By Lindiwe Dhlamini
As South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day on 21 March 2019, many people are happy it is a long weekend for them. For us Inkanyiso crew we had to be in different parts of the country and document the events that are taking place. Since the end of last year our team has been doing an education themed Photography Xperience (Photo XP) with young people in Primary schools. 2019 marks 25 years of Democracy in South Africa our founder Honorary Professor/Sir Zanele Muholi continues with their vision of educating Black children through photography. As part of that, they deployed us to different locations in South Africa to teach, share knowledge and skills and to exist in spaces foreign to us.
As a Johannesburg native, I had the pleasure of visiting a rural area for the first time in my life. I, Terra Dick and Mancane Selepe drove 13 hours in extremely bad weather conditions and potholes to attend to a collaboration between Inkanyiso.Org and Bavulele Ntsikhwe Mbokazi Arts Centre which operates from Kuyasa Primary School in Ngqwara village, Eastern Cape. Bavulele is an organisation founded by Charmain Carrol in 2013 but was registered in 2018 as a way to assist the local school where she resides. Charmain thought it would be a great idea for the learners she teaches to have exposure to other artists in the creative arts scene.
Mancane specialises in dance and has been teaching the learners dance from 21 March 2019 when the holiday program started; this dance routine will be performed on the last day of the holiday program 25 March 2019. Terra is a Filmmaker and Photographer and is responsible for photography classes with the learners. I write mostly, so I was responsible for teaching writing until, we were confronted with a bullying situation during the first day and had to sneak with my other skill which is teaching learners about the dangers of bullying. Lynne Carrol is also an artist and joined us to assist with teaching fine art (drawing) giving the learners an all rounded creative arts program Xperience.
In other parts of the world, we have Lebo Mashifane and Pam Dlungwana who journeyed to Mexico, South America to attend a screening of Difficult Love a film by Muholi and Peter Goldberg. The film highlights the harsh realities of Black lesbians in South Africa in the age of rampant homophobia. The film was screened in Cineteca National Festival in Mexico coordinated by Liesl Theron who has been our liaising person with the South African Embassy and the Festival. Back here in South Africa, we have Lindeka Qampi, Lizzy Ziqubu, Phindile Madlala and Wendy Khumalo are currently covering multiple events in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. Wendy and Phindile are covering Phindile’s mothers’ unveiling ceremony. While Lindeka and Lizzy are covering Photo XP juniors in KZN, Bat Centre documenting a meeting by Izindlovukazi and other events in KwaMashu.
Back home in Johannesburg, Velile Majola who is currently observing the Yithi Laba exhibition is working with Naomi Maqhama a current beneficiary of Muholi who is studying photography Foundation Course at Market Photo Workshop. Naomi and Velile were tasked with attending the Human Rights Festival that was taking place at the Constitution Hill where famous artists were due to perform. The last crew members were attending an Art symposium in Bloemfontein where Muholi was in the panel. Thobeka Bhengu, Lerato Dumse, Akhona Hailele and Bajabulile Dhlamini went with Muholi to Free State, Bloemfontein. The team was documenting the symposium which was followed by LGBTI+ pride on the 23rd March 2019. As an organisation that archives content, we ensured that Human Rights Day was well documented.
As we are all about to journey back home, we are happy to have had the chance to be part of archiving our history.