What started as a hobby and mission to be read and recognized lead to a therapeutic process. Inkanyiso has grown from just a simple blog to a major information hub. I was thinking of how I could start an informal platform of information sharing having gained knowledge working as a reporter/photographer for the defunct Behind the Mask (www.mask.org.za). End of January 2013, at the height of winter day in Paris at Michel Bizot, my partner’s former apartment when I created Inkanyiso blog. One of those days when I bled and suffering from period pains unable to deal with personal issues and deadlines that never ends. I juggled between wiping blood on the wooden floors and emails. In between all that commotion I bought a url for a space of visual activism and queer arts because there wasn’t any relevant site of queer media that spoke to me at that time.
Knowing me being a careless creative when driven by ideas, for logo I took an A4 sheet of white typing paper and made cut outs to spell I-N-K-A-N-Y-I-S-O. I then placed the cut outs on a green, purple, yellow and black checked scarf that I was used daily to save myself from the wintry Paris and then I took a photograph which still stand as our logo on this day on our blog.
I never anticipated the kind of support that I was about to get from contributors ranging from writers, photographers and readers. In my mind, the contributors to the blog were going to be the participants in my projects who would be writing about their lives and also allow youths to get cameras, photography their communities and write about them. There was a lot of interest and buzz around the blog as many people wanted to be part of an organization that I started but soon became a collective.
In February 2014, Inkanyiso celebrated its first anniversary of hectic blogging. By end of June 2014 we had 319 568 views. The most hits the blog received in 2013 was on sexual pleasures “A dildo is not a man, it’s a fantastic toy”…
Followed by the March 2013 intimate article “I love women and they love me”.
In June 2013, we documented “The Durban Lesbian Wedding of the Year” which was most viewed and still celebrated up until this day.
Also in 2013 we covered fully the memorial service and funeral of Duduzile Zozo.
End of June 2014 mark one year since she was brutally murdered in Thokoza township.
In 2014 were on the 10th of January with 1576 hits. We had posted Brenda Mvula’s memorial service. This indicates that Inkanyiso has become a queer contending news source. My next post will be on the most read articles since our first day of blogging.
Inkanyiso became a place where facts were not sensationalized and individuals could read and comment in a safe and like minded atmosphere without being judged on how they writes out their feelings and truths.
Our coverage has spanned five continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America. We have covered the following; lectures, exhibitions, weddings, funerals, pride marches and community based projects, to name a few. Most of the articles posted are in English since it is our readers’ common language. We intend to expand and have posts translated in various languages as well.
Any ordinary person is welcome to submit their work, regardless of literacy level.
It is my wish to ensure that we increase women’s part I participation in photography. It is my duty as a professional photographer and a visual activist, to share my vast knowledge and resources. Some of the members of Inkanyiso collective have accessed spaces that they would otherwise not have been able to. Every member has camera equipment and they are encouraged to pursue their own endeavours helping them to generate their own income. Some are studying photography at Market Photo Workshop and I am impressed by what they have produced so far. This means that the visibility of female photographers in South Africa is on the rise.
As we continue to celebrate our first anniversary of hectic blogging, I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all who have made Inkanyiso possible, from our dedicated Inkanyiso team members, the writers, editors, photographers, videographers, poets and most importantly the readers. Without you there would be no Inkanyiso. Makwande!
L-R: Charmain & Nqobile, Zet & Kopano, Lesego & Baitiri, Maureen & Renee, Muholi and Andiswa & Noluntu.