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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs