by Thembela ‘Terra’ Dick
My heart was beating so fast, I was nervous and scared. Maybe its because it has been so long since the last time I was a registered student. Since dropping out of school, it has been one of my best dreams to go back and finish my studies. Now the dream has come true, because of Zanele Muholi, who made it possible for me to go back.
Due to excitement and wanting to be early, I woke up around 5:30am on the morning of July 1 2015. School opened at 8:30am while my first, Foundation Course class, at Market Photo Workshop (MPW) started at 9:00am. I couldn’t eat, I didn’t have an appetite and I was full of excitement. I left home at 7:30am; in my mind I thought school was starting at 8:00am, only to find that I’m the first student in my class. When I arrived the security guard told me there’s no one from my class yet and there are no teachers as well. I decided to visit the gallery, to view the exhibition being shown.
The first Lecturer whose class I attended was Tibelo Muhape. She manages Course Assistance at Market Photo Workshop. Lekgetho Mazola introduced himself as a Trainer, who will be with us until the course is done. Before any training started, we had to introduce ourselves to our classmates. Lekgetho’s first lesson was about MPW and how it started, he told us about David Goldblatt, the founder of Market Photo Workshop. The second Trainer was Patrick Selemani, who is the Course Assistant, responsible for our class until the Course ends. Then we met John Fleetwood, the head manager at MPW. He came to introduce himself, before telling us a little behind Market Photo Workshop, his background, and relationship with David Goldblatt.
Patrick Selemani then took us for a tour inside the school, introducing us to every staff member. He showed us where we are going to do our assignments, as well as the analogue processing camera room to work on our photos. We visited the room were our research will be conducted via the Internet. We went to the library, kitchen, and the place we are going to Photoshop our digital photos. The last person to introduce herself was Maxine Thomik, who manages the Curriculum Training, and is available to assist with Bios and CV’s.
The day kept getting more and more interesting because I felt like I’m in the right place, at the right time. My classmates are very interesting people, we are only 12 in class, 9 guys, 3 girls and only one person is much older than us. They all have different characters and willing to learn from others, they seem transparent and work as a team.
We were given an assignment about the best photographers who were students at Market Photo Workshop; we had to research about their work. My choices were Zanele Muholi, Musa Nxumalo, Jerry Gaegane, and Lebohang Kganye. We had to choose only one photographer, because I know Zanele Muholi personally, everyone was sure I would choose her.
I surprised everyone when we were presenting. I chose Lebohang Kganye because I wanted a challenge. I didn’t know anything about her photography when I researched her, but I loved her work. I found her photography very interesting and amazing. Her work looks at apartheid, slavery and family. For me, those three things are very important. The work she does is based on what’s important in my life, which is knowing who I am and loving my family. That’s why I chose her and because she is a woman.
I experienced very good things on my first day at school. I loved the vibe and environment that I’m in when I’m at school. I can’t wait to have my student card, which we took photos of, during our last period. I really love being back at school and I promised myself the next class level, which is very interesting. I will work hard so that I get there. This is the first amazing day of my life back in school, for the first time in long time.
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