2017 July 30: Painful send off for transgender activist Iko Mash

Text by Yaya Mavundla
Photos by Zanele Muholi

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Celebrity friends paying their last respect to Iko…

The funeral service of Iko Mash was very painful. Iko who passed away on the 21st of July 2017 was buried on Saturday the 29th of July 2017.

Her funeral service was held at Thaba-Jabula Secondly School in Soweto.
The service was scheduled to start at 8-11am and finish at 11am but due to people arriving late at the venue it went for extra 30 minutes.
The programme did not go as planned. There were a lot of people who ended up speaking in the podium who were not on the programme.

A lot of things that Iko Mash believed in was taken away from her. Most speakers did not respect who Iko was. Her grandfather who spoke on behalf of the family  (who was not in the programme) said he did not know who Iko Mash was.

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Family members at the funeral service

He constantly referred to Iko with the name of his choice. The name they have chosen for Iko at birth. Not the name she have chosen for herself and known as by many. He went on to challenge the media reports that Iko Mash was not accepted by family because of her gender. “Iko Mash was never abused by the family. He (as disrespectfully referred by him) might have been mistreated by a member of the family…maybe his uncle but was not abused” he contradicted himself.

Transphobia became a norm as two more speakers that took to the podium constantly refered to the late transgender activist as a he.
Another speaker who is a family’s neighbour, Mpho Molubi went on to proudly refer to Iko as Billy. Even though she knew that Iko was against it. She chose to turn a blind eye and disrespect Iko at her funeral service.

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Programme director Criselda Dudumashe handled the service very well and it was very clear that she knew who Iko was. “Iko lived for people” said Criselda.She revived the mood. Threw a lot of tasteful jokes. She asked one speaker to say whatever he wanted to say to Iko as this was his last chance to say it. Knowing that Iko’s word was always final. She even referred to Manaka as a chief mourner. The mood in the venue changed for the better. Sadly people were just not willing to sing.

Former Metro FM publicist Happy Ngidi spoke so fondly of Iko. How Iko was dedicated and professional in everything she did. “Everytime I needed a face beat I would call Iko. She was very reliable & professional” said Happy.
She went on to say that Iko was forever on time. Regardless of what was the call time. She said even if the call time was as early as 4am Iko will be there without fail.

Judith Sephuma paid tribute to Iko with an amazing and moving performance.
Iko was known as a very welcoming individual. She took people as they are and made them better people. She inspired and mentored a lot of young girls who took part at the Sun Babe competition.
“Chief mourner” Manaka Ranaka and Siphokazi January supported every positive comments made about their friend Iko Mash.  They described Iko as someone who was very opinionated and demanded attention and to be accepted. “She once went to an audition and a casting director asked Iko if she knew that the character was of a female. She responded to the casting director and said, I can’t believe there are still people who are not ready for change, and you are one of them”. Said Siphokazi.

The service was then wrapped up by Pastor Nomazwe Ntlokwana and we drover off to the cemeteries. The traffic was very bad that some people parked their cars very far and walked to the cemeteries.
Iko Mash was buried at Westpark Cemetery alongside other well known South African citizens. She is the first transgender woman to be buried at Westpark cemeteries.

I would like to extend many thanks to Virginia Magwaza who made it a point to bring a trans flag that was placed on top of Iko’s coffin at her funeral service.
I wish the obituary was done by people who really knew and loved her. What we read on her obituary did not represent who Iko was. It was NOT Iko Mash at all.
May her soul Rest In Peace, Pride and that’s how God wishes it to be.

2017 July 29 Lebo Keswa @ Iko Mash funeral_4468

Lebo Keswa mourning a friend, Iko Mash…

Previous by Yaya

2017 July 27: Dignified memorial service for Iko Mash

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2017 July 30: My first trip to the United Kingdom (London)

by Thobeka Bhengu 

I departed from South Africa on the 8th of July 2017 and arrived in London on the 9th of July. It had been a long trip and the body was naturally tired but was still functional.
I had to find my way around Heathrow Airport which is the largest airport I’ve ever seen.  Then I moved to the space with internet connection so I could get connected and be able to communicate with the team that was already in London after a successful opening of Zanele Muholi’s  solo exhibition of Somnyama Ngonyama at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam that took place on the 7th July 2017.


