2019 Jan.5: Mobile School of Photography Graduation Ceremony  

By Thobeka Bhengu

There is something moving about seeing young black women empowered. Their confidence shoots through the roof. The way they present and articulate themselves takes a complete shift for the better. Education should be a holistic approach, which entails developing young people intellectually, socially, mentally creatively and spiritually. When the education environment is safe, flexible, fun and requires a young person to push themselves beyond what they have ever imagined, it makes it easier for young people to learn.

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The Photo XP project was founded by Zanele Muholi in 2004 and has trained and shared photography skills with black youth and women. The Mobile School of Photography project is a fairly new project under the Photo XP banner. The project was discussed in November 2018 and by December 13th 2018 Sir (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Embassy) Zanele Muholi,  and renowned visual activist welcomed students from Thamela Primary School. The number of participants increased each week and by the end of December, there were already 26 students participating in the Mobile School of Photography including Duduzani Primary School learners, Inanda and Chesterville residents. The participants attended sessions, went for studio visits and captured images in different spaces around Durban. Teachers accompanied the students throughout the holidays to the sessions. Parents were notified and gave consent to have their kids attend the sessions.

On the 5th of January twenty-six participants graduated from the Mobile School of Photography. Each one of them equipped with basic skills of using a camera, reading, writing and capturing moments that matter. The theme of the project was land. Each participant had to take images that speak to the issue of land in South Africa. They had to go to different places including Inanda, Chesterville and Durban Beach to capture different images.

The land discussions should be inclusive of young black women who have inherited the injustices of the past. The importance of the relationship between women and the land in this country is a vital one. In their congested and polluted townships where they come from, the students had a brief understanding of the importance of the land discussions. The archiving of these visual discussions and naphoto xp 2019 graduation ceremony.dbnrratives is just as important.

The 05th of January 2019 was a glorious celebration. Parents, teachers and friends attended the graduation ceremony to experience and celebrate these young people. Inkanyiso team worked tirelessly to put together the graduation ceremony in about 2 days. Some members of the team had to depart to their respective provinces and the ceremony had to happen before their departure and before the schools opened. Thankfully, the relationship with The Chairman had been cemented on the 22nd of December 2018, for Somnyama Ngonyama Book Celebration. Ndabo Langa, the owner of multiple establishments including The Chairman, was able to give us a perfect space to host the graduation at DGIT, on Mahatma Gandhi Road in Durban.

As an organizing team we thought that the space was big enough to accommodate close to about 50-70 people but by 10 am the participants and their parents had filled in the seats. As more people came, we ran out of seats but everyone was patient with us and wanted to be there to witness this special occasion. The master of ceremony(MC) for the day was Christie Van Zyl, who handled the programme with grace. Lindeka Qampi and Lizzy Muholi spoke on behalf of the facilitators and finally, Prof. Zanele Muholi spoke on the project and the importance of this project as it relates to black girls and the land issue in South Africa. Muholi encouraged everyone to “give young people cameras instead of candies”. Students performed a Busi Mhlongo’s powerful rendition of Not Yet Uhuru with two poems incorporated in the performance.

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The house music played by one of the service providers Aluta Humbane Productions by Aluta Humbane, also set the mood. “Thina sizwe” created a sombre and reflective mood that was linked to the land issue as the song also speaks about the unfair dispossession and the endless tears of black South Africans who were displaced and removed from their land.

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The actual handing over of certificates became a celebration, students showed off their talent and danced after receiving their certificates. They laughed and danced while their parents watched their kids make them proud. This was a special occasion, a first class of the Mobile School of Photography and the first graduation ceremony was a resounding success. This would not have been possible without the support of the schools, teachers, parents, service providers, Inkanyiso team and the vision and resilience by Sir’ Zanele Muholi.

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2019 January 2: Musical Freedom at AfroPunk

by Mantis Mamabolo

Filed imges by Lerato Dumse

AfroPunk Day 1

30 December 2018

Partly cloudy with a chance of Afrochic, street fashion, artistry, good food and drink and amazing music. Volumous clouds hang low in the sky, heavy with probable showers. The sun makes the occasional appearance almost to steal a glimpse of the splendor that is to be AfroPunk 2018, Johannesburg edition.

