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09.11.2019 South Africa

South African photographer depicts children's emotions at Paris art fair

By Isabelle Martinetti - RFI
© Justice Mukheli

Justice Mukheli was one of the South African photographers featured at the 4th edition of the Also Known As Africa (AKAA) contemporary art fair in Paris, from 9 - 11 November. 

Justice Mukheli grew up in the township of Soweto, Johannesburg.

After working in advertising as an art director, he became a photographer "by chance", as he told RFI at the AKAA Fair.

"South Africa is predominately black. But when I was working in advertising, photographs were not showing black people the way I see them, from a black person's point of view. "

"When you google South Africa and Soweto, where I come from, you find images that do not truly represent the reality I know, and the reality of now. […] I realised that the biggest struggle now for South African youth is the way we are seen."

In the work presented at the AKAA Fair in Paris, Mukheli shows a series of pictures representing two children named Thabelo and Maanda.

Through the series, Mukheli captures emotions that he was told not to express as a child in the Soweto township in Johannesburg.

"In my upbringing as a kid, I didn't have much options or opportunities to express how I felt about things that made me sad. Crying, being sad or angry, anything that wasn't happiness, emotions that, as boys, we were not allowed to feel."