditional healer and it was only right to have her friends who are traditional healers to perform a ritual performance during the church service and at her burial service at the cemeteries.

One of the speakers who spoke at the service was Bev Ditsie who spoke very fond of her dear friend.  She was very honest about how Prudence Mabele lived and experienced in her 46 years of existence. “Prudence lived fearlessly, she loved dearly and was very honest” said Bev.

She went on to add that as much as she was very loving but there were people who did not wish well and it was said that it even happened at her own organization and some of the people who were against her were people who she was there for regardless of what it took for her to help them. “She was backstabbed by people within her own organization” said Bev during her tribute to her dear friend Prudence.

Looking at how everyone spoke fondly of her work it is evidence that Mabele is a true legend, who deserves recognition and praise of all that she have done for the HIV and Aids people in South Africa and beyond. His grandfather Moses Mabele shared very powerful words speaking about Prudence, even went to make an example about a dog from Japan that a stature was put in place because of it dedication and asked “if the president of Japan can put up a stature of a dog, why would a president of South Africa do not do the same for Prudence who was very dedicated in making sure that people living with HIV get treatment”. This was of course directed to the press. Cyril Ramaphosa who was present at the funeral and he shared his wish that he hope that the government listens, because politicians constantly do not listen.



2017 July 19 Dr Goma _4122


Prudence Mabele’s funeral was one of the most powerful, well organized and attended by various people. “The funeral wouldn’t have been like this if it wasn’t for our dear friend Lerato” said Dr. Miranda Goma, who continued her speech and questioned ‘why is there no state funeral for Prudence.” She emphasized those words based on hard work that Prudence did for many communities. She was with Prudence until her last days. She went on to say that all people wanted to do was to speak at the funeral, those are the only requests they received.  The people who promised to donate, they did not. “The bank account is still not closed yet, it is still open, and you can make those contributions as promised. We still have to pay the people we borrowed the money from” she concluded.

The funeral service was scheduled to take happen between 8am-11am but due to speeches taking longer and for some destructions. The cortege left cemetery late noon and everything finished off by 16h30. She was laid to rest at Westpark Cemetery alongside South African popular citizens.


2017 July 19 Prudence s funeral _4230


Related links

About Prudence Mabele


A visual tribute to Prudence Mabele by Bev Ditsie



Posted in Prudence Mabele, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 July 4: Tumi’s Foundation in photography

by Tumi Nkopane

The 11th of January 2017 was my first day studying a Foundation Course (FC) in photography at the Market Photo Workshop (MPW) in Newtown, Johannesburg. The opportunity to study was granted to me by Zanele Muholi who is my mentor. It had been too long without studying full-time but I couldn’t wait to meet new people who also wanted to pursue their careers in photography but in different genres understandably.

Everyone was welcoming especially the staff, as they made each student feel at home and we were the first Foundation Course students of 2017 to attend classes in the newly built building in Newtown and the building looked stunning.

I am very fortunate to have received this opportunity to study photography in one of the best photography institutions in South Africa, and of course an institution that taught some of our well known photographers such as Sabelo Mlangeni, Thabiso Sekgala, Musa Nxumalo, Nontsikelelo Veleko, Lebohang Khanye, Zanele Muholi, and many  more. I would also like to be one of the best photographers who have been groomed by the Market Photo Workshop.

Photography seemed easy at first but as time went by and we were introduced to new new techniques daily which became challenging. I am glad that I had to study photography because at first I didn’t know the advanced techniques that were introduced to us in the course; I had only been introduced to basics of using a camera by Zanele Muholi when we did PhotoXP 2016 in KwaThema.