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Thobeka Bhengu in London. © Photo by Lerato Dumse (2017)

When Lerato arrived, we made our way into the city and upon catching up, I was updated about a tragedy that transpired in Amsterdam on 8th July 2017.
At the time, the video had already been posted on line and it had gone viral.  The faces and voices in the video were familiar to me.  It was our friends(names of the survivors are reserved because the matter is with the lawyers).  Muholi had invited to join her in Amsterdam at the opening of her solo exhibition. At first, I could not bring myself to believing that the video was true.  I kept asking if it was real. I could not understand how a human being would be so brutal to a group of defenceless young women.

My mind and body were in so much shock that I felt a little lump on my throat that blocked all the words that wanted to come out. It took us an hour to arrive in London where we would be residing for the rest of the trip. I kept looking outside the window to see the grand and colonial buildings. When we finally arrived at the station after we got lost and could not find our way, I was welcomed in London with open arms by Muholi. There was no time for catching up, we had to get ready and make our way to Rivington Place at the Autograph ABP Gallery to meet up with up a few locals so we could make our way to the UK Black Pride. It was an absolute delight, seeing people of colour gathered in one place to celebrate blackness and queerness was beyond satisfying.

Later that night when we arrived back at our residing place it dawned on me that something tragic had happened as calls and texts flooded Muholi’s phone and Lerato’s phone and the video of the Amsterdam incident continued to do the rounds on social media. The following day and the next couple of days, we spent indoors, the atmosphere was sombre for everyone and the team had to communicate with those left in Amsterdam. Things were spiralling out of control in Amsterdam and back at home. Each day something new came up and had to be attended to immediately. On the third day, we had to get out of the house to clear our heads and attended an exhibition on the Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Tate Modern, London.
It is always soothing to experience black art and it was exactly what we needed, to be out of the house for a few hours. The team (Lerato Dumse, Muholi & I) had to constantly adjust and continue with what we had to do in London whilst staying in interaction with what was going on in Amsterdam and back at home in South Africa.
Preparations for the opening on the 13th July 2017 had to ensue.  The artwork had already been printed and the displaying process was underway. Amidst the groundwork at the museum, interviews had been scheduled with media houses as well.


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Portrait of the activists, Thobeka Bhengu & Muholi by Lerato Dumse at Autograph, London (2017/07/13)

Finally, the day of the opening of Somnyama Ngonyama had arrived, and the opening was sold out. I had to prepare my mind to focus on the opening and the important work that had to be done that day. I was ready to let the body communicate the injustices and discrimination that a black body has to constantly endure across the world. Using black latex gloves depicted in Muholi’s captivating portrait titled Phila, Muholi created a costume that I was wearing in the performance and the music created by two South African LGBTI artists Annalyzer and Genius Illusion. The music spoke directly to the moving body in that space and the context of Muholi’s work. Audiences gathered at the Autograph gallery to experience the breathtaking work of our very own Zanele Muholi. The opening was remarkable, the audience was left in awe of Muholi’s work and we had done what we set out to do. The opening raved of brilliant reviews and media coverage.


 Thobeka Bhengu’s moving performance in response to Somnyama Ngonyama, at Autograph, London captured by Lerato Dumse (2017/07/15)


The next few days were more composed with talks, media interviews and walkabouts at the gallery. The highlight of my stay besides the opening had to be a casual and informative meeting with several queer artists in the UK, where we shared our background and the important work that we do. The meeting arranged by a queer activist and friends was held at an old church that has been turned into a residential area. It was a fruitful meeting that is yet to bare more fruits in the future.

A day before our departure from London, there was an artist tour of the exhibition and a closing ceremony that was arranged. I had to deliver my last performance, a lot had transpired in the week and we were all looking forward to get back home and be in our safe spaces for a few days.  As much as I did not get a chance to explore England, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of yet another historic display of Muholi’s work.


