News / Africa

South Africa Youth See New Life Through Photography

South Africa Youth See New Life Through Photographyi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 26, 2013 4:43 PM
There is a growing initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa, that teaches disadvantaged children how to take photographs and sell their prints in high-end parts of the city. The project is called "I was shot in Joburg" -- a word play on the city's violent reputation. As Emilie Iob reports, the initiative is providing children with a new perspective and is helping to change their lives.
South Africa Youth See New Life Through Photography
There is a growing iniative in Johannesburg, South Africa, that teaches disadvantanged children how to take photographs and sell their prints in high-end parts of the city.  The project is called "I was shot in Joburg" -- a word play on the city's violent reputation.  The initiative is providing children with a new perspective and is helping to change their lives.

Shooting photographs of people has become a way of life for Pritchard Ndlovu.  

Four and a-half years ago, he was living at Twilight Shelter in Hillbrow, one of  the most disadvantaged areas of Johannesburg.  That's when he met Bernard Viljoen, who enrolled him in his new photography workshop at the shelter.

"Before, I didn't have a vision of photography.  I was just in a shelter because I needed maybe to go to school.  And after school, I would do something about my life, but I didn't know what. So when Bernard came to the shelter and he introduced photography, that's when I thought, 'Okay, doing things like this in my life maybe can bring some change,'" Ndlovu said.

Viljoen started the workshop four years ago and began with a simple guideline for the teenagers. "I literally said to the guys, 'Take the cameras, walk out the gates, and find beauty where you thought there was none," he said.

In this crime and poverty-ridden neighborhood, Viljoen urged the teenagers to see things in a new way. "I wanted to tell them that with photography, if you see something that you don't like, that does not resonate with you, you just change your eyes and find something else," stated Viljoen.

The challenge intrigued Pritchard Ndlovu. "We had all this life that we were introduced to, a little bit violent and all the stuff.  But through photography, we had to see the arty part and be able to meet with people and communicate with people -- get to know about positive things about our city, how to make the place around you a better place," he said.

The project now has its own permanent studio in one of the fanciest places in Johannesburg.  The studio employs six former students full-time, including Pritchard, who is now the studio's manager.

"My favorite picture is not mine, but it says something about real life.  It's called 'Write the Future.'  It says a lot, 'Write the Future.'  It's different, inspiring, and makes you curious about what's happening," Ndlovu said. "What will happen tomorrow".

Besides photo prints, the studio sells merchandise made by the teenagers of the Twilight Shelter -- pillows, coasters, refrigerator magnets, cell phone cases --  and the catalog keeps on expanding.

Cathy Williams works for one of the project's sponsoring companies. "For me it was taking street children out of that shelter and giving them an opportunity to earn money.  They don't have to be your professors, or your doctors or your lawyers, because not everybody can afford to do that.  But by working hard and creating with your hands and getting ideas, you can sell and make money and be productive," Williams said.

The initiative will continue to hold annual exhibits and is now looking at ways to sell the photos and merchandise in retail stores, potentially giving students the chance to start their own businesses.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs