All posts tagged: Africa

Patrick Willocq went from corporate multinationals to the DR Congo to photograph the land of his childhood

As a child, Patrick Willocq spent seven years in the Democratic Republic of Congo; with a camera given to him by his father, he recorded the people and places he encountered. In 2009, 27 years after leaving, he returned, and the trip proved a revelation. “I totally reconnected with myself,” he says. “My passion for photography revealed itself stronger than ever. This helped me face the fact that I was fundamentally not happy with my life.” Willocq had been working for corporate multinationals in Asia for nearly two decades, but he abandoned his successful career to resettle in DR Congo. “I feel at home in the remote villages among the locals,” he says. “I have always been struck by the beauty, simplicity and dignity of daily life there. I want to go beyond the images that stigmatise the nation; for instance, I wish to bear witness to the peace that prevails in the Western part of the country.” His first series, On the road from Bikoro to Bokonda, bears testimony to the everyday challenges faced by the Batwa …

2015-09-07T11:10:50+00:00

The Manchester town hall meeting that shaped Africa: remembering the Fifth Pan-African Congress

In October 1945, as European powers have retreated within themselves, decimated, disfigured and shellshocked by the tide of death that had swept over the continent for the last six years, 87 delegates representing 50 organisations met in a town hall in Manchester. They came together for the Fifth Pan-African Congress, all with a singular, righteous purpose: the liberation of hundreds of millions of Africans living under colonial rule. Seventy years have passed since the Fifth Pan-African Congress, an event which, in hindsight, was one of the most significant happenings of African organisation ever to have occurred in Britain, perhaps the world. To commemorate, Autograph ABP are, for the first time, exhibiting photographs taken at the event.  The exhibition features over thirty photographs, a selection of rare ephemera and materials associated with the Congress and will be accompanied by a Pan-African Film Lounge, screening a programme of films exploring Pan-African history. “It’s an interesting chapter in history in many ways,” says Mark Sealy, director of Autograph ABP. “It’s significant in terms of who was there and why they were there — Jomo …

2015-09-09T10:59:16+00:00

Codes of living for a black man in township South Africa

“He’s a a typical black gangster,” Sipho Gongxeka says. “Rings, cigarette, dark-skinned, and with a dope-ass suit.” Sipho breaks into peels of laughter. The 24-year-old South African, who grew up on a Soweto township, is describing an image from his series Skeem’ Saka of a black man – his friend, it turns out – with bleached hair and a dapper double-breasted suit, smoke curling from his fingers, a separate chunk of precious metal on each. Gongxeka, a former making-it footballer for South Africa’s lower leagues, identifies himself as a ‘fashion-documentary’ photographer. For motivation, he does not look much further than the streets of Soweto. Gongxeka’s photographs are meditations, he says, on the “circular relationship” between the reality of black male life in township South Africa, mediated images of black culture (and how often they are associated with remorseless violence) and the insinuations of clothes. “A certain dress code does not necessarily accompany a certain mode of behaviour or personality,” he says. Skeem’ Saka loosely translates as ‘Homeboys in the Township,’ an attempt, Gongxeka says, to capture relationships that go beyond friendship.  His …

2015-08-24T12:18:57+00:00

BJP Staff