About the author

Thobeka Bhengu is a performance artist, activist, choreographer and an artistic director of the Rainbow Theatre Group in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.


Previous by Thobeka

2016 Oct. 12: The dancer’s pysche

Related links


‘I’m scared. But this work needs to be shown’: Zanele Muholi’s 365 protest photographs


My year as a dark lioness – in pictures






Posted in Dance performance, London 2017, My First trip to the United Kingdom (London), Racial attack video in Amsterdam, Reflection by Thobeka Bhengu, Somnyama Ngonyama at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 July 29: Pride and Loss during Amsterdam Pride 2017



2014 Jan. 4: Muntu Masombuka’s funeral, KwaThema, Johannesburg. Photo © Lerato Dumse

Pride and Loss

Curated by Lerato Dumse, with work by Boitumelo Nkopane, Collen Mfazwe, Lebogang Mashifane, Lerato Dumse, Thembela Dick and Velisa Jara.
Exhibition opening 3 August 2017 | 17-21h | Weteringschans 69, Amsterdam
Press release by curator Lerato Dumse:

A group exhibition featuring the work of six South African activists and artists will open at No Man’s Art Gallery from 3-27 August 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The show is positioned to coincide with Amsterdam Gay Pride.

The exhibiting youths, Boitumelo Nkopane, Collen Mfazwe, Lebogang Mashifane, Lerato Dumse, Thembela Dick and Velisa Jara are participants in the award winning Faces and Phases portraiture series by Zanele Muholi. They are also beneficiaries of Muholi’s Photo XP project, which is designed with the aim of sharing photography skills. Their work forms part of Visual Activism that articulates the existence and resistance of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) citizens of South Africa (SA). South Africa’s democracy celebrates 23 years of existence and the constitution gives everyone the right to express gender and sexual identity. These photographs and videos form part of a country’s visual history, with the aim of claiming full citizenship, by exposing the atrocities experienced by this marginalised community, who were granted the right to same sex marriage back in 2006.

Pride and Loss are the themes that will be explored through the selected works produced during pride, funerals, marches, church service and other LGBTI related events between 2014-present. Members of the black gay, lesbian and transgender community have been beaten, sworn at, paralyzed, butchered, ‘curatively raped’ and even murdered due to lesbo/trans and homophobic hate crimes in different parts of SA.
These documented funerals serve as examples and proof of these human rights violations, while also remembering activists lost along the way. The on-going murders continue to affect and force people to live in fear, as they encounter brutal violence due to gender expression and sexuality, in a country that claims to guarantee these human rights.

The exhibition aims to extend and maintain relationships and cooperation among members of the LGBT community in South Africa, Amsterdam and beyond. This initiative was born out of discussions between South African activist, artist and photographer, Zanele Muholi from Inkanyiso collective and No Man’s Art Gallery owner Emmelie Koster.

The visual documentation will be installed on the walls alongside videos and text containing 23 testimonies to mark 23 years of democracy, which will shed light into the experiences of black LGBT members and those connected to this community, including family members.


Exhibition opening hours 04.08 – 27.08.17 | Friday to Sunday | 11 – 18h or by appointment

We thank Gallery ColorZAM MagazinePrince Claus Fund, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria, South Africa and Pride Amsterdam for their collaboration on this project.

Zanele Muholi introduces six contributing members of her visual activist platform Inkanyiso to Amsterdam during Amsterdam Pride. Pride and Loss opens August 3rd at NMAG and is curated by Lerato Dumse.

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2017 July 27: Dignified memorial service for Iko Mash

Text by Yaya Mavundla
Photos by Zanele Muholi

What a well organised and most dignified memorial service held at Bassline, Newtown for our dear friend Iko Mash. Transgender activist and media personality shocked many by her sudden passing. She passed away on Friday 21.07.2017. Friends and other personalities shared their tributes for Iko on social media and in the press.

