Mandla Mnyakama chooses to focus his photography primarily on the untold stories of South African township life and the people like himself who grew up and continue to live there. Describing himself as a 'social documentarian', he is one of the stars of Iliso Labantu - The Eye of the people - a not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide training and opportunities for individuals to use photography as a way of documenting their lives, and those of the communities around them, and to be able to make sustainable careers for themselves as photographers.
Mandla currently lives in Nyanga, a large township in Cape Town. He has been working as a photographer for the past ten years. He is regularly commissioned by leading South African newspapers, including the Daily Dispatch, The sowetan, City press and magazines such as bona, Drum and The big Issue. HisÂ images are available as prints through a small selection of Cape Town galleries and shops, but primarily through Iliso Labantu.
Selected Exhibitions & Projects
City press and magazines such as
The big Issue.
HisÂ images are available as prints through a small selection of Cape Town galleries and shops, but primarily through Iliso Labantu.
Iliso Labantu is an informal cooperative of township based photographers who have been working together since 2005. The organisation aims to educate young photographers and to promote photography as a viable career option for previously disadvantaged individuals. Through a program of regular weekend workshops, the group has extensively documented daily life in many of the predominantly Xhosa communities in the Cape Town area. The resulting images have been exhibited in those same communities and to a wider national and international audience.
One of the greatest strengths of the approach that the Iliso Labantu photographers have taken is to record some of the realities of daily life in the townships and to show those photographs to many people who are either unable or unwilling to witness life there for themselves. The Iliso Labantu photo Group is looking to publish a collection of their work in the near future.