HOT SHOTS: Winners of the “Identity Through Hair” photographic competition, were announced last night at the John Moffat auditorium. From left: Junaid Sheik Hussein (public vote winner), Lanice Jegels (second place), Ntokozo Xaba (first place), Realeboga Lebogang Oagile (fifth place) and Lindiwe Gugushe (third place). Photo: Luke Matthews
This year’s tranformation photography competition celebrated diversity and “identity through hair” at Wits University. Winners were announced last night at an exhibition at the John Moffat Building showcasing the best of the photographs submitted by students.
The competition, run by the Wits Transformation Office, was described by Prof Tawana Kupe (Wits deputy vice-chancellor), as “an important occasion that happens every year.”
“A picture shows a thousand words about identity… Art expresses transformation, it also feeds into identities,” he said.
Ntokozo Xaba, 3rd year BSc Urban Regional Planning won the competition with her photograph of a young woman standing on a rooftop in Hillbrow, overlooking the city.
Xaba said because she lives in Hillbrow, she can’t afford the luxury of taking a walk outside for fresh air. “So, I go to the rooftop to unwind and get inspired.”
Lanice Jegels, 3rd year BA Psychology took second place. The subjects in her photograph, all women, were of different races, body shapes and had different hairstyles. “The world informs us on how to express identity … In South Africa we see identity as colour,” she said.
Marcel Kutumela took 3rd place, Lindiwe Gugushe took 4th place and Realeboga Oagile was placed 5th. Junaid Sheik Hussein, 2nd year BSc Civil Eng, won on the public vote via Facebook, for the second year in a row.
The theme, “identity through hair” was selected as people are discriminated against because of their different hair types. Instead, “we should use hair to celebrate diversity,” said Pura Mgolombane, manager of diversity, ethics & social justice at the Transformation Office.
Winning entries will be part of the new exhibition about hair and African art at the Wits Art Museum.
The strange looking structures you may have passed while walking in the John Moffat building are straight from the minds of Wits’ own architecture students.
The Yeoville Studio exhibition is a showcase of the work done by the school of architecture and planning. Dr Claire Benit- Gbaffou, director of the Yeoville studio programme says one of the main themes of the exhibition involves informal trading.
A scale of Rockey and Raleigh Streets
“[It’s about] how it contributes to an integrated society and how it could be better managed and integrated,” she says. Other themes include aspects of living in Yeoville such as buildings and stories about people’s lives.
“[It’s] a place where people meet, fall in love, grow, mobilise and find part of their identity,” says Benit- Gbaffou.
The models on display in the John Moffat building are designed by architecture students. They are designed with Rockey and Raleigh Streets, the main streets in Yeoville in mind. “Some are proposing street vending stalls, adapted to the needs of street traders,” says Benit-Gbaffou.
The school of architecture and planning worked with organisations within the Yeoville community for two years. “About 300 students, from second year to PhD, have been involved in Yeoville research projects.”
A model depicting a "rack shop"
Data collection, interviews, posters and workshops were part of these research projects.
“We thought it was nice also to expose the Wits community to the work we have been doing,” says Benit- Gbaffou. The director says she hopes to do exhibitions in other parts of Johannesburg, “as a great teaching and learning opportunity for students and also as Wits’ contribution to the broader society”.
The exhibition runs until this Friday, February 24.
The architects suggest that this model is a "2-in-1 shop"