Volume 44 Exhibition

Volume 44 opens Wednesday 21 May 2014 at 18h00
The Photo Workshop Gallery
22 May – 27 June 2014

Volume 44 is a body of work that was produced during a yearlong participatory workshop project with migrant sex workers living in inner city Johannesburg and Musina. Volume 44 is informed by the project Working the City conducted in 2010 – a project that worked specifically with migrant women sex workers that lived and worked in urban spaces in South Africa. Through a participatory photography methodology, this project aims to document the under-represented voices and experiences of South African and foreign-born individuals engaged in the sex industry in South Africa.

The exhibition will feature the photographs along with captions and narrative stories of 19 participants as well as showcase the complex aspects of the participatory process, training and journal writing. The photographs and narratives provide insight into the stories of the participant’s lives, dreams, fears and experiences.

The exhibition also highlights the complexity of the project by featuring aspects of the multimodal visual and narrative approaches, such as mapping, narrative writing, storytelling and group image review/critique that were central to the participatory workshop process. These approaches supported not only the production of powerful stories by a group of individuals who are both under-represented and highly marginalized, but provided the participants, including the research team, an opportunity to reflect on their lives and the world around them.

Volume 44 is a collaborative project by African Centre for Migration Studies (ACMS) at Wits University, Sisonke Sex Worker Movement, and Market Photo Workshop.

Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Open Society Initiative made this project possible for Southern Africa (OSISA).

About Sisonke Sex Worker Movement
Sisonke Sex Worker Movement is a national movement for sex workers run by sex workers for sex workers across South Africa that was launched in 2003.  The movement aims to unite sex workers, improve living and working conditions, and advocates for equal rights for sex workers. Sisonke is also a member of the African Sex Worker Alliance (ASWA) that unites sex workers from all over Africa. We now have Sisonke members in 7 provinces. For more information go to: www.sweat.org.za or www.africansexworkeralliance.org.

Contact information:
Pamela Chakuvinga
Sisonke deputy
National coordinator/ ASWA deputy- country coordinator
pamelac@sweat.org.za and/or pams.chakuvinga@gmail.com


About African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS)
ACMS, formerly known as the Forced Migrations Studies Programme- is based at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The ACMS is an independent, interdisciplinary and internationally engaged Africa-based centre of excellence for research and teaching that shapes global discourse on human mobility, development, and social transformation.  Through research, teaching and outreach ACMS is a regional leader for migration on the continent, with partnerships around the world.  For more information go to: www.migration.org.za.

Contact information:
Elsa Oliveira
Project Coordinator/PhD Student

Dr. Jo Vearey
Senior Researcher


To download the publication click below:

Volume 44 – A participatory photography project with migrant men, women and transgender sex workers in Johannesburg and Musina.

For further information on the Volume 44 exhibition, please contact Lekgetho Makola at lekgethom@marketphotoworkshop.co.za or +27 (0) 11 834 1444.

A migrant selling charcoal. ©Primrose
The other place of the place I came from or the love of the home away from home. ©Modise
This is a building where sex workers used to attend to their clients. This is where I started to do sex work when I first arrived in Johannesburg. The building has since been closed by the Metro Police but only after loosing some of my friends. ©Chantel
Self Portrait, they are happily in love. ©Babymez
Self Portrait, I started sex work in 2004 and through my years as a sex worker i have experienced many difficulties and challenges like being discriminated by co-workers, being abused by clients and witnessing colleagues getting killed. ©Skara
They moved from different places, She went looking for a flat at Rosebell, They stayed there for something like five years, Then the place was renovated and they moved from Chelsea Court, Chelsea is a nice building and is cheap. ©Kefiloe
Today I am a breadwinner and I maintain myself and five others at home. I am also a Human Rights Activist and also a member of the Voice of the Voiceless People. ©Buella
I am a lady who is 23 years old and have 2 children with no father so i have to look after them and my mother and it is me who can put food on the table so I have to look for a job. ©Andile