The National Gallery of Zimbabwe will on Thursday open a photographic exhibition titled A Place called Home by documentary photographer and photo journalist Bethule Nkiwani.
The exhibition, a 15-episode photographic documentation relates the story of a widowed mother and her three children who sought shelter in an asbestos and plastic squatter house in the suburb of Mufakose.
Her journey from a house to a squatter is one of a woman who did not give up when she came to a point where she could not sustain herself and her family.
“Photography has become a powerful means of communication and a mode of visual expression that touches human life in many ways. Photos can also be defined as objects of art that explore the human condition and provide aesthetic pleasure, said the gallery communications officer, Rutendo Mutadzapasi.
She said it revealed the reality that the finer things in life were tough to come by and no matter how tough things got life should go on, even if we utilise different materials to put a roof above our heads.
Mutadzapasi said the photographs would describe how after the woman was widowed her sisters-in-law chased her out of the house, claiming possession of their brother’s property thus forcing her to relocate outside the house.
“With no luck in getting proper shelter the rainy weather forced her to vacate to her present shack which she has been living in for almost three years. Having grown up in a house with an abusive stepmother this woman had nowhere to turn to for help”, she said.
“Today all this woman wishes for is a better place to stay, where her children can go to school and have a better life than she has.”
She said the photographs on exhibition gave detail on the living conditions of the family, highlighting the soiled floor and the minimal, rain-damaged furniture. The woman’s life was typical of many who were living under such conditions.
She said the woman survives on farming a small piece of land and she also does laundry for different people.
Her first-born son dropped out of school after failing to get school fees and his sponsors could not support him further.
He is currently working for some businessman while her two younger daughters attend school irregularly.
Nkiwane studied at the National Gallery Visual Art Studio from 2005 to 2006 and has exhibited at the Gwanza Photographic Show for four consecutive years and at the Johannesburg Gallery in 2009.
He later launched his professional art career with an internship at Melville/Northcliff Times in Johannesburg and has stayed in the industry to date.
“As a child he used to make wire cars and could draw very well and his goal is to pursue photography because he wants to capture moments we cannot describe in words thus he also hopes that through his pictures people who are privileged can change a lot by helping people in need and nurture the spirit of giving,” said Mutadzapasi.