The Johannesburg CBD is cramped with people who come from all over the continent; they arrive in the City of Gold with aspirations of creating better lives for themselves. They leave their hometowns or home countries with very little, hoping that their journey into the unknown yields superior opportunities.For many of these off-comers, a trip that might have started with anticipation and weighty conviction usually ends with homelessness and extreme poverty, forcing them to survive under really devastating conditions. Many of them end up living in the cheapest and sometimes the most harmful buildings in the city. These sometimes range from debilitating or illegally occupied and hijacked buildings. These are the same buildings that some residents have recently been forced to move away from when the city decided to revamp, leaving the poor battling for housing.When photographer and storyteller, Tshepiso Mabula, heard about the evictions, she says she rushed to Doorfontein hoping to capture the evictions with her camera. Tshepiso’s visit ended up documenting what’s become a riveting photo essay that followed both those who were forced to move and the people hired to make it happen.The 25-year-old writer and photographer self-identifies as someone who captures the dignity of ordinary people, far removed from the glamorous or ideal atmospheres of high-profile photography.Tshepiso is a visual observer of Bantu living as well as a storyteller who believes that her calling is to produce work that promotes equity and social unity, seeking to correct the injustices that exist in our everyday culture. To her social justice means being able to embrace our similarities as a people while working towards creating a society where all can live freely without prejudice.‘This essay looks at the relationships people create with the spaces they inhabit using the recent evictions of residents in Johannesburg buildings.This essay looks at how people from the same socio-economic spectrum were pitted against each other in a single day, how one group moved from evicting people who are as poor as them to playing soccer in the street and cordoning off the building, and how the other was left homeless and hopeless after being evicted from the homes they created.The purpose of this essay is to highlight the housing problem in Johannesburg inner city and how it affects the relationships that people build among each other.’ – Tshepiso
She also points out that her passion to tell this type of story through her work was inspired by the fact that ‘As a child of a working-class family from the rural Eastern Cape, I know all too well how it feels to have to recreate a home, far away from home.’Tshepiso’s photo series scored her not only a nomination but also a big win in our #COM. Creative of the Month is a bi-monthly competition that is meant to celebrate creatives within our community. We hope with each nomination and with each win, current recruits and our alumni are always inspired to create and exhibit their best work!
Congratulations Tshepiso hope you enjoy your prize!
To see the rest of the photo essay, visit her Behance website here: https://goo.gl/8aEKmU
We’re excited to announce that the exhibition, which continues to be a celebration and exploration of language will be showcased at 2 Gordon Street, Gardens as part of the Cape Town First Thursdays programme.
Umuzi is once again partnering with AFROPUNK to offer up a thought-provoking exploration of language in Southern Africa as a complex singularity – a river system in a dynamic flow full of all the different styles of speech around us, and their graphic representation in different systems of writing, not just the Roman alphabet that we learn at school, but the writing systems that are indigenous to this continent.
The RINGA! exhibition is curated by Umuzi, showcasing the diverse artistry and interpretations of the theme by young South African artists within the Umuzi community. Through their work, they interrogate the relationships between the visual and oral of language in this region of the world.
Language has always been an undeniable cornerstone of how we express, communicate and understand each other. It’s how we embrace one another and determine if we are heard and listened to.
Language shapes how we define the world around us and most importantly how we align our true selves to certain beliefs and values. Come join us this Thursday and uncover exciting artworks that speak to both official and nonofficial everyday language, from Is’Camtho and Tsotsitaal to IsiMpondro and Tshivenḓa, incorporating various writing systems, such as isiBheqe Sohlamvu (Ditema tsa Dinoko), Adinkra symbols of West Africa, the Mandombe script of Congo, the Zẖȝ n Mdw-Nṯr of ancient Egypt, or the Jawi ajami for writing Afrikaans in Arabic characters.
Ringa! is bringing language to the fore in a way you’ve never seen before. Be sure to make your way to this First Thursday as we exhibit unusual reflections on taal in sound and image.
RSVP to the event HERE!
Last night, at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, Umuzi was honoured to receive the Business Arts South Africa Development Award for our extraordinary partnership with Investec, the Umuzi Academy. “Potential without opportunity will remain but potential,” said Setlogane Manchidi, Head of Corporate Social Investment at Investec, after the awards. We would like to thank Investec for seeing the potential in our vision to develop the next generation of creative professionals from eKasi, and for working with us to realise it.
We are thrilled to receive this award and grateful to BASA for recognising all the hard work so many people have put in, over many years, to create the Umuzi Academy. As we celebrate, we remain humbled by how much more there is for us to do to realise our full potential. But with partners like Investec, we feel confident that the Umuzi Academy will keep rising to the challenge of supporting young creatives to realise their potential.
Check out the full interview below with highlights from the evening.
Written by: Zuleka Pukwana
Busi is a photography recruit at Umuzi with a huge sense of humour. She focuses her craft mostly on abstract things. Her current project explores the Zion church and its changes over the year. Busi has a deep love for photography and although some would be unnerved by the fact that it is a male dominated field, Busi is not moved much by this. She is inspired by everyone and everything and looks for things that catch her eye. Her incredible talent of capturing moments and emotions was recently celebrated when a photograph she took was printed on page four of The Times newspaper.