2016 May 9 PhotoXP participants with LQ & Muholi by LD_5287
          Members of the 2016 PhotoXP KwaThema during one of our photo sessions.                From Left – Right: Lebo Mashifane, Maphike Rafedile, Tumi Nkopane, Luyanda Mthembu, Khanyi Mtungwa with project co-facilitators Zanele Muholi & Lindeka Qampi.                                      (c) Photo by Lerato Dumse (2016)


2016 May 14 Thembi & Theo _ Boom Shaka by Tumi Nkopane_0383

Thembi Seete and Theo Nhlengethwa of the defunct Boom Shaka performing at the Not Yet Free Concert at Bassline, Johannesburg.  Photo by Tumi Nkopane (2016)


On the 8th Feb 2017 there was an Exhibition of a former student Phumzile Khanyile who had been awarded the Tierney Fellowship that took place at the school Gallery   since she was also a student at the MPW. It was inspiring to see a young black female having to share her body of work featuring her own personal touch to it.  As an artist you’ll have your own analysis or interpretations of each image or the whole body of work. I didn’t know that but because of the Market Photo Workshop I was able to do that.

We were given a brief for photographic assignments every Monday and we had to present our work and be critiqued by professionals. It was scary at first but we all got used to the crit. sessions and they were helpful to students.  That experience helped us to improve our technical knowledge of a camera and editing images.
The part I enjoyed the most in all the sessions was when we watched a documentary of a photographer Sally Mann which  particular genre like one of the greatest photographers, . Even though some of my classmates would be bored and complain about watching one and the same thing every now and then not knowing that it’s for our benefit at the end of the day. Before studying at MPW I didn’t know about South African photographers and I had not seen their work. Studying at the MPW made me enjoy my studies, even though I was unfortunately distracted and had to be pulled out of the course because of the accident I was involved in while going to school on the 13th February 2017. At that time I was assigned to do my Home and Portrait series critique which happened on that day. However, I wasn’t badly injured, I had sustained some injuries and I still went to school and reported the incident, and I was advised to go home and be back whenever I was feeling better.
I went back after few days thinking I was fine but I was not coping very well so the management told me to stay at home and come back in June to complete the course with the 3rd FC group because I’ll be fully recovered physically by then. I stayed at home but still continued taking pictures as it was therapeutic and it helped with my recovery.

On the 12th June 2017 I returned to school and it was difficult for me because of the (painful shoulder) side effects sustained from injury.  This time I managed to do very well at school.  My brochure was selected as the best one because of the choice of place or location and the way it was neat and technically edited.

The final assessment presentation was on the 6th and 7th July 2017, the atmosphere was so warm and we were working as a team for the last time, some members of the group were panicking thinking they won’t make it to Intermediate Course. It was nerve wrecking because I had to present my 24 Summative portfolios, surprisingly things went well even though the questions were tricky.

I really enjoyed studying the Foundation Course and I am proud to have managed to finish the course in 8 weeks, it was no child’s play, and we had to submit assignments after another. It was a valuable experience and I am honoured to have been a part of it.

I’d like to see myself achieving a lot in the future, especially in photography and I am grateful to have a mentor like Muholi, a person who encourages black women to work hard and make things happen.


Previous by Tumi

2016 Oct. 10:  VMCI Annual Conference


Related links
2016 May 17:  Launching Kwa-Thema PhotoXP


Posted in Article by Boitumelo 'Tumi' Nkopane, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 July 5: Phila’s reflection

Let’s start at the beginning, when you just want to take leave from work because everything becomes too technical and demanding, answering phones and dealing with a piles of paperwork and nonconformity of products. there’s just one call that comes through and changes everything.

When you get Zanele Muholi, calling letting you know, that you are up for her Stedelijk Museum exhibition. Making history because this is groundbreaking as they had never had a black lesbian showcasing other black people.

I was shaken, nearly fell off the chair with excitement. Fast forward, nothing shook me up as the schengen visa application process.
It’s not child’s play, Collected all my paperwork and I first checked the Rand to Euro stats to pay less for my visa, as the fee is 60 euros which sums up to R945. I made and cancelled my appointment according to the forex rate. I some how took it lightly. I had done everything and waited. lady luck fell in love with me because my visa was approved and this woman was ready to shop

The piece I am going to perform was already sealed and done. Written to perfection, it had always brought tears to my eyes everyone I would recite it to me.

1st July 2017, Start of the flights. I had everything planned out, from the packing to the time I landed in Amsterdam. I packed my suitcase and closed it the night before but in all things I had to do I forgot the key combination. One of my blonde moments hit me. I tried cracking the code like in the movies with no luck, finally broke the lock and bought a normal only to find out it does not fit.

