Ba re e ne re was proud to co-facilitate a photography and creative writing workshop for young women in partnership with South African queer media and activism organization Inkanyiso. The workshop, called Fundisanani/Rutanang, was held from 28 January through 1 February 2019.
Together with Sir Prof. Zanele Muholi and their team, Rutanang gives participants a platform to talk about their lives, society, and environment in which they live while producing their own images and capturing their daily-lived realities. Participants are given a platform to self-express, while gaining practical media skills including photography, videography and writing.
The aim of this special Lesotho edition of the Rutanang project was to produce a body of work covering photography, poetry and documentary work revolving around issues of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and vulnerable groups. Coined #GBV365, this project seeks to bring attention that GBV happens daily and many of the stories are silenced due to cultural constraints, financial dependence and lack of support from law enforcement institutions. It is our view that combining visual media with creative writing such as poetry strengthens the message we intend to convey to the greater publics. Poetry is one of the most popular mediums as far as the literary arts are concerned here in Lesotho, also, visuals are a wonderful supplement for written text because they engage audiences through what they see. A combination with poetry means we will create a full sensory experience that incorporates feeling through more than just touch. This skills-sharing project will not only provide local creatives with technical know-how, the spill-over effects include empowering participants to be self-sufficient and attentive to their surroundings, while also gaining the confidence to control the narrative through creative outlets.
This experience part of Inkanyiso’s Photo Experience Project (Photo XP) with objectives to continuously promote and support the self-production of visual works that will trace, document, and preserve black, female, herstorical existences within rural and urban social and cultural landscapes. The project functions as a mobile visual literacy initiative, to increase women’s participation in photography and writing, with the aim of a new archive creation allowing them to learn about history and rewrite their own lives. Fundisanani also imparts skills that participants can use to earn a living and be self-sufficient. Some of the co-facilitators of Fundisanani, are themselves beneficiaries of Photo XP, having participated in the 2015 and 2016 mentorship training. The project is clear in its intentions of morphing mentees into mentors, thus creating a cycle of skills distribution, collaboration, exhibitions and knowledge sharing.