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The memorial service was put together by Quardrepublic, Thami Kotlolo’s communications company together with Iko’s close friends. The service was attended by many who knew her in person and those who did not know her personally. Most people took time off from work to attend the service as it was during the day.

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Andile Gaelesiwe couldn’t hold her tears as she read a eulogy by Lebo Kheswa, one of Iko’s friends…

On arrival we were given candles that were used during Kelly  Khumalo’s moving performance. First on the programme was my tribute video to Iko. It allowed me to share with everyone how I knew Iko. Memories with her and mostly what conversations we would have as South Africa’s most visible transgender people.

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Mourners at the memorial service of Iko Mash

Immediately after my tribute video, there was a performance by Wanda Baloyi. Programme director for the day was Khumbulekhaya’s presenter, Andile Gaelesiwe. She was a close friend to Iko.
She then called upon the last remaining member of 3 Sum, Amstel Maboa to speak. Amstel contained his pain of losing his friend. He was so bubbly. After greeting everyone, he then shared his story of how he and Iko Mash met. “I met Iko 17 years ago through Koyo. Iko and I then became friends. I was never a person who uses make-up, but look at me today” shared Amstel.

Iko & Amstel’s friendship had it ups and downs. “We fought a lot, Iko was dramatic joh. You had to tolerate Iko” Amstel declared. He continued and mentioned that he was one of the people who did not see Iko on her last days but that does not mean that he wasn’t there for her. It also does not mean that he was less of her friend or did not love her enough.” When Iko found out that she was sick she shut the world out of her life, she chose not to be seen” Amstel concluded.

A journalist friend Sonia Motaung also spoke. “I met Iko 10 or 14 years ago, somewhere around those years. We used to go party at Kilimanjaro with Ikonand a lot would happen” cracking the crowd into so much laughter because of the jokes she made about the activities happened at Kilimanjaro.
She carried on about how having Iko in the public eye helped a lot of people to come out. Also how she also contributed as a friend to Iko to make sure that LGBTI people were featured in the media.
Having Iko, Amstel, Koyo & Jeff helped a lot of people to come out, to be comfortable with their sexuality. I used to write about them all the time. I would take them with me every time I move to a new publication. I did it with Drum, City Press and Sowetan” – Sonia

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Manaka Ranaka & Andile Gaelesiwe…

Then there was Manaka Ranaka. A God sent individual to Iko’s family and friends. Manaka took care of Iko since she was diagnosed with cancer.  Manaka said she is devastated and traumatised by losing Iko. She was shaking on the podium. “It took me the whole week to write my tribute to Iko, and I still did not finish“. Said heartbroken Manaka.
She spoke of how their relationship was so strong and memories they shared together. Iko would even offer Manaka to help her with her script. This journey started from the soapie where they worked on together, Zabalaza and carried on to her current job on Generations; The Legacy.

“Iko treated me like her husband & wife. Today I choose to stand here and be her husband” said the sobing actress Manaka Ranaka. She went on to say that Iko taught her so much and she chose Iko over her children.

Emotional tribute from Manaka was followed by an amazing video inserts. The inserts took us through great memories of Iko Mash featured on Selimathunzi in the past years. Then the producer of the show spoke very fondly of Iko Mash. Even though he kept using the incorrect pronoun referring to Iko as a “he” in his speech. He was then corrected by a member in the audience Zanele Muholi to refer to our late transgender friend as “she”.

Joe went on to say Iko was very unapologetic and had so much power and presence. This is in support to everyone that spoke about her. “Iko had so much power, she would say do not mess around with me, I am here and you have to accept” referring to any situations where she would experience any type of phobias and harrasment.

Joe continued and said “She made unfortunate woman look beautiful. I am no make-up artist but I know it’s a hell of a job“.
Joe described Iko as someone who had a lot of dreams and he strongly believes that she made a mark. Some of her dreams did come true.
Joe was than followed by a very emotional performance by Kelly Khumalo that got people in tears. Kelly sang a song tittled Themba from her new album “My truth”.