My sisters dropped me off at the bus station at 11pm to catch the 23:30pm bus. When I got to Johannesburg Park Station got on the Gautrain, found my way around in the morning and familiarized myself with airport procedures. When my cousin came through, I got to explore the OR International Airport and catch up.

I boarded my plane and sat and watched movies and ate, plane food is not that nice and I’m a black person I need space so lay out my food, I had to use the space I was given. Dozing off after a couple of hours, During take off and landing i played The Weeknd’s Starboy, i was turnt up.

Landing in Amsterdam

When i landed, Lerato was waiting for me at the airport, I became relaxed and was used to the ins and outs of check ins and airport processes.

Boom! Shock of my life, Passport Control besides the annoying spiral lines. I was taken to Immigration. When you watch Border Patrol like I do, you would know that once you are taken there you are in trouble. I was quite relaxed. They didn’t ask me much. Just kept me there for 3 hours. They call Stedelijk Museum to confirm my invitation after it was all smiles and I was free to go. Finally.

Got onto the train to Amsterdam Central then we took the tram to the place we are residing at for the days we are in Amsterdam. “So many white people in one area!” I said to myself, Bikes everywhere, mode of Amsterdam transportation. Fascinating Architecture, Reminded me of Pietermaritzburg.

It will be a long time before I get homesick.


2017 Sept. 7 Phila Mbanjwa _ SM _ Amsterdam _3675bb

Phila gave a moving performance at Stedelijk Museum alongside Annalyzer.        Photo by Else L.G Krebbers. (2017/07/07)



Previous by Phila


2015 Nov. 25: My words are the ink in my blood



2013 March 10:  “I love women and they love me”



Posted in Amsterdam, Black Queer Talent, From South Africa to Holland, Phila's reflection, Stedelijk Museum, Uncategorized, Visa application process | Leave a comment

2017 July 23: UniQ interview with Le Sishi

By Sandy Nene



Le Sishi sm, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2014 - 2875

                                  From Umlazi To The World, Former Miss Gay Durban Le Sishi.                                            Photos by Zanele Muholi (Brave Beauties) series

Where did you grow up?

I was born, bred and buttered in the beautiful township of Umlazi (laughs).

What was your childhood like?

My childhood wasn’t that bad, my parents supported me emotionally, I had friends and siblings who wouldn’t make me feel otherwise. It was a fun and colourful childhood. I played with more girls than boys.

When did you discover your sexuality and was it easy accepting yourself?

At Grade 8, that’s when I started wearing women’s underwear. I changed my clothes to be more feminine, I would cut old pair of jeans and make them shorts – that’s when I started accepting who I really am and was willing to discover my sexuality as I grow.

Which schools did you go to?

I attended a primary school in MereBank and Naleni High School in Umlazi.

Did you come across through any discrimination while still schooling, especially high school?

They will always be negative comments towards homosexuals, but one needs to accept themselves, it has helped with me living my life to the fullest. If one is going to live their life the way other people want them, they will never be happy.

And the community you grew up in, was have they been treating you?

The community I grew up in is the same one that I am currently staying in. They have always questioned why am I too feminine compared to other homosexuals they knew but they accept me as a trans woman and I appreciate it.

How many siblings do you have and describe the type of relationship you have with them?

Yes I do have siblings, 2 brothers and 3 sisters, in total there is 6 of us. I have an amazing relationship with them, I am blessed to have them – they support every decision I make and I always consult with them whenever I am not sure about something.

What is your opinion on parents who don’t accept their homosexual children?

This reminds me how blessed I am to have the supportive family that allows me to be. I never understand why families never accept homosexuals, I mean, I’m a Preacher’s Kid – but have never felt any form of discrimination from my father or anyone in the family for that matter. At the end of the day, whether you accept your child or not, they were born like that, there is nothing you can do.

What’s keeping you busy and where can people spot you hanging out, having a great time with friends or having lunch?

I am involved with a lot of projects, I work for the Durban Gay & Lesbian Centre and I am very much involved in curating Gay pageants, drag shows etc for the LGBTI community.

NB: Please note that this article was first published in UniQ Magazine.