I enter through the gates and my hand painted t-shirt that says, “Don’t assume my gender” attracts queer eyes. Not only a party, Afropunk has always attempted to create a safe space for the LGBTIAQ+ community to voice it’s politics. This is evident in its festival mantra: NO SEXISM. NO RACISM. NO ABLEISM. NO AGEISM. NO HOMOPHOBIA. NO FATPHOBIA. NO TRANSPHOBIA. NO HATEFULNESS. This is evident in the audiences it attracts right around the world from Brooklyn, to Paris and now the queerest in Johannesburg. This is evident in the line up that is on offer at each of these venues. This year goes without exception with the most representation in terms of LGBTIAQ+ artists of any festival on African soil. The 2018 line up boasts at least nine artists across the various musical disciplines.

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K Dollah is the first of that queer representation to hit up the Gold stage with sounds cultivated in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. A transgender man from the Cape with a stellar deliverance of music prepared, his performance is unfortunately marred by alleged misgendering off stage and him being referred to as ‘she’ by the MC Smash Afrika, who brings him onto stage. This echoes the sentiment that follows the festival as well as the establishment that real transformation is not as authentic as is portrayed in the realms of media.

A slight dampener but he pushes through and delivers an amazing set and the day continues as the festival moves in full colour, under the gaze of the sun that sits behind the clouds that periodically remind festival goers of their presence. I take this moment to walk through the impressive market set up along the flanks of the main stages. The stockists boast their best wares in combinations of African prints, beads and creativity. A pop up barbershop is also set up because what outfit is complete without the hair done right.

The bar is not as enthusiastically stocked but I find a drink that satisfies the thirst. Drink in hand I watch as Coloured markers are passed around festival goers pen their words of wisdom and have their names immortalized next to the official ‘kook kid’ art on the 2019 Hyundai KONA (Grand i10 X) on display.

As I get lost in the technicolour of my surroundings I get snatched back to the reality of the music as the MC announces Moonchild Sanelly, South Africa’s favourite blue haired siren. My first instinct tells me it’s a bit too early but I head to the stage to find her centre stage and glorious with a Pink Panther soft toy in tow. She starts her set where her career began with Rabubi and takes the audience through high energy celebrations of the female form as she and her dancers go through the motions of choreographed voshos and body positivity themes. Moonchild’s energy transfers through her entire team on stage and spills over the barriers as she lifts herself over them and joins the crowd for Nayi Le Walk on the greens. She plants a blue kiss on my cheek as she disappears backstage.

This energy follows the crowd as they disperse for bathroom breaks and a trip to the bar. The gender non conforming duo that is FAKA (Desire Marea and Fela Gucci) catch my attention as I wash my hands outside the port loo station. A voice so deep, vibrates through my feet through my body and the poetry it recites hastens my movements to the stage. I find myself half running to the stage, almost unconsciously, to witness FAKA in all their lime green splendor, for the first time on a platform of this magnitude. I am immediately ushered into an existence, albeit temporary, where the truth of queer sexual desires and graphic descriptions of love and lust are not privileges reserved for cis-gender and/or heterosexual being. An existence where they are a human response that can be owned by anyone in control of their own sexuality and identity. Their queer bodies, their poetry, their chanting, and their music assisted by photographic expressions of religion and Black traditional projections tell stories not unique to them but expressed in a way that those beautiful in their truth can tell.

When that microphone drops its almost like the music has penetrated the clouds above as the heavens open up and the first of the Afropunk rains come down upon us. The grounds clear as the festivalgoers run for cover, and I find my dry place in the VIP tent. The festival is forced into an intermission pushing the festival back about an hour. In the downpour however entertainment does not stop as a lone queer (difficult to determine their specific identity) finds strength in their heels and vogues in the middle of the grounds. Black love never to be overshadowed finds love in their hearts to display their affections in the rain. The rain stops and Nomisupasta and her band serenades us back to the music and has us losing ourselves but only for a moment.

In the very next moment we find ourselves, every part of ourselves, as the Queen of Bounce hits the stage immediately after. Big Freedia, a transgender rapper from the depths of Ne Orleans in the United States of America, booms over the microphone and her hour long set of Bounce has EVERYONE from the stage, to the grounds, now muddy, to the comforts of VIP and the other lounges tweaking, shaking, wiggling and ‘bending all the way ova’, as her chants of “Just Be Free” reverberates all throughout the festival.

