SPU hosts “Places – in Me” Photovoice Exhibition

Earlier this month, Sol Plaatje University (SPU) hosted the opening night of the poignant “Places – in Me” Photovoice Exhibition, held at SPU’s Multipurpose Community Hall on the South Campus. The exhibition’s primary aim is to enlighten and broaden the understanding of the viewpoints held by the youth in Platfontein concerning South African society, as reflected within their local community.

This exhibition represents the culmination of a collaboration between an international research team, COSMO-ART, and two Platfontein-based NGOs, the Southern African San Development Organisation (SASDO) and San Community Development (SANCD). This joint endeavour stems from a shared desire to collate and bring to light the perspectives that young people in Platfontein hold regarding their place in South African society as seen through their local environment.

Equipped with cameras, the young participants were tasked with documenting various aspects of their local surroundings that they deemed significant, relevant, and interesting. Subsequent interviews, conducted in 2022, provided an opportunity to garner the authors’ viewpoints on their photographs. The exhibition thus presents a dialogue between the photographic imagery and the verbalised expressions of the nine young women and men who participated in the photovoice project.

Dr Cobus Rademeyer, the Acting Head of the School of Humanities, extended a warm welcome to all the guests present and acknowledged the efforts of all relevant stakeholders who collaborated to make this project a resounding success.

Chairperson of the SANCD, Mr Jakob Makoi, then shared his sense of honour to have contributed to this remarkable initiative. “My greatest wish is to see this project benefitting our youth greatly, by seeing them enrolling and graduating from SPU and other institutions,” he added.

Ms Melanie Duval, COSMO-ART Coordinator, discussed the crucial nature of raising awareness and understanding the issues and challenges faced by Platfontein’s youth. She noted the transformative power of the visual narratives on display, capable of reshaping perceptions and deepening comprehension of community issues.

The evening culminated in an array of performances from the Platfontein youth, including a Wokuri Dance display, a collection of the traditional dances performed by the San people during their ceremonies.

Don’t miss the exhibition, which is available to view until 31 August at the SPU Humanities building. The photographs and voices of Platfontein’s youth speak volumes about beauty, suffering, aspirations, disappointments and shifting identities. This visual exploration captures and conveys the individual perspectives of the authors: how they perceive themselves, how they define and relate to the world, and what they regard as important or unique.

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