After winning the South African Mbokodo Award and her appointment as
Honorary Professor at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany,
South African photographer Zanele Muholi (Umlazi, 1972) was awarded a
Dutch Prince Claus Fund Award on the 6th of September.
The award consists of an amount of 25.000 Euros which Muholi has announced she
will use for new equipment.
Muholi, who has worked with ZAM for the past ten years, makes powerful,
personal portraits of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
community in South Africa. Her visual explorations of gender, sexuality
and race courageously confront social conventions and expose the
contradictions between the South African Constitution, government policy
and the country’s daily reality of violent homophobia.
A self-described ‘visual activist’, Muholi uses intimate portraits of
LGBT people to challenge the hate crime violence in South Africa today.
As a lesbian herself, Zanele works closely with the LGBT South African
community and is concerned with the ‘curative rapes’ of black lesbians
in South Africa that have occurred consistently over past decade. She is
particularly vocal about the brutal rape and murder of Duduzile Zozo in
June 2013, who was found with a toilet brush in her vagina. In May
2012, five-years-worth of photographs (and nothing else) were stolen
from Zanele’s home in Cape Town in what was probably an effort to
silence her. Muholi founded the inkanyiso.org collective of lesbian
Zanele Muholi was born in Umlazi, Durban, in 1972, and lives in
Johannesburg. She studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop in
Newtown, Johannesburg and has won multiple awards. Her exhibit /f(o)und
/opened in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 6 September and will run until
22 November. She attended the ZAM Newsroom on 5th September. See for an
interview with her ZAM Chronicle at www.zammagazine.com