She has a love for natural light, cringing at the mention of fluorescent lighting when she takes photos. Her family has always supported her in her dreams to be part of the creative industry as they recognised her talents easily. Strong willed and explorative, she photographs things depending on what catches her “eye” on the day. Her work is a strong priority to her and she puts the time required to produce her best work. Although she celebrates art, she is careful not to take too much of other people’s art in, as she recognises that it is easy to find yourself reproducing what other people have produced.
Check out Busi’s Behance account to see more of her work
Written by: Iris Hlakhuva
Photography: Busi Sithole
Thaps is currently in London with other young photographers sponsored by the Wembley to Soweto Foundation where they are exhibiting their work. This exhibition takes place at The Hospital Club Gallery and celebrates his collection of photographs from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
While in London, Thaps also had the opportunity to take snaps of his of his idol – Actor, Idris Elba, and was featured in the The Guardian UK online.
The Umuzi Academy is looking for talented Photographers, Digital Marketers, Graphic Designers, and Videographers who already possess some technical skills and are passionate about transforming the creative industry and the South African narrative. Applications are open from the 21st of August until the 18th of September.
“We don’t have enough senior black creatives because there aren’t enough opportunities for black creatives at the bottom,” according to Executive Creative Director of Joe Public, Xolisa Dyeshana.
The Umuzi Academy in partnership with Investec Bank, the Da Vinci Institute and the Creative Circle are offering a one year, paid learnership programme to develop the next generation of creative professionals from eKasi.
Many creatives from eKasi face a daunting challenge to secure professional employment. The Umuzi Academy gives them the opportunity to join the creative economy through on the job training, skills development, multimedia collaborations, and access to industry networks.
Umuzi’s Jeppestown studio is a vibrant, professional, creative agency where successful candidates will join a team to work on real client briefs, under the management of experienced industry professionals. The studio also hosts Umuzi Masterclasses in which industry pioneers share their experiences and insights, personal creative passions, and struggles.
Umuzi alumni are already leaving their mark at various leading advertising agencies.
“The thing that made the Umuzi journey meaningful for me was not just developing my technical skills but learning the soft skills: how to build relationships and work with people from different backgrounds,” shares Tswhanelo Modise, Umuzi alumnus who is now a Junior Art Director at FCB.
“I knew how to take pictures, but Umuzi taught me how to be a professional photographer,” says Bantu Mahlangu, current Umuzi recruit and now a Sunday Times photography intern.
Umuzi Academy develops the next generation of creative professionals from eKasi and is giving you the chance to join the creative revolution. Apply now!
Welcome to our taxi stories!
I have been riding taxis ever since I could say my name and every time I am riding in one I tell myself that this is my last ride, not because it’s that terrible but I just want to get to work without being wrinkled or just full of dust from all the walking that I do to get to the taxi rank. And sometimes I can’t stand 16 different people’s odours made into just one big chakalaka of a perfume!
The earliest memory of riding a taxi is when I was about 4 years old. I was sitting on my mother’s lap and I was wondering why people were giving each other money, not knowing that they were paying and giving each other change.
Since that day the taxi ride has been as normal to me as brushing my teeth! It’s such an important part of my life because it makes it possible for me to hustle by getting from A to Z.
Every taxi ride is different; the taxi drivers are normal people, and they come in all types of personalities and characters. I’ve met rude ones, funny ones, quiet ones and some really inspiring ones. They set the mood in the taxi, like this morning the driver was angry and rude. He was driving recklessly and whenever he stopped unexpectedly causing us to bump our heads and not even saying ‘sorry’. The people were angry and they were swearing at the driver and when they wanted to get off, they didn’t say short left, short right, stop sign, after robot or before robots, they just said stop! And at one point he didn’t stop and a guy just stood up and started swearing at the driver and all of a sudden I took the driver’s side and I wanted to smack the guy and run away, but Jeppestown was just too far.
The unpredictable happens when a bunch of strangers climb into a taxi together and are expected to be civil with each other. All sorts of things can happen and I want to share my taxi stories and I hope that you too can share your stories and maybe we can laugh together…
For more taxi stories check out dankie driver blog here
My relationship with Jozi is up and down but most of the time I love this city. I am not yet sure why. I’m still trying to decide whether it’s how it comes alive at night or how everything seems normal in the day while a whole parallel world is roaring right under your nose.
Having recently moved to the C.B.D, one thing I am quite fascinated about is how the buildings light up to form a miniature galaxy at night. Although this is not at all unique to Jozi, I’m willing to bet my very first salary that it’s one of the best views in the world. Okay maybe I exaggerate. I am biased after all and by the way my first salary was about five hundred bucks, so at least I am a responsible gambler. But Jozi still has one of the best views in the world; don’t let them tell you different.
Ever since the gold rush to the Transvaal, Johannesburg has been well on its way to becoming the economic hub of South Africa. The rush hasn’t subsided at all. Peak hour traffic will second me on this. E’mjodolo you find everyone and everything. From Limpopo to Cape Town, every race within and outside our borders is represented in this 1,645 km² patch of land. Okay maybe not every race, but you get my point. You may even mistake parts of the city as some kind of United States of Africa due to the rich foreign presence the city nests. Better yet, there is a dedicated ‘China Town’ not to mention the Oriental plaza.
If you thought DJ Sbu’s notorious fake cover of Forbes magazine caused a stir, wait until you see what Umuzi photography recruits got up to. Many of us were excited for our first ever magazine cover shoot, and the photographers added to this excitement by personalising the experience. Our interests, hobbies and passions were also exhibited on the covers, which made them more authentic.