Refills and quests to find familiar faces is all the energy I have post Bounce, and I slip into the Hip Hop nostalgia provided by Ready D. He precedes one of the most controversial acts on this year’s line up, YoungstaCPT. Many articles have been written and many pleas from the LGBTIAQ+ community and its allies to remove him from the line up for transphobic behaviour he displayed against Muzi Zuma in 2016 apparently landed on deaf ears. I walk to the edge of the crowd just to see the crowd he pulls. It’s not impressive at all. I walk back to the Martell lounge noting how the masses found other things to do while he was on stage and smile to myself. The winds of change are nigh.

The nostalgia of the 90s returns but now in the form of Kwaito/Pantsula legends Trompies. The rain persists and has turned the ground beneath our feet to sludge. In all our excitement and the energy that is Jaros on stage turns the mud into aides that allow us to slip and slide and become the Pantsula dancers we dream of as our feet become quick and fast in the mud.

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The night goes into an almost stealth mode from there. Earlier we had been handed 3D glasses with our wristbands and now the time has arrived to don them. Flying Lotus has brought his 3D show to our humble lands and we are not to be disappointed. The lighting and the imagery takes us through a journey through his hypnotic instrumentals.

The journey continues as his 3D spaceship brings us back to Azania and to the spiritual grounds of our ancestors as the drums and the voices of BCUC enchant the audience into the sustained trancelike state of enlightenment and rhythm.

DJ Maphorisa now has the task of pushing the crowd past the midnight hour to the headline act that is Kwesta. He does an amazing job but it’s almost like the volume is turned up as the Midnight Starring that is Moonchild Sanelly claims her space again on that stage in front of the audience she actually deserves.

My night ends rather abruptly. It ends midway through the uninspired performance by the headliner, Kwesta. Disappointed and now starting to feel the discomfort of my wet socks I head out to hail a Taxify, before the networks get jammed. My body sinks into a heavy sleep preparing itself for day two.

AfroPunk Day Two

31 December 2018

I awake with tired eyes. I look out the window and it seems the sun isn’t going to make it to the party today. The clouds dominate the skies and leave them in a permanent shade of grey. My AfroPunk app pushes through another notification with four buzzes on my phone. They suggest festivalgoers arrive at 3pm for day two. Dope St Jude is at 5pm. Awesome. I drift in and out of sleep, reliving moments on Instagram, until day two beckons. Dope St Jude’s lights the stage on fire. Famed as South Africa’s first king of drag, her consistency echoes beautifully on stage as her lyrics and rhymes find true north where hip-hop, queerness and her feminism intersect.

My missions send me back down to the entrance where I had caught the beginnings of an Esther Mahlangu mural on day one. Today it is finished in full Ndebele magnificence. For that moment, an hour actually, as the unfamiliar sound of Mozambican artists Azagaia provide the soundtrack, I marvel in the street art, in the artistry and the Afrocentric efforts of the outfits that colour the length and breadth of Constitution Hill. I even stop to watch as festivalgoers freshen their fades and take their hairstyles beyond their own self-defined limitations at the barbershop pop up.

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Phuzekhemisi is the pull that draws me back to the stage. A legend of Maskhandi, his presence is of such great importance. I revel in the simple lyrics that speak to that daily life and guitar melodies that bring the music home to relatable levels of a half Xhosa, half Pedi kid who grew up in the suburbs. The traditional authenticity of his dancers peaks with every leg lifted past the ears and this authenticity carries right into Muzi’s set as he drops the iconic Brenda Fassie track ‘Too Late For Mama’ laced with a fresh mix. Muzi brings the energy to the Gold Stage and we cannot even contain ourselves. A young mind with a soul so matured he has us losing our minds as he drops the theme song to S’Gudi S’nice remixed with his now signature sound so refreshing. His mother, aunt, Ausi wa ko back-opposite and his grandma too are thanked in the euphoria of the music he envelopes us in.