2013 Dec. 29 Candice with Le & Mini @ Durban South Beach_9449

From L-R: Mini, Candice and Le at Durban South Beach in Dec. 2013




Related links

2014 Aug. 8:  To be honest I love how I look




Posted in Article by Sandy Nene, Brave Beauty, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 July 22: LGBTI Leadership & Career Expo

Text by Yaya Mavundla 


It is Saturday the 22nd of July 2017, Constitution Hill and Koketso Rathumbu hosted a group of LGBTI individuals from townships and the surroundings of Gauteng to change stereotypes of LGBTI people & careers, expose them to individuals who will inspire and help them to make right career choices.

The expo featured different speakers from different organizations and so on. Some of the speakers at the event were, Nolubabalo Memese from Constitution Hill who gave a presentation on Bill of Rights. Immediately she was followed by the founder of Four

Fellows, who is an entrepreneur, blogger and communications strategists who advised attendees why it is to be an entrepreneur and good career choice, who can be an entrepreneur and how does it really work.
2017 July 22 Koketso talking to Youth @LGBTI Career Expo_4695

Koketso addressing youth at the career workshop. Photos by Lizzy Muholi (22/07/2017).

Most of the youth in attendance really didn’t seem interested. There was a lot of destruction during the workshop which really affected the presentations. Those who were supposed to be attentive workshop participants which probably cost a lot of money and time to organise were making noise and basically doing their own things showing no interest at all. With that behaviour, the organiser, Koketso Rathumbu who also happened to be the programme director asked if should we call it a day because people were very unruly. Showing no respect to the presenters.
2017 July 22 Doreen @ LGBTI Career Expo_4677
Luckily the workshop carried on with presenters from DHET – HEAIDS, Foundation for Professional Development GALA, Umrebo, Afro Designs, Gr8ter, Anova, SAAYC to name a few and Sunday Sun which was represented by Doreen MolefeLerato Matsoso.  Lerato shared a very inspiring story about how she followed her dreams to be a journalist even though her family was against it. Today she is an entertainment editor for both Sunday Sun & Sunday World, and her father is super proud. Even when her first article was published her dad framed it at their home.
The last speaker, Nozipho Makhado from the Department of Economic Development  invited 50 LGBTI individuals to participate in a script writing workshop to take place in Hammaskraal.  Those who have interest in the field can be contact her on e-mail at nozipho.makhado@gauteng.gov.za . She also extended the invitation to all LGBTI individuals to come showcase their work at the Gauteng Carnival on the 24th of September 2017.

The workshop happened and a lot information was shared and for those who were there to learn definitely gained something, and those who were there to pass time really wasted resources meant for the needy youth.

2017 July 22 LGBTI Career Expo
Posted in Article by Yaya Mavundla, LGBTI Leadership & Career Expo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 July 12: Enraged by Amsterdam attack

8 July 2017, Amsterdam.
 I’m feeling so enraged by the incident captured on video and the wrong information that is circulating in various media platforms who have not even received feedback from the witnesses.


These are the facts:

On Saturday 8 July, four crew members – young South Africans in their twenties – were due to check out of the Airbnb booked on our behalf by Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, who were our host.

They are participants in my photography and joined me in Amsterdam to write and perform at the opening of my exhibition, which was unveiled at Stedelijk Museum on Friday, 7th July 2017.

They also work with me as I continue with the media activism of Inkanyiso internationally.

Although they requested a late check-out, the owner was banging on the door demanding that they leave immediately. As they packed their belongings, he persisted unreasonably – shouting and acting aggressively. He first threw the belongings of the guests down the stairs whilst still shouting, and then forcibly pushed Sibahle Nkumbi down a steep flight of stairs face first.

As the encounter unfolded, videos were captured before Sibahle was pushed. The video with Sibahle has been released first on Facebook and then on Instagram to general outrage from our wider community.

In the video, you could hear Sibahle calmly asking the Airbnb owner ‘Why are you emotional?’ The encounter/incident culminates with Sibahle Nkumbi being pushed forcefully and falling, landing on her face at the bottom of the steep staircase where she lay unconscious. She sustained internal injuries and visible bruises, and ended up in hospital. We are waiting for a full medical report.

