© Akona Kenqu, from the series Society, 2012

Society is a product of the 2012 Women in Photography Mentorship. The body of work explores the lives and roles of skaters in contemporary South Africa. Seeking spaces of refuge, of expression and of conflict, Kenqu considers the ways in which young black skaters, Skate Society Soweto or SSS in particular, figure their environments and define their belonging. Some of these spaces are made for skaters; many of them are created and appropriated, staking a claim to being and doing as they please. Some of the spaces are personal, already owned, and from the objects and aspects of these spaces a connection is developed to what it means to be a skater and how this meaning is fashioned. Kenqu is interested in challenging the stereotypes of skaters and skate culture, and in figuring the roles of relations, connections and socialisation  of the people who call it their own.

About the Women In Photography Mentorship

The mentorship has been created to afford a woman photographer a grant and mentor’s guidance to produce a body of work, aimed at growing the presence of women photographers in the photography industry. The mentorship is a training program that is uniquely equipped to provide a platform to raise the issues that women face and brings together an advisory group of women to guide and share with the recipient.

Akona Kenqu is the first recipient of the 2012 Women In Photography Mentorship and was mentored by Nadine Hutton.

About Akona Kenqu

Born in Cape Town in 1987, Kenqu began studying at the Market Photo Workshop in 2008, where she completed the Foundation and Intermediate Courses and the Advanced Programme. Akona has published internationally and exhibited locally; her 2010 series from the body of work Tshepisong was published by acclaimed photography journal Camera Austria, and part of her work from the series Kick, Push was shown at the 2011 Joburg Art Fair. Kenqu’s proposed work for the Women In Photography Mentorship extends her interest in skaters and how they identify themselves through skating. Kenqu particularly focuses on skaters from townships in Johannesburg.

Women in Photography Mentorship recipient, Akona Kenqu addressing the crowd during Society exhibition opening.
Audience members analyzing an image displayed at the exhibition.