For an elongated minute the crowd that was steadily gathering stage front for Thandiswa Mazwai forgets about securing their spots as Muzi queues Sarafina sings of a freedom that is coming tomorrow. Next year. 2019. Tomorrow, when our collective freedom is to come.

Then Thandiswa. The rain is light and bearable as I wait, front and centre. She begins chanting from the left of the stage. She calls upon her ancestors and they hear her. Each one hears her and honours her invitation. The rain intensifies slightly. She then speaks of the significance of where we gather this evening. Speaks of those held captive within the walls that are now Constitution Hill in the yesteryears of Apartheid. They too hear her call and they too honour her invitation. The rain intensifies still. By the time she invokes the spirit of Mam’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and those of slain Trans*womxn and Black lesbian and other gender non-conforming spirits the rain is no longer light but it now falls with an intensity, presence and purpose. We sing, cry, chant, scream, dance and ululate with Thandiswa and all those who have honoured her invitation, as the rain falls hard and heavy with healing, hope and blessings.

Getting out my wet clothes is top of mind. I have a jacket in my backpack and I although uncertain of its level of dryness, it has to be better than this. I rush to the portoloos, shaking like a leaf the whole way up. I find it filled with people. More than expected. Even an ex lurks in my line of sight. I turn around and realize I have no choice. I strip by the benches, topless for a minute and in that breath I feel freedom in my nakedness and curse real life beyond these boundaries for the need of curated safe spaces. I seek shelter and warmth and drink as the show continues in a film of wonder.

Midnight is approaching and Thundercat takes to the stage. He is credited as one of the greats and is on the playlist of all your favorite hip-hop minds’ playlists. Even Pulitzer award winning Kendrick ‘Kdot’ Lamar. His reception is a mixed one and honestly between the clattering of my teeth as my body shivered its way to a reasonable temperature and festival goers pushing for a spot under my new found shelter it is difficult to gauge his performance.

The transition back to Anais B almost goes unnoticed but she brings us to thirty seconds before midnight. The masses now seemingly recovered and over the tragedy of their shoes, trudge through the mud, some sinking in puddles that swallow the foot well beyond the ankle, just to make it to the front to be a part of the countdown. To freedom perhaps…

10…

9…

8…

7…

6…

I think we skip 5…

4…

3…

2…

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Kisses.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hugs.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Fireworks.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Tears.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Insta Stories.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. KAYTRANADA!

Perfectly timed, Kaytranada has us all dancing, losing our minds. Lovers embrace. Friends embrace. Strangers embrace. From stage front to the entrance and every corner of the festival we all dance.

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The mood at Afropunk, undeniably at its peak in the New Year, we almost don’t mind the wait between Kaytranada and The Internet. The rain persists and we start chanting for The Internet to shut this festival down in the most amazing way and true to their music they do not disappoint. Fronted by Syd, who identifies as a lesbian, and who through her authenticity has made singing same sex, same love, songs normal for our sexually diverse generation. This last hour represents a beautiful transition, passage into a year that is to be defined as a year to be free. As free as Big Freedia implores us to be. As free as we believed freedom would come tomorrow. Tomorrow has come as Syd sings her love song to her girlfriend and Steve Lacy plays his guitar for his pansexual loving. Free of our pain. Free to be visible. Free of our shoes, some never to be worn again. Afropunk was an ushering to our all our freedoms, whatever they may look like.

Be Free.

Posted in "Free from My Happiness", AfroPunk, Black Lesbian musician, Drag King, Hip Hop music, Music, Queer music, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 Dec. 25 Leptie and Babalwa’s Wedding

by Thembela Dick

On Monday 24th December I boarded a flight from Durban to Johannesburg, to document Lebo “Leptie” Phume’s wedding. Phume is a Faces and Phases participant, a life time project that Prof/Sir Muholi is producing using photography. I arrived in Johannesburg at 18:30 and called a Taxify to go home and get ready for the shoot the next day in Tembisa where Babalwa Tyabashe, Leptie’s fiancé lives. I arrived at home and took a bath to relax before going to dinner in Braamfontein, which was unusually empty without the traffic of students and young professional. I stayed just an hour before going home to sleep.