Other speakers that went up to pay their tributes are Iko’s brother Sello Mashiloane. He was followed by Deputy Minister of Arts & Culture, Ms Makhotso Sotyu who unfortunately did not know the late Iko in person.
She was then followed by fag hag ANC NEC Member Ms Nomvula Mokonyane who spoke so fondly of Iko. She mentioned all the great things they did together. She went on to refer to Iko as the best. “Iko did my make-up and hair for the 2010 world cup gala dinner”, “even Basetsana Khumalo was jealous” she joked. She added saying that even the clutch bag was a gift from Iko that she had promised her long ago.

All she wanted in exchange was from me was to distribute her business cards. She then concluded her speech by saying she can’t lie and say she understands what is Iko’s mother going through. “NO one will ever understand your pain unless they have lost a child. There is a biological connection between you and your child” words of comfort directed to Iko’s mom.

The service was wrapped up by Iko’s uncle and a sermon by Pastor Moema. Then light refreshments were served.

Iko Mash was born on the 31st of May 1975 and passed away on the 21st of July 2017 in the presence of her mother and close friend Ranaka Manaka.

Previous by Yaya

2017 July 25: Mellisa Mbambo to represent the KZN LGBTI community at the first Miss Gay RSA

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2017 July 25: Mellisa Mbambo to represent the KZN LGBTI community at the first Miss Gay RSA

by Yaya Mavundla
Mellisa Mbambo is black trans-woman, born 32 years ago in Intshanga, KwaZulu Natal. She is a part time stylist.  Super excited about representing the LGBTI community at the upcoming Miss Gay RSA. The pageant is set to take place in November at Carnival City, Johannesburg.
“This is a very big competition. I am so excited and yet so nervous, especially because I have to raise R10 000.00 for charity of my choice.  I am struggling to put together the amount” Mellisa said.


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Beautiful Mellisa at Durban South Beach on the 3rd June 2017. Photo by Zanele Muholi


Part of the competition requires all contestants that have placed on the top 6 to raise
R10 000.00 for charity of their choice before the grand finale. The bubbly trans-woman who always stands out not because of her beauty but her bubbly personality, height shares how her dream will become reality if she were to win this pageant. “Winning the first Miss Gay RSA will be a dream come true. This will open so many doors for me. I will make sure I conduct workshops for other LGBTI people to believe in themselves, encourage them to participate in such pageants as this is a way to express for yourself”

Speaking about the charity she is raising the funds for that she adores because of the great work they are doing she said, “The charity I am raising the funds for is Thousand Hills Community Helpers. I love this charity organization because the do so much for the KZN community. The charity helps homeless kids, feed elders, work with people who are infected and affected with HIV/Aids, I sometimes go and assist when they need my help”.

Mellisa was stabbed several times with a screw driver in her head, spine cord and left arm by his brother who is on drugs. She plans to go as far as participating in community workshops that educates youth on issues affecting our communities such as drug abuse and HIV. “We need to encourage youth to stop drug abuse & to have protected sex” says the fierce beauty queen.

Melissa is a tittle holder of many tittles such as Miss Sobantu Pietermaritzburg 2007, Miss Valentine 2007, Miss Gay KwaZulu-Natal 2008, Miss KwaZulu-Natal (a pageant for heterosexual woman) and recently 1st Princess at Miss Mzansi Pride 2016 to name a few. She is aware that anything is possible. “Being a beauty queen is not easy, it’s a lot of work and it comes with a lot of emotions, you need to be strong, you can do your best but still not win”.

Melissa describes this as a very challenging journey as she will be competing out of her city. There is a lot of money involved, being the R10 000.00 for charity, funds for her swim suit, shoes, hair, make-up, evening gown and return flight from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg. “I have even lost 5kg due to a lot of stress. I pray everyday all goes well.
I am stressed but I know things will fall into place”
she concluded.

Prior the finale, the Miss Gay RSA will be hosting a workshop for the Top 6 in Johannesburg on the 26 – 27 August 2017 to prepare the contestants for the finale and photo shoot.


