Indlela ibomvu – An exhibition by Lusanda Ndita, the 13th recipient of the Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop

Saturday, 30 April 2022
11am – 3pm
The Photo Workshop Gallery

The title of the work Indlela ibomvu is borrowed from a Nguni idiom. The idiom speaks to the notion of a path or road ready to be travelled on. Indlela ibomvu is a meditation on the journeys that took my grandfather and many of my male elders disappearing into its horizons; namely to the cities for work. The springboard of my work is the now matured curiosity of being raised by a single mother.  

My domestic archives in the form of photo albums, identity documents and oral history became the refuge for looking at the development of my own manhood in the “absence” of men in my family and life. I came across my grandfather’s apartheid issued dompass. This identity document is my only visual reference that exists of my grandfather. This experience triggered more research into imaging the absence and the voids created by these mysterious men related to me. 

What meaning does a domestic archive carry? Indlela ibomvu challenges the notion of ‘absence’ of men in my life. It is a visual space where I am reminded of the present men I have encountered and who have contributed positively in my upbringing and my path – the uncles, the soccer coaches, neighbours and father’s friends who supported me and assisted in clearing obstacles on my journey of life.