The next day December 25 was Christmas Day, I woke up around 6am for a morning jog before taking a shower to get ready for the big day. Before leaving the house I captured self-portraits for my project Umzimba to work along my time. When I was done with my personal I called Taxify to take me to Tembisa, the cost was extremely ridiculous because it was a 30 minute drive that cost R995.

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I arrived at Babalwa’s home where the wedding was happening. She was getting ready for her wedding, Leptie the fiancée was not there yet. I captured what was happening including people cooking, some walking around dressed beautifully, the decoration, people arriving and the bride getting ready, bridesmaids’ mother and the family. It was amazing seeing Babalwa’s family so happy that their daughter is getting married.

Everything was looking good, Leptie was a bit late because the event was supposed to start at 14:00pm but it started after 15:00pm which was a bit stressful for me because I was going back to Durban. Leptie arrived and things started moving and I was able to take beautiful photos of both the wives including group photos. What was amazing for me was to see the wedding process being led by women only, who facilitated negotiations between the two families. The talks of giving away their daughters making them one person and being responsible for bringing the two families together.

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After the negotiations, they asked Leptie who was with her sister wearing red African tradition to come in and introduce herself fully as they know a bit about her. Representing Babalwa’s mother, one of the women talked to Leptie about the good person she is to their daughter and they know how much she loves Babalwa. On their faces they were happy and excited that their daughter is getting married to a person they trust with their child.  Leptie’s family was very happy to welcome Babalwa in their family, they described her as a beautiful lady that loves people and respect them as well.

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Some families don’t allow same gender marriage in their families, seeing people from our communities learning and unlearning and our families supporting is important. Elders were there to support the younger generation making Herstory for the upcoming youth. Everyone looked happy to be at the wedding. There were lots of beautiful lesbian couples who were dressed very well with their partners looking gorgeous. Negotiating as two families that are being brought together by their granddaughters,  joining their families. having a good conversation about their granddaughters.

I had a chance to shoot everyone before I left. Posing with their stunning outfits different colors and different hairstyles referencing Lindiwe Dhlaming on Umqele Wam/My Crown Project. I captured moments of Leptie and Babalwa kissing each other looking each other’s eyes looking amazingly beautiful.

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2018 Dec 19 Part II Photo XP Durban

Mobile School of Photography Report 

by Thobeka Bhengu

Photos by Thobeka Bhengu and Zanele Muholi

In November, a new projectthe Mobile School of Photography was born to parents Zanele Muholi and Photo XP, with the aim of training young black female photographers nationally and internationally. As part of the first SA leg of the project in Durban, training sessions kicked off with two groups from the Thamela and Duduzani Primary School.

Studio visits were planned for the 19th December 2018. The day started with a brief session with Sir Muholi requesting for detailed introductions, while speaking on the importance of photography and the politics of South African beaches. Muholi highlighted this particular opportunity for participants to be part of the Photo XP Mobile School of Photography.

images by Photo XP participants

The scheduled studio visits were at Sthenjwa Luthuli’s Visual Art Studio and Wonder Buhle Mbambo’s studio. The first visit was Sthenjwa’s studio, where Sthenjwa, Lindokuhle Ngcobo, and Lindani Nyandeni shared their experiences, backgrounds and presented their work. Then Wonder Buhle presented his work and experiences to the participants. Participants had a chance to ask questions to the artists after their presentations. This is to ensure that participants get to engage with the work and the artist.

What was common amongst these brilliant artists were their underprivileged backgrounds, the importance of doing what you love while telling different stories and speaking through their individual artistic works. The questions asked by participants were in line with the 5 W’S (Who? What? Where? Why? When?) and one H (How?). Muholi also looked at the senses that are at play when making visual arts, so that the students use those kinds of questions to ascertain as much information as possible on the artist and their work.

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During the second studio visit participants had enough confidence to ask questions boldly and get all necessary information. The question that impressed us all was from Nokwanda, asking why Wonder painted men only. The audience was clearly impressed by the question and Wonder laughed before answering that he has painted women before and will continue to do so. These studio’ visits were not only inspirational but they were the first step to introducing participants to living, breathing artists who are changing the face of visual arts, accessing spaces that were previously inaccessible and producing content from black artists for young black youth to look up to.