2017 June 3 Mellisa best _2159


Previous by Yaya

2017 July 19: “What is there no state funeral for Prudence?”




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2017 July 19: “Why is there no state funeral for Prudence?”

Text by Yaya Mavundla
Photos by Zanele Muholi

Struggle songs & ritual performances at an activist funeral. Prudence Mabele shocked many by her passing on the 10th of July just before celebrating her 46th birthday on the 21 July 2017.  Her funeral service held at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg was attended by many.  Politicians and public figures such as deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the funeral.

Cyril Ramaphosa_4173Ramaphosa was distracted by a group of activists who felt the government have constantly neglected the need to provide proper healthcare for average South Africans at public facilities. A group of activists walked out on Ramaphosa, just before the exit they shouted, “Remember Marikana”. Regardless of the protest, deputy president carried on with his speech he had prepared.



Programme directors for the day was Dr Ramathesele & Ms. Rosie Motene who handled the event very well, with dignity and pride, whom also knew Prudence on a personal level. A lot was said and happened during the proceedings. Highlight of the entire day was seeing Christians being able to work with traditional healers to send off their loved one with respect by doing what she believed in and who she really was. Prudence Mabele was a traditional healer and it was only right to have her friends who are traditional healers to perform a ritual performance during the church service and at her burial service at the cemeteries.

One of the speakers who spoke at the service was Bev Ditsie who spoke very fond of her dear friend.  She was very honest about how Prudence Mabele lived and experienced in her 46 years of existence. “Prudence lived fearlessly, she loved dearly and was very honest” said Bev.

She went on to add that as much as she was very loving but there were people who did not wish well and it was said that it even happened at her own organization and some of the people who were against her were people who she was there for regardless of what it took for her to help them. “She was backstabbed by people within her own organization” said Bev during her tribute to her dear friend Prudence.

Looking at how everyone spoke fondly of her work it is evidence that Mabele is a true legend, who deserves recognition and praise of all that she have done for the HIV and Aids people in South Africa and beyond. His grandfather Moses Mabele shared very powerful words speaking about Prudence, even went to make an example about a dog from Japan that a stature was put in place because of it dedication and asked “if the president of Japan can put up a stature of a dog, why would a president of South Africa do not do the same for Prudence who was very dedicated in making sure that people living with HIV get treatment”. This was of course directed to the press. Cyril Ramaphosa who was present at the funeral and he shared his wish that he hope that the government listens, because politicians constantly do not listen.



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Prudence Mabele’s funeral was one of the most powerful, well organized and attended by various people. “The funeral wouldn’t have been like this if it wasn’t for our dear friend Lerato” said Dr. Miranda Goma, who continued her speech and questioned ‘why is there no state funeral for Prudence.” She emphasized those words based on hard work that Prudence did for many communities. She was with Prudence until her last days. She went on to say that all people wanted to do was to speak at the funeral, those are the only requests they received.  The people who promised to donate, they did not. “The bank account is still not closed yet, it is still open, and you can make those contributions as promised. We still have to pay the people we borrowed the money from” she concluded.

The funeral service was scheduled to take happen between 8am-11am but due to speeches taking longer and for some destructions. The cortege left cemetery late noon and everything finished off by 16h30. She was laid to rest at Westpark Cemetery alongside South African popular citizens.


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Related links

About Prudence Mabele


A visual tribute to Prudence Mabele by Bev Ditsie



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2017 July 4: Tumi’s Foundation in photography

by Tumi Nkopane

The 11th of January 2017 was my first day studying a Foundation Course (FC) in photography at the Market Photo Workshop (MPW) in Newtown, Johannesburg. The opportunity to study was granted to me by Zanele Muholi who is my mentor. It had been too long without studying full-time but I couldn’t wait to meet new people who also wanted to pursue their careers in photography but in different genres understandably.

Everyone was welcoming especially the staff, as they made each student feel at home and we were the first Foundation Course students of 2017 to attend classes in the newly built building in Newtown and the building looked stunning.

