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South Africa

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  • Ubuntu
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  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains the meaning of the word Ubuntu, which has its origins in the Bantu languages: 

    One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

    I came to South Africa with the specific goal of making documentary images. I was interested in what post-apartheid South Africa looked like and documenting the changes. I also firmly told myself I would not take exploitative pictures of suffering or pain. And surprisingly that wasn’t hard. I mostly photographed in poor communities, such as Bo-kaap in Cape Town, Kayamandi, and the Jeffrey’s Bay township. What I found was that even though these people were born into poverty, they were still happy. This filled me with hope. The series focuses specifically on the children in the townships, who contrary to my expectations were so happy and innocent, despite living in such difficult living conditions.