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About the Mobile School of Photography:

The Mobile School of Photography is a recent project (founded in November 2018) under the Photo Experience project that was founded by award-winning internationally acclaimed photographer, Zanele Muholi in 2004 with the aim of training young black female photographers nationally and internationally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2018 Dec. 18 Durban Photo XP

Mobile School of Photography

by Thobeka Bhengu

Photos by Thobeka Bhengu and Lebo Mashifane

The Johannesburg team arrived on the 18th and immediately joined the Photo XP 2018 in Durban for a session that was already underway as part of the Durban Photo XP, Mobile School of Photography. Half of the team had already arrived in Durban and had been joining in at different dates from the 13th of December. When two facilitators arrived from Johannesburg, there had already been sessions that started on the 13th of December with two groups from Themela and Duduzani Primary School.

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Thembela “Terra” Dick was facilitating a session on the themes the participants had chosen to explore. Each participant had their own camera and SD card handed to them and a session on the basics of using a camera followed the handover. It was followed by a session on photo techniques which comprised of practical exercises such as shooting an eye on auto setting where the exercise was used to test if participants can see clearly and have no eye problems. Terra managed to cover multiple things in one session, lighting, angles, landscapes and portraits.

The participants were encouraged to write and read, as part of the Mobile School of Photography because being able to read and write is very important. A slide of different kinds of photographic work by Terra were shown in the session, to help them understand the theory through images they can see. The presentation also included an exercise where each student had to individually tell if an image is a portrait or landscape.

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The following session by Prof Zanele Muholi, looked at particular technicalities when using a camera at the beach and where there is water, since the students were meant to shoot at the beach. However, they were unable to shoot at the beach due to the rain. Muholi also explained the concept behind Photo XP and what the project does and the need to have the Mobile School of Photography. The school is the first mobile school of photography to exist in South Africa, Durban because of how it is not fixated in one place. Muholi also spoke on presentations that the students need to work on and compiling biographies for all participants.

The session by Muholi also included an exercise where participants had to sing a song as a way to warm up. The groups were then allocated to different smaller groups to work with one facilitator and assist with their projects or any difficulties they may encounter.

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The group later went for a group shot with Lebo Mashifane and Lizzy Muholi, other present facilities assisted when needed. The day was filled with tons of information and practical exercises that kept the students focused as much as they could. The small off topic conversations in between sessions, allowed the participants to have mini breaks in between sessions.

The sessions have been lengthy and had a lot of content and practical work. Students are encouraged to learn as much as they can in each session. Which can be overwhelming but also good for them as they need to be pushed to work fast and smart.

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Inkanyiso Photography Scholarship 2018

It is of great excitement to introduce to you our photography scholarship candidate who has been nominated by Inkanyiso Media to study with Orms Cape Town School of Photography.

The scholarship, which has been awarded to Lulu Mhlana, is a 6-month Part-Time Photography Programme to begin on 09 July 2018. Inkanyiso Media is excited about this scholarship as it is the first time in its history to award the scholarship to someone outside Zanele Muholi’s (founder) photo participants circle, however we are glad we did so, as we are confident in our decision.

Lulu Mhlana is a self-taught photographer, creative writer and a Communications Graduate from the Tshwane University of Technology. Having been born in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, raised in Durban, studied in Gauteng, and now recently settling in Cape Town, she has seen and experienced things that have inspired her to be an artist and to tell authentic stories of South African people. Having an educational background in Advertising and Media she understands the sensitivities that come with the arts and how to articulate something in a way her audience can understand, relate and appreciate.

“Words cannot express how grateful I am to be awarded this scholarship to study photography at Orms. Photography to me is not just a hobby, it’s a passion, something I literally cannot picture my life without, and being given the opportunity to study it is a great stepping stone in building and enriching my career as a photographer. I’d like to extend my warmest gratitude to Zanele Muholi and the Inkanyiso Media team for investing in me, so that my dreams too can become a reality” Lulu

 