I am very fortunate to have received this opportunity to study photography in one of the best photography institutions in South Africa, and of course an institution that taught some of our well known photographers such as Sabelo Mlangeni, Thabiso Sekgala, Musa Nxumalo, Nontsikelelo Veleko, Lebohang Khanye, Zanele Muholi, and many  more. I would also like to be one of the best photographers who have been groomed by the Market Photo Workshop.

Photography seemed easy at first but as time went by and we were introduced to new new techniques daily which became challenging. I am glad that I had to study photography because at first I didn’t know the advanced techniques that were introduced to us in the course; I had only been introduced to basics of using a camera by Zanele Muholi when we did PhotoXP 2016 in KwaThema.


2016 May 9 PhotoXP participants with LQ & Muholi by LD_5287
          Members of the 2016 PhotoXP KwaThema during one of our photo sessions.                From Left – Right: Lebo Mashifane, Maphike Rafedile, Tumi Nkopane, Luyanda Mthembu, Khanyi Mtungwa with project co-facilitators Zanele Muholi & Lindeka Qampi.                                      (c) Photo by Lerato Dumse (2016)


2016 May 14 Thembi & Theo _ Boom Shaka by Tumi Nkopane_0383

Thembi Seete and Theo Nhlengethwa of the defunct Boom Shaka performing at the Not Yet Free Concert at Bassline, Johannesburg.  Photo by Tumi Nkopane (2016)


On the 8th Feb 2017 there was an Exhibition of a former student Phumzile Khanyile who had been awarded the Tierney Fellowship that took place at the school Gallery   since she was also a student at the MPW. It was inspiring to see a young black female having to share her body of work featuring her own personal touch to it.  As an artist you’ll have your own analysis or interpretations of each image or the whole body of work. I didn’t know that but because of the Market Photo Workshop I was able to do that.

We were given a brief for photographic assignments every Monday and we had to present our work and be critiqued by professionals. It was scary at first but we all got used to the crit. sessions and they were helpful to students.  That experience helped us to improve our technical knowledge of a camera and editing images.
The part I enjoyed the most in all the sessions was when we watched a documentary of a photographer Sally Mann which  particular genre like one of the greatest photographers, . Even though some of my classmates would be bored and complain about watching one and the same thing every now and then not knowing that it’s for our benefit at the end of the day. Before studying at MPW I didn’t know about South African photographers and I had not seen their work. Studying at the MPW made me enjoy my studies, even though I was unfortunately distracted and had to be pulled out of the course because of the accident I was involved in while going to school on the 13th February 2017. At that time I was assigned to do my Home and Portrait series critique which happened on that day. However, I wasn’t badly injured, I had sustained some injuries and I still went to school and reported the incident, and I was advised to go home and be back whenever I was feeling better.
I went back after few days thinking I was fine but I was not coping very well so the management told me to stay at home and come back in June to complete the course with the 3rd FC group because I’ll be fully recovered physically by then. I stayed at home but still continued taking pictures as it was therapeutic and it helped with my recovery.

On the 12th June 2017 I returned to school and it was difficult for me because of the (painful shoulder) side effects sustained from injury.  This time I managed to do very well at school.  My brochure was selected as the best one because of the choice of place or location and the way it was neat and technically edited.

The final assessment presentation was on the 6th and 7th July 2017, the atmosphere was so warm and we were working as a team for the last time, some members of the group were panicking thinking they won’t make it to Intermediate Course. It was nerve wrecking because I had to present my 24 Summative portfolios, surprisingly things went well even though the questions were tricky.

I really enjoyed studying the Foundation Course and I am proud to have managed to finish the course in 8 weeks, it was no child’s play, and we had to submit assignments after another. It was a valuable experience and I am honoured to have been a part of it.

I’d like to see myself achieving a lot in the future, especially in photography and I am grateful to have a mentor like Muholi, a person who encourages black women to work hard and make things happen.


Previous by Tumi

2016 Oct. 10:  VMCI Annual Conference


Related links
2016 May 17:  Launching Kwa-Thema PhotoXP


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