about the artists

Abongile Mbemba
I am Abongile Mbemba from a small township called Nyanga East in Zwelitsha. I was born in 1992. I have faced so many challenges. Being raised by unemployed parents, I have had to stand up for myself in order to have what I need. I used to be involved in bad things just to have something to do, but I managed to get back on a good path and be someone in my community. When I joined Etafeni it was because I wanted to be positive about life. Etafeni helped me stick to my promise to find a purpose. This Photovoice project helped me find love, because I have fallen in love with photography. I wanted to be a journalist since I was little, and now have so many dreams that I want to pursue.

Akhona Khube
I’m Akhona Khube, and I live in Nyanga East in Zwelitsha. When I went to primary school there was a battle of personal finances, and so I had to change schools many times. Eventually I went to a school in Claremont where I finished my grade 12. I live with my mother, son, and sister in a one-room shack. I think that most jobs are now looking for experience, so some of us have no experience. That is the main battle of the process of getting a job. The best thing about my community is the love we have for one other. We are strong and help each other when there is a need.

Celiwe Tshemese
I am Celiwe Tshemese. I was born in the Eastern Cape. At that time my parents were still alive.In 2006 my mother got very sick and passed away, and my father took my siblings and I to the Western Cape with him until he passed away in 2009. I have learned that in everything it is possible to be happy if you make your life meaningful. Though I face many challenges in life, that doesn't stop me from reaching out for what I believe in.

Cindy Ralarala
I live in Gugulethu, and was born here in Cape Town. My father and my mother are originally form the Eastern Cape. I was 19 years old, and passed my matric last year with Diploma. I was surprised to get a Diploma. I like to listen to music, especially hip-hop. Right now I want a job to renovate my mothers house.

Nontobeko Jamjam
I grew up in the Eastern Cape in a family of five. I passed my matric and went to Lovedale College to do my Performing Arts and Drama Certificate for two years. After that I worked at the Grahamstown Arts Festival until the contract expired. Then I came to Cape Town to hustle for jobs. I love dance and acting and want to spend my whole life in the arts.

Mkhululi Shiba
My name is Mkhululi Shiba. I am 28 years old. My challenge in life is access resources—being able to fund my dream of having a dry wall company. I want to give back to the community and to be able to uplift it. This Photovoice project was educational for me, and I am starting to make a positive change in my life. I am looking forward to the challenges and achievements of seeing my community in a different way.

Ntombekhaya Jakuja
My name is Ntombekhaya Jakuja. I’m 19 years old living in Cape Town in a township calledNyanga. I was born here in Nyanga and I was raised here by my single mother, who I love very much. I did my matric last year in 2013 and I passed. Growing up I have faced a lot of challenges, but some amazing things have happened in my life. In 2011 I won the award of Highest Achiever in Physical Sciences. During my school years, before finishing my matric, I was involved in a group of photography as an activity after school. My mentor was a professional journalist. In ten years time I want to see myself owning my own business, highly educated, achieving my goals, and making sure that I make my mother proud in everything that I do.

Ntombekhaya Lubinda
I was born in 1989. The challenges that I faced in life growing up with an alcoholic mother were large, but I left her house and went to stay with my father and grandmother. I have a beautiful daughter, and my dream is to become a professional nurse and provide for my family. I want to give my child a brighter future and not have her suffer like I did. This Photovoice project made me realize how to handle life challenges and think outside of the box. Being a part of this exhibition was amazing because people can now get to see the pictures of the township life.

Ncebakazi Mqolombeni
My name is Ncebakazi Mqolombeni. I am 24 years old and I was matriculated in 2011. I am agood person who understands people problems. I want people to take me seriously. If I am telling you about myself, when I was out of high school in 2013 I was not studying because of financial problems at home. My mother passed away when I was very young, but in all of these difficult problems I will persevere because I am happy with my father and siblings.

Ncebakazi Mqolombeni
My name is Noluthando Gibisela. I was born in 1992. I live in Gugulethu with my grandmotherand two brothers. We are originally from Northern Cape (Kimberly). I studied in Crystal High School for my high school years. I am a kind, loving, caring, determined and optimistic person. I like sports such as netball, watching movies, and reading books. My mother passed away in a car accident in 2012. That was the most painful experience I have ever had, but with support I managed to get through it. My dream is to be in the hospitality business or to become a teacher. My short-term goal is to enroll in a university next year.

Phatiswa Pikini
My name is Phatiswa Pikini. I am living with my parents. I am the first-born child. I have gone through challenges in my life, falling in love with somebody who was not good for me and having a family early in life. Teenagers like to experience things for themselves and don't want to be told what to do, but I have learned so many lessons in my life. I am curious about the next phase of my life and am a hard working woman.

Sandisile Xelelwa
I was born in King William’s Town in Eastern Cape. I past my matric in 2004 and went toChrysalis Academy and then started looking for a job. Since then I joined the army of struggle (gangsterism), but realized that it was not the life that I was supposed to live. So I became responsible for my life. I want to provide for my family and am still hustling. This project is one of the best opportunities and has helped me to become a cameraman. My dream is to become a successful man with a family. I want to have a permanent job.

Thulani Hasane
I am nineteen years old. I live in Philippi here in Cape Town. Originally I am from the Eastern Cape in the town called Umtata. I passed grade 12 in 2013. I like to read books and work. I am a hard worker—I can learn fast and like to improve myself in my free time. I grew up in the rural areas. Since I passed matric I have been busy applying for schools, am still looking. Now it is hard to find a job, because of internet access and skills to attract employers. Currently I am looking for a learnership for a job that I can get in order to gain money to prepare myself to go back to school. One of the challenges that I overcame was finishing with grade 12 even with all of the financial problems that my family. I focused on my books and did not involve myself in fancy things, drinking alcohol, or smoking.

Yolanda Nqodi
I grew up in the Eastern Cape with my grandmother after my mother left me to go to Johannesburg to work. It was difficult for her to put me through school, but I came to Cape Town to study. I failed only Grade 12 when I fell pregnant, but am a hard worker and want to go back to school to continue my studies.