Masi Hambeni

Masi Hambeni means Come with me in Xhosa, the indigenous language of the Western Cape.

This EDSA initiative has resulted in a remarkable exhibition of photographs with accompanying descriptive text which has been on display in Oxford, London, Bressuire (France) and elsewhere. It gives an insight into the lives of seven Xhosa students from the townships of the Cape Flats. The young people involved were keen trainee reporters with the Alumni Club magazine Angle Search.

Each was given a disposable camera to record things of importance to them in their home and in their community. None of them had used a camera before. The resulting pictures, together with their comments, give a unique opportunity to see township life from their perspective. Writing in English, their second language after Xhosa, they discuss their hopes and fears for themselves and their community, and they share their desire to gain a good education so that their lives will change. All had attended an after-school media studies group run by EDSA’s South African partner organisation, ASSET, and were learning to use computers to assist them in their reporting.

Sitting around the fireSitting around the fireShoppingShopping Friday nightFriday night Playing in the townshipPlaying in the townshipTraditional dressTraditional dress

The above five images are a small selection from the exhibition. Siphito writes these photos are interesting to me as I am proud of my culture. Nonceba was keen to show a friend's home where they are in their zinc house, sitting around the fire. The women wearing traditional dress was taken by Zwelandile at a festival in Langa township and the young people pictured are on a Friday night they usually go to the shebeen, they love to party and unwind ...

The Masi Hambeni exhibition is used for awareness-raising and fund-raising by EDSA and is available for display; please contact the Trustees if you are interested in borrowing this exhibition.

The Masi Hambeni photographers: Sipheto Mbizeni, Nonceba Doli, Sandile Magawu, Zwelandile Sigijima, Vela Posiso, Andile Pezisa and Yondela Gijane were all once part of the Saturday School and involved in the publication Angle Search. Several other young people have recently added their images to this growing archive of life in the townships from a young persons view. EDSA intends to continue to develop this resource with further pictures taken by children and young people participating in the projects we support in the townships of the Western Cape.