U is for Umuzi Photo Club

Can I complete the whole of Round 9 of ABC Wednesday based on our four week stay in South Africa in February? Click on the photos to enlarge.

I want to use the letter U of ABC Wednesday to promote the Umuzi Photo Club, a project that my daughter became involved with during her stay in Cape Town.

Despite the success that is the modern South Africa, it still has its sinister side of townships, grinding poverty and crime. The Umuzi Photo Club encourages children to take photos of their world so that the rest of us can be made aware.

Like the one above that ostensibly shows children at play. But the boy who took it calls it: Gangsters Know No Age. These boys are imitating the gun crime they see around them every day.

The Umuzi Photo Club began in the townships of Johannesburg and opened a similar project in Cape Town last year.

Umuzi is a Zulu word meaning ‘village’ and the aim is to put young people ‘at the centre of conversations on important community issues, cutting through socio-economic and generational boundaries.’

For my daughter and for us, it brought home the realities of the issues that South Africa still has to tackle. And some powerful photography.

You can see more examples of their work on their Blogger website, at the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.

Meanwhile, below is a short film in which the young people tell you about Umuzi far more eloquently than I can.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

11 comments… Add yours
  • Oakland Daily Photo 7th December 2011

    Very interesting post. Especially like the last photo/video.

  • Kim,USA 7th December 2011

    Wow I love these photos!

    Letter U

  • Elizabeth 7th December 2011

    What a wonderful initiative.

    We live such parochial lives and there is still, even in 2011, a deep sense of ‘if we can’t see it, it doesn’t matter, if it doesn’t affect us, we don’t need to bother about it.’ I am reminded of Kevin Carter’s groundbreaking image of 1994, perhaps the first true impression to be made on the West that life in African countries is vastly different to our own, yet still there is a blasé attitude towards it all. We need to see these pictures, we need to be educated and shocked into recognition that perceptions and perspective are two very different things.

    There’s also another angle to this; those of us who do know and appreciate those differences need to see the projects that are taking place and evaluate the liberation that long overdue, increased aid and understanding are bringing to the African continent. For example, it is so wonderful to see that bio-sand filter in operation and obviously very much accepted and used. Such things transform lives, increase health and mortality expectations and empower these communities to reach for better things. It knocks completely on the head the oft quoted notion, “Oh well, they won’t appreciate it if we send it to them!” and I seriously hope that some who see this video will be prompted to give the few pounds that a bio-sand filter costs rather than spending it on fripperies that they don’t need, this Christmas.

    It is also good to see that these are young people with cameras in their hands. The young are NOT, as is often said, the world of tomorrow; they are very much a part of the world of today. And what articulate, intelligent, young people are portrayed here. Their voices and their photographs are indeed powerful as well as incredibly creative and stunning. They deserve to be given a wider airing and their stories to be told to the world.

    I just hope that there is as much intelligence on the part of those who see their work. x

  • Meryl 7th December 2011

    I actually think you did a wonderful job explaining and promoting this incredible project! Thank you for bringing it onto my radar.

  • Stephen Mayer 7th December 2011

    I actually think you did a wonderful job explaining and promoting this incredible project! I support it. 🙂

  • Barb 7th December 2011

    This is a moving and powerful entry. Those kids have so little and yet they aren’t afraid to make their voices heard. They are an inspiration to me.

  • photowannabe 7th December 2011

    This is so powerful. I find it exciting to see what a camera in the hands of those young people can really do.
    I had to post their link on Face Book so others could see it too.
    Many thanks for sharing.

  • Joy 7th December 2011

    Marvellous project, inspiring. The FairMail project (www.fairmail.info/company) does something similar in Peru and India.

  • Gilbert Pooley 8th December 2011

    Thank you for featuring Umuzi Photo Club! We greatly appreciate your support. For more information, please see our website: http://www.umuzi.org or contact me on gilbert.pooley@umuzi.org

  • Helen Mac 9th December 2011

    Excellent post on the power of the image to affect the maker and the viewer.
    ABC TEam

  • Francisca 12th December 2011

    This is a very moving entry for U. The photos and video are a powerful introduction to a creative and enlightening project. It’s difficult to remain uncaring when faced with the raw yet beautiful images of a difficult life taken by these youngsters. Congratulations to your daughter for getting involved.


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