Nongabulo Revisited: HIV/AIDS Beyond Infancy (Photo Project)
This is a story of then and now. Orphaned & abandoned children communally cared for and their stories recaptured ten years later.
Nongabulo Revisited is a photographic project that started almost eleven years ago when I visited a unique children's village in South Africa, dedicated to caring for orphaned or abandoned babies and children affected by HIV/AIDs. Nongabulo is the name of one of the young girls I was lucky enough to spend time with, and also means happiness in Zulu.
During the three months I spent volunteering at the village, I picked up a camera properly for the first time and dedicated some time to taking photographs of these children using all that I had at the time, an old Canon film camera, which I barely knew how to use.
I wanted to make a difference to their lives in some way, and knew that if others could witness what I saw in them – beauty, cheekiness, love and strength – I could potentially use the images to create awareness for HIV/AIDS.
Upon arriving home, I was able to do this through my first solo photography exhibition at the Blender Gallery in Sydney. Kindly sponsored by EPSON, The Boomerang Project and Apheda, the exhibition featured images of the children and was also used as a fundraising venture with more than $30,000 raised. The funds that were raised were used to buy a bus for the children to help with transporting them to and from school, and for excursions.
Fast forward to 2016 and I have now been working for many years as a professional photographer. My wish is to go back to Rehoboth Children's Village and the surrounding area of Port Shepstone, South Africa, in order to create a ‘then and now’ series of photographs.
Some of the children I photographed during my first visit have reached maturity and now live within the local community. Part of this project will involve locating and re-photographing these young adults. I will return with the original camera I used all those years ago, again using the traditional film format.
At the moment the funding needed is to make this project happen; to help cover my flights, accommodation and ground transport for the three weeks required to locate and re-photograph the children. Other immediate costs for the project include film and processing costs – a big shout out to Indie Film Lab, based in Alabama, who have already said they would cover the cost of scanning 25 rolls of film.
This ‘then and now’ photographic series will capture stories told through the children of an AIDS epidemic, while also being a reflection of time passed. It aims to not only raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, but also give hope to other young people affected by the virus.
Where the funding will go:
If $3000 is reached:
If $3000 goal is reached funds will be used to help cover costs of travel to South Africa, car hire, and food for 2 weeks. This will make the project possible and another kickstarter will be launched to help fund the future exhibition of the photographs on my return. The exhibition will be held as a fundraising venture for Rehoboth, to help them purchase a new bus.
If more than $3000 is reached:
If a 'stretched out' goal is reached and more than the $3000 is obtained this will go towards the end aim of having an exhibition in 2017. This will help cover exhibition expenses of space hire, printing costs, promotion etc. The exhibition will be held as a fundraising opportunity with all profits made from the sale of the photographs going back to Rehoboth. $10,000 will need to be made to make this possible.
Risks and challenges
A possible issue that may come up is trouble locating some of the young adults now living in the community. However, I am hopeful that with my timeline of three weeks and the support of Rehoboth Children’s Village, I will have the necessary time and knowledge to make contact with several of them.
If all fails I am still donating my time and offering my professional photography services to Rehoboth as well as Genesis, a near by AIDS hospice for their own promotional use.
- (20 days)