Text and Phots by Ts’episo Mahooe
A week of Muholi’s mobile school of photography was overwhelming. At first when I heard that Sir. Professor. Muholi was coming to Lesotho to facilitate a workshop I was very excited. First day when I get to the workshop venue all I wanted to see was our guest of honor, a celebrity for that matter. Then during the introductions no one went by the name of Zanele, what a disappointment. I didn’t know them very well because we’ve never met before hence I was still hoping that one of the coordinators would just say: “hey you know what, I’m Zanele, I don’t look like my photographs because I do a lot of make ups before the shoots.” I felt it was only fair to know that she was no longer coming, just to ease our minds about what to the expect.
The first day with the other facilitators was fun, cool and chilled. I even forgot that there was someone missing. The conversations we had with them were awesome. They got my mind all over the place. They made me think out of the box. Then the whole workshop got me out of my comfort Zone. It was a new experience all together. The tricky part about that day was when we were told we had to visualise our ideas. I was challenged but at the same time felt that was part of the workshop: to learn how to bring words into visuals.
The second day when Muholi came, my happiness blossomed. Seeing them face-to-face was incomparable to nothing that has ever happened to me. That was when I thought maybe it was going to be easier to work out photographs with the professor. They were very firm, strict and stiff. I could read that in their voice while communicating with them. I felt like my worst nightmare was yet to begin. Hopes of maybe things will be better with them around became hopes of maybe things were much better without them. The third day, I couldn’t wake up with the same energy anymore. I couldn’t wait for Friday to see the workshop done and dusted. From the previous day I had felt like I was the only stupid one. I didn’t feel like I deserved the opportunity to be with them. I couldn’t understand even a single thing that was expected from me. When I met Sir. Professor. Muholi that day at the guesthouse, they were a total stranger.
They were different from the previous day. They were jolly and fun to hang around. They were a friend and family. That was when I realised how deep Muholi loves their job. I realised how good Muholi wanted us to be at what we were about to learn. From then I felt I was indeed not by mistake part of the family. Going home everyday when we were all done with the day schedule was never part of my plans. I felt like the workshop would just go on and on. I wanted to be at the workshop day in day out. I loved being around everybody who took part at the workshop. My best highlight of the workshop was when my photographs impressed Sir. Muholi.
The worst moment was when the coordinators had to leave for South Africa. I would like to thank Inkanyiso team for the great opportunity they gave us. I would like to also thank Muholi for not giving up on us. What we got from the team was a life changing opportunity. I’m willing to work very hard and make the team never regret knowing and giving me such an opportunity.