Women find their place behind the lens

Some of the young women who participated in the training workshop.

On a mission to develop and promote Xhosa arts and culture, a newly formed non-profit organisation, Inkcubeko Nezobugcisa, held a five-day photography workshop at Isivivana in Khayelitsha last Thursday.

The organisation aims to develop Xhosa artists while encouraging them to create sustainable livelihoods through art.

The five students who participated in the workshop were taught about exposure, composition, lighting, portraiture, editing software, and how to price and sell their photographs.

The training was mainly aimed at creating a platform for young women aged between 18 and 30 so that they could learn more about photography and encourage them to take it up.

The organisation’s artistic director, Zizo Manona, said one of the main aims behind the training was to encourage young people to conceptualise, produce and promote Xhosa cultural exhibits and activations presented primarily in written Xhosa.

Ms Manona said they wanted to identify and nurture Xhosa talent, particularly among women, while building their entrepreneurial expertise. Furthermore, she said, they wanted to connect these artists with other well-known artists so that they could enhance their skills while learning more about the industry.

Ms Manona said the idea to establish the organisation came last year but before they could do that they needed to understand the main issues and challenges facing artists. So they had done intensive research and interviews among artists so that when the organisation was established it could address their issues.

After they concluded their research, she said, they started the organisation.

They wanted women only in this workshop because there were not enough professional women photographers, she said.

“Many do not understand that this is a business and you could make a living out of it. Some think being a photographer is just a hobby. We taught them how they should be doing pricing. There is a also huge pay gap between men and women. We wanted young people to learn more about this industry. We want more women to tell their stories from their own lens.”

Ms Manona said the students’ work would be displayed at a local gallery in Langa, but she lamented that a lack of financial support was a challenge for the organisation.

Asemahle Inam Mankayi, 21, a second-year film and television student at City Varsity, said she wanted to become one of the best film-makers in the country and run her own production house.

Another student, Makaziwe Dotwana, who holds a BTech qualification in photography from Cape Peninsula University of Technolody, said she wanted to learn more and expand her knowledge.