South Africa

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

Thabelo (2017)
Thabelo (2017) © 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, running from 9 to 11 November.


45 galleries from 19 countries showcase artists from Africa. Among them, Justice Mukheli from South Africa's Dyman Gallery.

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."

Listen to the interview

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."

Maanda (2017)
Maanda (2017) © Justice Mukheli

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