Of Soul and Joy is a photography learning platform in the township of Thokoza, South Africa, initiated by Rubis Mécénat in 2012.
Since 2011, Rubis Mécénat has thus developed three long-term socio-cultural programs within local communities: by collaborating with local subsidiaries, and by associating with local and international artists, Rubis Mécénat provides young adults with a platform for arts education and life skills development through the practice of the visual arts.
These programs, enriched with scholarships and the organization of cultural events, have the mission of bringing out personal vocations, professional perspectives and new talents.
Of Soul and Joy is a long-lasting social and artistic initiative initiated in 2012 by Rubis Mécénat and Easigas (South African subsidiary of the Rubis group) in Thokoza, a township located southeast of Johannesburg in South Africa, in order to transmit to young people weakened artistic skills in the field of photography. Its objective is to introduce the students of the Buhlebuzile high school to photography as a means of expression, and thus to open up new perspectives, personal and professional.
Both a visual platform and a life skills program, this program offers workshops led by renowned photographers, meetings with players in the art market and participation in artistic events in South Africa and abroad.
Each year, the most promising students receive a scholarship to access a higher education in photography at a university of their choice, including the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg.
Since the beginning of the global health crisis, the 3 socio-cultural programs initiated in South Africa, Madagascar and Jamaica have been stopped. This crisis has had dramatic consequences, particularly in the slums, townships and disadvantaged neighborhoods where the programs are located. Local teams continue to work remotely with the beneficiaries of the programs, including projects to be carried out from home for those with internet access.
Thus the learning platform of photography Of Soul and Joy in the township of Thokoza in South Africa offered students to document their lockdown and environment, to carry out a photo report. The photo material made available for the lessons was loaned to the students.
Discover the series produced by three photographers: Jabulani Dhlamini, project manager, and Thobeka Nzwana and Litha Kanda, students
Biography of Jabulani Dhlamini
Jabulani Dhlamini (born 1983 in Warden, Free State, South Africa) is a South African photographer who lives and works in Johannesburg. Dhlamini graduated in documentary photography from the Market Photo Workshop and won the Edward Ruiz Mentorship in 2011.
His uMama series was exhibited in 2012 at the Market Photo Workshop, then in 2013 at the Goodman Gallery, in Cape Town. In this series, Dhlamini pays tribute to single mothers and explores the pitfalls faced by these women raising their children alone in South African townships. His Recaptured series, exhibited at the Goodman Gallery in 2016, is a project carried out over several years with the community of Sharpeville, around the massacre that occurred in the township in 1960. In 2018, his work was shown during the group exhibition Five Photographers, A Tribute to David Goldblatt at the Gerard Sakoto Gallery at the Alliance Française in Johannesburg, and in 2019 at the Centro Cultural Franco-Mozambicano (Mozambique), National Arts Festival and Durban Art Gallery (South Africa), and at the Rencontres from Bamako (Mali).
Dhlamini’s work places great emphasis on his education as well as his vision of contemporary South Africa. Since 2014, he is an active mentor of Of Soul and Joy and became project manager in 2015. He is represented by the Goodman Gallery.
Watch the video portrait of Jabulani Dhlamini by Alexander Murphy, 2019, ART (ist) series produced by Rubis Mécénat: https://vimeo.com/344565826
Of Soul and Joy
May 18, 2020 to July 18, 2020