Ho tshepa ntshepedi ya bontshepe

An exhibition by 2017 Tierney Fellow Tshepiso Mazibuko


17 October 2018
The Photo Workshop Gallery

The 2017 Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop, in partnership with the Tierney Family Foundation, was awarded to Market Photo Workshop’s alumnus Tshepiso Mazibuko. The aim of the Tierney Fellowship is to provide an emerging photographer with the opportunity to develop their career and skills through a mentorship programme, an ideal space for a photographer to develop a body of work.

Mazibuko was mentored by John Fleetwood.

Concept Text

Tshepiso Mazibuko’s Ho tshepa ntshepedi ya bontshepe looks at the political designation of “bornfree” on black youth born after 1994 in South Africa. The title of this body of work, ‘Ho tshepa ntshepedi ya bontshepe ’, is a Sesotho proverb meaning to expect something that will never happen.  Mazibuko reads this proverb in the paradox of the term “bornfree”, as an illusion that places youth born after 1994 in a position of temporal “freedom”. However, due to the structural remnants of apartheid this freedom has not been fully realised for all. This is further complicated by cross-generational desires and hopes that meet through political and familial expectations on “bornfrees”. Mazibuko uses this designation as a prompt to turn her camera inwards to think about individual self-positioning, and to uncover her particular position in relation to her community within current societal constructs. She writes:

“This is a project of understanding people’s wounds, and mine. Of being empathetic. The intimacy that is present when photographing comes perhaps from sharing wounds that are similar to each other.  We were covering representations of how deep the wound really is. It’s a journey of me looking for myself or finding pieces of myself in all the people photographed and their experiences.”

About Tshepiso Mazibuko

Tshepiso Mazibuko was born in Thokoza, South Africa in 1995. Mazibuko uses the medium of photography to add commentary on politics, society, landscape and history. Mazibuko completed her studies in photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg in 2016. She has exhibited her work at Ithuba Art Gallery in Johannesburg, The Ghent Photo Festival in Belgium, The Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Warren Editions in Cape Town, the Art Africa Fair in Cape Town, as well as the Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia. She lives and works in Thokoza.

About the mentor: John Fleetwood

John Fleetwood is the director of Photo: a platform that develops, curates and produces photography and photography education projects, working especially with photographers from the African continent and South Africa. From 2002-2015 Fleetwood directed the Market Photo Workshop.

Fleetwood curated Cities and Memory as part of the Photo Biennale in Denmark (2016), he co-curated Against Time, The Tierney Fellowship in South Africa for the 10th Edition of the Bamako Encounters (2015), and A Return to Elsewhere, a collaborative photography project between Kalpesh Lathigra (UK) and Thabiso Sekgala (SA) for the Brighton Photo Biennale, Joburg Photo Umbrella (2014).

Fleetwood works in close association with the Centres of Learning for Photography in Africa. He is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

About The Tierney Fellowship

About The Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop The Tierney Fellowship was created in 2003 by The Tierney Family Foundation to support emerging artists in the field of photography. The primary goal of the Fellowship is to find aspiring artists who will be tomorrow’s leaders and to assist them in overcoming challenges that photographers face at the start of their careers.

Tracy Edser, the first recipient of The Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop, exhibited her body of work in a solo exhibition, Amelioration. Mikhael Subotzky mentored Edser. Simangele Kalisa, the second recipient, exhibited her body of work at a Joint Tierney Exhibition at the Substation Gallery, Wits University, with fellows Monique Pelser and Ariane Questiaux. Jo Ractliffe mentored Kalisa. Thabiso Sekgala (1981-2014), the third recipient, exhibited a body of work entitled Homeland at The Photo Workshop Gallery in April 2011. Mikhael Subotzky also mentored Sekgala. Mack Magagane, the fourth recipient, exhibited his work called …in this city, a reflection of Johannesburg city by night. The exhibition opened in April 2013 at The Photo Workshop Gallery. Jo Ractliffe also mentored Mack Magagane. Lebohang Kganye, the fifth recipient, exhibited her work Ke lefa laka, a research into her family history using family photographs, testimonies from family members as well as personal narratives. Nontobeko Ntombela and Mary Sibande mentored Kganye. Sipho Gongxeka was the sixth recipient. He was mentored by the renowned South African photographer Pieter Hugo. Gongxeka’s exhibition, Skeem’ Saka, opened at The Photo Workshop Gallery in July 2014. Skeem’ Saka aims to create a dialogue with the audience on issues relating to masculinity; how men view themselves and the perception society has on the male figure. Matt Kay was the seventh recipient of the Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop. Kay was mentored by Market Photo Workshop founder and renowned South African photographer David Goldblatt. His exhibition The Front opened at The Photo Workshop Gallery in March 2015. The Front is an investigation, a revealing, of space. It documents the people who use the Durban beachfront. It seeks to record the rapidly changing nature of the promenade by placing a marker as to what the space is now at this point in time. Tsepo Gumbi was the eighth recipient of the Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop and was mentored by Graeme Williams. Re-Imagining Sharpeville opened at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery in August 2015 and was a visual investigation of contemporary Sharpeville, seeking to explore themes and subjects that are overshadowed by historic Sharpeville.

See http://www.tierneyfellowship.org/ for more information

About the Market Photo Workshop

For over twenty-seven years, the Market Photo Workshop has played a pivotal role in the training of South Africa’s photographers, ensuring that visual literacy reaches neglected and marginalized parts of our society. World-renowned photographer, David Goldblatt contributed vastly to the establishment of Market Photo Workshop in 1988 – 1999. Since then, the Photo Workshop has been an agent of change and representation, informing photographers, visual artists, educators, students and broader communities of trends, issues, and debates in photography and visual culture.

The Market Photo Workshop also runs a number of Public Programmes, which are a series of events involving and directed at professional photographers, visual artists, educators, students as well as the broader public. These Public Programmes seek to inform the trends, practices, methods, and contemporary ways of working and thinking in South African photography practice through exposure to a broad understanding of visual culture as well as a networking platform that encourages critical thinking and engagements.

Showcasing a number of high profile local and international photographers, as well as student and alumni photography work, the Market Photo Workshop has been able to build a strong and consistent audience base around our gallery, ‘The Photo Workshop Gallery’ in Newtown, which is on the same premises as the school. Since 2005, when the gallery was initially launched, the kind of platform it has engendered encourages not only emerging students to experience and enter into professional practice, but has distilled a new type of photographic practice amongst the greater artistic community. Various critical discourses, especially around the role documentary photography, have been stimulated by the multitude of exhibitions that have shown at The Photo Workshop Gallery creating dynamic interactions between students and the greater photography community. In 2017, Market Photo Workshop relocated to its new state of art photography facility at Market Square premises by the Mary Fitzgerald Square.

For more information, please contact:

Bekie Ntini
Coordinator: Mentorships and Training
T +27 (0) 11 834 1444
E-mail: bekien@marketphotoworkshop.co.za

Market Photo Workshop
c/o Market Square
138 Lilian Ngoyi St
Entrance at Margaret Macingana Street


The Market Photo Workshop is a division of The Market Theatre Foundation.