The attack happened when we were meant to bid farewell to each other and the Netherlands after a great opening at Stedelijk Museum. Each of us had to depart from Amsterdam that afternoon with travel booked and confirmed.  Instead, it ended in tears, trauma and hospital admission for one of the youth.

The physical brutality and verbal abuse that my friends experienced at the hands of an older white male, much taller and stronger than the four youth who rebuked them in Dutch and bits of English, was aggressive and traumatising.

By watching the video, it is clear that the Airbnb owner wanted the guests out of the apartment with immediate effect even when they pleaded to gather their belongings. The force he projected leaves no doubt about his intention to remove them, by any means necessary including force.

Another member from the top of the staircase captured the incident.

We thank God she is out of the hospital and taken care of. It will take sometime for healing and further check-ups will be needed and we hope for a full recovery. Witnesses and the survivor will need counselling to deal with this traumatic experience.

The incident made me so angry, numb, frustrated and emotionally bruised. The booked accommodation was meant to be a space of safety, and yet a young person was nearly killed.
A person who couldn’t defend herself physically against an older white male who violated her.
The questions I am stuck with:

Would the Airbnb owner have reacted the same way if it was a white female of Dutch descent?

Was he going to do the same if he were dealing with another man?

For me it is clear that this was an act of gender-based racist violence – a tall white man aggressively pushing a black female he perceived as lesser than himself, no different perhaps than the bags he first threw down the stairs.

From what has been relayed to me by my crew members, the attacker shouted ‘This is not Africa’ and ‘You are not the great artist that you fucking think you are… you are not the queen.’
This leads me to question whether he was being motivated by racism, sexism and xenophobia.

Visual Activist/ Inkanyiso.org
South Africa




Posted in AirBnB, Press statement, Statement, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 June 24: Humanity reigns in our society

Text by Tinashe Wakapila
Photos by 2017 PhotoXP photographers

Durban Pride 2017 was a vibrant situation led by a statement making ideology. Gugu Dlamini Park located at Workshop Shopping Center was the venue chosen for this year. Pride started   with prayers from my very own pastor, Apostle Zinzi Zungu of VMCI. There were memorials of powerful activists in the LGBTI sector who have passed away. This gave a feel of togetherness and underground depth of where we come from as a society and true meaning of the movement.




As I walked towards Pride gates following the beautiful and inspiring march, I saw a group of men and women making fun of this beautiful lady (I believe she is trans). At that moment it clicked to me that phobias of gender and sexuality are still there and many people have not embraced that are fluid.


This is why Pride march must happen in public spaces including townships, market places and populated places. Pride kicked off in style and all the stalls where lit. Motivational speakers were very deep and life healing. An interesting pair that I met was two queers from Pretoria who had their table of T-shirts in the stalls. They print themselves; they own the business. This showed that there is a lifeline of entrepreneurship in our society, which needs us to support each other. The next stall I attended was the Gay and Lesbian Network table which came all the way from Pietermaritzburg. They had assorted protection for sexual intercourse and the distributors were ready to share information regarding the how’s and when’s to use it. Health tables were filled up and it was brilliant knowing that healthcare matters in the society.



The next interesting show that had significance was the modeling session with the young people embracing their bodies and parading. Looking into this event I can proudly say Pride played its part and really made a statement in the different capabilities of how humanity reigns in our society.
Later there where different after parties. I attended the one at Urban Lounge, because the DJs that were taking the floor are from the LGBTI society.



My wrap up about Pride this year is an explosion of humanity. It showed how much lgbti people participate in each sector of the bigger society from arts to health, entrepreneurship to religion. Last but never the least, family from Faces and Phases series and 2017 PhotoXP project (Gauteng) came all the way to document Pride. We came together as an extended family with KwaZulu Natal participants. Taking over the space with cameras and capturing the moments through photography and me with my commentary writing. I say hats off Inkanyiso!
Yithi Laba!



Previous article by Tinashe

2016 June 10: Contains Explicit content for good knowledge Aluta Continua




Posted in A new visual history, Article by Tinashe Wakapila, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment