By Thobeka Bhengu
On the second day of the experience, Sir Zanele Muholi and Thobeka Bhengu drove from Johannesburg, South Africa to Lesotho in the morning to join the team that had already arrived in Maseru.
The drive was nearly four hours long. We drove past green open fields, charred mountains, hectares of unoccupied land and cattle roaming around, nibbling on grass. We took in and inhaled the breath-taking landscapes of Lesotho, and finally, we arrived at the border where Tambu Muzenda picked us up after crossing the border for a short drive into Maseru.
On arrival, we were told participants had gone on the field to shoot images relating to concepts they had developed under Gender-Based Violence as the main theme. On their return, we were introduced to the group and immediately joined in the discussion.
Sir Muholi had a briefing with the participants and laid out what Gender-Based Violence means and how participants need to look at the broader definition of GBV. Participants were tasked with knowing how violence affects one’s senses, understanding current affairs and GBV statistics in Lesotho, the silence of writers in Lesotho about GBV and exploring the violence that the participants themselves have faced. They were given a handful of small tasks.
After Sir Muholi’s briefing, participants gave feedback on their individual shoots. They expressed the challenges they faced on the field. The challenges they encountered included having to interact with people they wanted to shoot, having to understand the issue of consent when it comes to capturing images but the common challenge was realizing their concepts.
Sir Muholi urged all the participants to avoid using terms such as ‘difficult’ to refer to their shooting experience and to have a positive outlook. Normally we make assumptions that certain skills are easy, so when we face challenges we are taken by surprise. Photography is a skill and an art form like any other, it should not be easy and the more the participants shoot the better they will get.