by Lerato Dumse
Seizing opportunities was the central message shared with more than 15 teenage girls at Aurora Girls High School, in Soweto on 1st August 2014.
The girls are part of the Siyafundisana Photo XP, a photography training project founded by Zanele Muholi in collaboration with Linda Mankazana, Lindeka Qampi and Valerie Thomas.
The award winning photographer reminded the girls that they are doing it for themselves, and they all have their own stories to tell.
Some of the young women’s families, teachers, project facilitators and various guests were present. Guest speakers were Phumla Masuku, former learner and co-founder of Chosen FEW soccer team, Nonkululeko Britton-Masekela, a journalist and poet and Mfundi Vundla, executive producer of South African soapie Generations assembled inside one of the classrooms. Mfundi shared his story of persistence and seizing grabbing an opportunity.
Reminiscing about how he was told to write a South African soapie, he asked his wife to buy soapie books in the United States of America, because he had never written a soapie.
Despite his lack of experience, Mfundi said he spent the next weeks reading up on, and watching soapies, before giving birth to Generations, which became an instant hit.
Nonkululeko started her day with the girls by doing an exercise where the girls had to imagine the future them, where they are in life, and how they are making a living.
Nonkululeko wrote her first poem in Grade 11, told the young photographers that grabbing opportunities allowed her to be a paid journalist by the time she started her first year in journalism at the University of Johannesburg.
Each learner shared their vision of the future them. While some saw themselves in three years, others saw five years from now.
One of the learners Nomthandazo Sibanyoni (19) saw herself in ten years time.
At 29 Nomthandazo sees herself with an Honors degree in the Arts. Her biggest motivation at the moment is the fact that she is the first person in her family to reach matric.
Mbali Vilakazi and Nonkululeko Britton-Masekela shared their moving poetry in closing.