HALALA
06/07/2018 11:08 SAST | Updated 06/07/2018 11:57 SAST

Thokoza, The Home Of SA's Future Photographers

Of Soul and Joy showcases work by young people from Thokoza who have learnt photography through the project.

Stop Sign gallery held a one-of-a-kind exhibition on Thursday evening, at which the Of Soul and Joy team showcased work by young people from Thokoza, whom they have taught photography through the project.

The turnout was good, with young and old, mothers with babies on their backs and the usual artsy types in attendance.

Among those showcasing their work was Lindokuhle Sobekwa, who was part of the first group of young people to learn photography through the project, in 2012.

I thought it was Paradise

A post shared by Lindokuhle Sobekwa (@lindokuhle.sobekwa) on

Although he was initially a dancer, he also had a big interest in the arts and says falling in love with photography was bound to happen.

"I fell in love with photography. It provided me with a lunch box. I could have extra money to buy sneakers or whatever," Sobekwa said.

"It was more of telling stories at home first, before we tell stories out of our own neighbourhoods."

My education in photography was not only based in school, where they teach you, but also in the people I photograph.
Lindokuhle Sobekwa

His family did not initially think photography was a good career choice.

"At first they did not understand. They do not see photography to this extent, where you tell stories in pictures."

Sobekwa went on to study at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, where he did his foundation course. Winning competitions since then has proven he can be counted among the best.

"I won the Magnum Foundation scholarship to go to New York for, like, a month, and there it was more based on a lot of things about photography, research, multimedia... things that I did not know before.

"My education in photography was not only based in school, where they teach you, but also in the people I photograph."

Ziyanda Project

The young artist's latest project will be about his sister, Ziyanda.

"It is a project that I started out of guilt. Right after the accident that happened to me, she never went home to tell them what happened to me, she just ran away. That has always bothered me," he said.

Sobekwa and his sister went to fetch money from their father when they were younger, and ended up fighting over the money. He ran and was knocked over by a car. His sister disappeared that day.

"It is a personal story about my sister, Ziyanda, who disappeared for 15 years and was discovered in a hostel near where we live by my mother — and shortly after that she passed away."

The inspiration behind the project stemmed from a family portrait he once found with Ziyanda's face cut out of it.

"I wanted to know more about that face ... to heal and forgive and forget".