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Live on Radiolive

by Sicka Stabane

Nothing is greater than having the chance to tell your own story to people who have never heard about you. Telling your own story is very important because as Africans our stories have been told the way others want to read them and not how we want them to be told. On the 26th of November I received a forwarded email from Lerato Dumse, asking me if I was interested and available in what she forwarded. The subject of the email was written “France Culture / and Radio live project Nov. 30th at the Centre for The Less Good Idea”, I took my time and read the email before getting excited about something I didn’t know was about. The email was from someone called Aurelie Charon and the email was directed to Zanele Muholi asking her for young people to partake in their project and voice out LGBTI issues through their own experiences. Immediately after reading that I got excited and responded and agreed to this opportunity. Lerato gave them my contact details and immediately after a few minutes I was invited to a group chat on WhatsApp tittled “Radiolive Joburg Sicka“. The invite was followed by a voice note, information about what is Radiolive and how it started, the clip explained how this project is documented and a poster of the event. There were only 3 people on the group chat which was Aurelie Charon, Caroline Fillet and I. I had a picture of what they were proposing to me but I wanted to be 100% sure that I completely understand what is expected from me, so I agreed to meeting them the following day at my home in Daveyton. Later that day, waiting impatiently for my mum to come back from work to share the great news which seemed the universe was torturing me because she came home late that day super tired. When I told her she got excited and all teary and telling my little sister and I how lucky she is to have daughters like us and she was energized by my great news.

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The following day which was the 27th I woke up early ready to prepare for my visitors , after walking out of my bedroom door I realised mom has done the honors😊❤, my heart was overwhelmed to have a very supportive mother like her. At 10am Aurelie and Caroline arrived excited to meet me and vise versa. Our conversation started with two cups of coffee and a recorder. Before I could even start telling them about myself, they already had some information about what I do and some of my music. They told me about how they conduct their project, what was expected of me and people who will be part of this project, then after I told them a summary of my life from growing up to where I am today.

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They had a few questions and after our meeting we took a few pictures. Caroline then told me they will send a driver to come fetch me and I can bring along 3 other people, sadly I couldn’t take my mother, father (step) because my mum had to take my dad to hospital to remove stitches on his spine after his operation and my little sister went to visit our cousin in Leondale. I took my partner in music Tshepo Jacobs aka Major Short, 2 of the pupils I am currently grooming in music Thamisanqa Appolis aka Tee-Q-Trill and Themba Ndlovu aka Tee-Rex Gatsheni.

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On the day of the event which was the 30th, I rocked an outfit my mum and I made with some material from Mozambique, which I received as a gift from Fiona Nube a close friend of mine. We all looked hot and Thami kept shooting clips of us bragging about having a chauffeur. The event was at Maboneng precinct at the “Centre for The Less Good Idea“, we arrived and they were still finishing up with the preparations.

I met with the other individuals who are part of the project, Gilbert Mwape who is originally from DRC, Ponte tour guide, but resides in Joburg, Ines Tanovic Sijercic from Sarajevo who is a Bosnian activist, Anzio Jacobs from Cape town but resides in Joburg a fees must fall activist and he is also part of GALA, our bend Nkosazana and Brian Minor and the visual artist Gala Vanson. The set up was interesting, while we talked about our experiences and issues, live music was played and drawings were made by Gala to accompany what was said.

There were two shows, one in the morning with students from France and others from South Africa. Before we started I was asked to draw a sketch of my hood, the places I played growing up, the school etc.

The radiolive interview was more of a conversation amongst us while a crowd watched and I performed one of my single titled, LGBTI and I.  I also shared a video of my mum and dad talking about their experiences during the Apartheid era. The fun part was that all the questions were not rehearsed and everything they combined from what we told them individually was beautiful almost as if we were there to help. After the first show we all went out for lunch and drinks, we started the second show a bit later than expected because a lot of people were stuck in traffic.

During the second show we had different questions than earlier on and not forgetting a stunt Caroline and Aurelie pulled on me by revealing pictures when I was still a cute baby, you should have seen my expression haha but I forgave them because it was a fine baby pictures of me. After the show I was all over the place networking and receiving praises from different people and I remember a lady that came up to me and gave me the longest hug and I could feel her tears in her voice and she said to me “Thank you for the healing you are giving the world”, this touched me deeply and made me realize the power of our stories when told by us.

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I got myself Great opportunities and collaborations which will be announced early next year and I will carry on flying the Daveyton flag and representing each and every young person wanting to do something positive for the world from their own townships.

 

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