With a camera in hand, we set off in search of women… any kind of women:
Beautiful, ugly, tired, refreshed, tall, short, skinny, fat, employed, unemployed etc.
Any type of woman was the task at hand. At first we struggled with this because it was quite a broad concept. Finally we decided to explore women in the Townships of Cape Town where we knew we could find a range of different women who we thought would be opened to the whole idea.
The first women we met were selling sweets, fruit and vegetables outside. The windy weather is terrible in the winter of Cape Town and just to confirm, it was indeed one of those days where the sales ladies had put their umbrellas aside to brave the cold.
After a greeting and having a brief conversation, we asked the two women if we could take a picture of them. The first thing they asked was weather we were from the Daily Sun or if we worked for the government. We giggled at this unaware that they were not the last ones who would think this of us.
Once we explained what our intentions were and how we were neither from the Daily Sun nor the government, they were happy to let us freeze moments of their lives and walk away with them.
That is truly how it felt throughout the day as we met other women we took interest in. We found that they all felt that they had stories to tell us about their current living situations.
The women at the day-care were particularly direct about how they felt about people who had cameras. They told us that they needed funding from the government and that they provided everything in the day-care centre themselves, which left them with very little profit. One of them even refused to take a photo without compensation, as she truly believed that we would be gaining a great deal of profit from her photograph overseas and she would gain nothing.
As South Africans ourselves, we have never been a fan of telling a story of the less privileged in order to gain something, and fortunately for these women that concept was far from our intentions.
We explained that we were not there to boast about their poverty nor there to create a solution, but instead we were there to celebrate the women who were doing it for themselves instead of waiting for plan.
Most of these strong women did not even acknowledge their strength anymore because for them it was not even a matter of making a plan but rather a matter of having to survive and having people that need to survive depend on them.
This week started with us celebrating women, merely because it is womens month. We’ve mostly looked into the lives of ‘celebrities’; people who have already been celebrated. Today we’ve chosen to celebrate those that don’t get celebrated:
To all the women out there,
ZuZaNation commends your strength: Happy Women’s’ Month!