“Collectively, the portraits are at once a visual statement and an archive,” Muholi explained, “marking, mapping and preserving an often invisible community for posterity.”
In this week’s issue, Charlayne Hunter-Gault examines the disturbingly pervasive occurrence of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in South Africa. Muholi had photographed Dladla already, in fact, as part of “Faces and Phases,” a series of more than two hundred portraits of South Africa’s lesbian community. Here’s a selection of her portraits.
All photographs by Zanele Muholi.
© 2013 Condé Nast. “I’m still traumatized by the burglary,” she told me. Despite being the first country to draft a constitution that explicitly forbids discrimination based on sexuality, “hostility toward ‘difference’ has barely slackened,” she writes, “and crimes against gays, and women, have increased.” One in every two women in the country can expect to be raped at least once in her lifetime.
Such attacks have been the driving force behind the work of South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi, whom we commissioned to photograph Lungile Cleopatra Dladla, a survivor of “corrective” rape and one of the subjects of Hunter-Gault’s piece. All rights reserved
Faces and Phases: Zanele Muholi's Portraits from South Africa's Lesbian Community : The New Yorker
Muholi herself became a victim of a targeted attack last month, when the flat she lives in with her partner was broken into and over twenty of her hard drives were stolen, effectively erasing the last five lesbiansistas
years of work lesbiansistas
that Muholi has been tirelessly building. “It’s hard to fall asleep in this place, which is now a crime scene, as I dealt with many crime scenes before.”
Contributions to help Muholi replace her stolen equipment can be made through this Indiegogo campaign. “In the face of all the challenges our community encounters daily,” Muloli told me, “I embarked on a journey of visual activism to insure that there is black queer visibility.”
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast.
More news, politics, culture, business, and technology:
Your California Privacy Rights