City life around Africa through the lens

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From Left: Abraham Oghobase's Jam, Calvin Dondo's New German Families, and Michael Tsegaye's Future Memories. Photos/Morgan Mbabazi

From Left: Abraham Oghobase's Jam, Calvin Dondo's New German Families, and Michael Tsegaye's Future Memories. Photos/Morgan Mbabazi 


Posted  Friday, January 10   2014 at  14:10

In Summary

  • Bamuturaki Musinguzi reviewed an exhibition by photographers from DRC, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Six African photographers recently held an exhibition in Uganda on images dealing with social issues.

The exhibition, titled Witness/Témoin, was by Sammy Baloji (DR Congo), Calvin Dondo (Zimbabwe), Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa), Abraham Onoriode Oghobase (Nigeria), Monique Pelser (South Africa) and Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia).

It was a collaboration between the Ugandan German Cultural Society and Makerere Art Gallery/Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration.



Oghobase’s topic and inspiration was Lagos, a densely populated and dynamic city.

He explores the way people live in the overpopulated and expensive city.

“The social, political and economic situation of society plays a pivotal role in my work. I am interested in using photography to explore the way people live and how they are affected by the different systems that exist, and how conditions evolve to meet or take advantage of certain needs. For example, in the series Jam I explore how rural-urban drift, among other things, has led to inflated rents in Lagos and congested living spaces,” said Oghobase said.

“My exploration of identity through self-portraiture in Nigeria and abroad, is often a reflection of how I am perceived as a photographer, an artist, a black male, a Nigerian, which in turn is based on social and cultural points of view that have their roots in history,” he said.

Oghobase, who was born in 1979 in Lagos, lives and works in Nigeria’s commercial capital. His photography has been exhibited in Nigeria and across Africa and Europe.


The series Country Girls 2003-2009, is an intimate portrait of gay life in the countryside of South Africa.

Mlangeni took the photographs in small towns and rural areas in the Mpumalanga province, a region where the main economic activities are mining, agriculture and forestry.
Mlangeni grew up in the area and is familiar with the local communities.

His black and white portraits show scenes of fashion and glamour as well as everyday life. The photographs reflect a trusting relationship between the photographer and the subjects.

“My work challenges a viewer, like in this body of work Country Girls. In our society, we are taught that a man should present himself in a certain way, seeing a man in a dress shifts the way we think and are taught to think. It is political and confronts issues of homophobia,” said Mlangeni.

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