Text by Lerato Dumse Photos by Prof. Z Muholi
Professor. Sir. Zanele Muholi a multi award-winning visual activist will be honored today April 27 2019 with the Rees Visionary Award. The accolade is given to artists for “creating exceptional work that educates, inspires, and emboldens.”
The Amref Artball and award ceremony which takes place in New York City; USA is described as a “celebration of African cultures – of African art, African music, and African healthcare solutions.” The event coincides with South Africa’s National Freedom Day, with 2019 marking 25 years since black South Africans were first allowed to vote, signalling an end to Apartheid.
In a statement released by Amref they wrote, “Muholi’s work, which addresses issues of human rights, especially that of the LGBTQI+ community, is vital and powerful.” Amongst other photographic bodies of work produced by Muholi, (Somnyama Ngonyama, Faces and Phases and Brave Beauties) is featured and taught in many universities, as well as exhibited around the world.
Apart from having a charity gala and a Contemporary African Art auction, tonight’s event will feature a conversation with Muholi facilitated by Kimberly Drew. The Rees award is the third time that Muholi receives an award in New York City. 2016 saw the visual activist honored with the prestigious ICP Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism as well as Africa’S Out! Courage and Creativity Award.
Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is ‘to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond’. The activism that drives Muholi’s work has led the philanthropist to continue expanding mobile projects under Inkanyiso (www.inkanyiso.org), which they founded in 2009, as a forum for queer and visual (activists) media.