This exhibition is part of the Market Photo Workshop’s 30th anniversary celebrations “The Homecoming 30”.
The 2018 Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop, in partnership with the Tierney Family Foundation, was awarded to Market Photo Workshop’s alumnus Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni.
The aim of the Tierney Fellowship is to provide an emerging photographer with the opportunity to develop their career through a mentorship programme, an ideal space for a photographer to develop a body of work.
Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni was mentored by Buyaphi Mdledle.
Ukugrumba, which means to “dig up” in isiXhosa, is a body of work motivated by my family’s trauma as a result of activism in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, liberation and reconciliation effects within present day South Africa. It seeks to exhume experiences of the foot soldiers that sacrificed their youth by fleeing into exile to join the armed struggle for national liberation; including those who stayed in the country to continue the fight against the brutal apartheid regime.
More often than not, those who are hailed as heroes of the struggle are well known political figures. Ukugrumba is a visual representation and narrative of the forgotten people who were affected both mentally and physically by the effects of the armed struggle against apartheid.
Ukugrumba, also, examines haunted places that bear memories of a violent past. The work interrogates conversations of the struggle and details testimonies of untold stories of former liberation soldiers and their families.
The work revisits the past to shed light on the reality of the trauma that apartheid caused. This trauma continues to plague both the old and new generations of South Africans.
The individual stories in Ukugrumba are part of greater narrative of South Africa’s past in relation to the new South Africa of reconciliation.