Migrants Of The City is a body of work that will look at the ever-migrating city of Johannesburg.
This year (2016) marks 130 years since the establishment of the city of Johannesburg in 1886, the gold rush of 1886. Since then the city has seen an ever-growing migration of various populations from all over Africa. This has been mainly because of people seeking ‘a better life’ or ways of making income.
Besides the major gold industry that has made the city and the economy of the country what it today. There have been numerous industries that have been established as a direct result of the mining industry. Many corporations have flushed and have built Johannesburg to be a well reputable metropolis.
Fast-forward to the post-apartheid South Africa, this relatively young city has now been a banded by most major corporations that made it be. Throughout the city there are now vacant buildings, which were once major hotels, and banking institutions of the country.
One of the major moves was that of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), which has the financial heart of the city. This rapidly changed the vocabulary of the city, from a once rich clean metropolis. “The city was a great place to be in”, that was my father me all these stories of how the city used to look like before all these foreigners came here.
For me this was very confusing because the city of Joburg has always seen an influx of migrants from all over the world. What was apparent to me though was the current situation the city in; the stench in its streets cannot be overlooked from its heavily littered corners, overturned rubbish bins, and looted building. In a city so young, how can this be?
I can go through the list of political conversations of how our beloved city came to be like this. When I’m taking a walk, I cannot dispute what I see. And what I see is this ‘capitalist segregation’ happening between the progressively abandoned Johannesburg and the new (capital) Sandton City.
Sandton City is the new financial heart of Gauteng, where the major corporations and the JSE that were once in Johannesburg. This is the new city that is now replacing what Joburg was, with an added capitalist incentive. The city of Sandton is a place where the majority of the population (blacks) cannot house themselves or even afford lunch when they even work there.
Migrants Of The City will not be a solution of the capitalist movement of Sandton City. It will solely focus on Johannesburg as a migrant city, how it has been shaped by this migration regardless of the current situation its in. Its aim it’s not to problematize how this seemingly invisible force that is abandoning the city. Or to either disprove the major creation of the new city.
In this project I am looking at archival images of Johannesburg at the Museum Of Africa, photographed by unknown photographers. The vision of how the city once was, the amazing stories that my father told me about. Illustrated as one, meaning I will be photographing these found archival images and superimposing them with images of how the same frame looks like today.
Technically the photography process will be double exposure, using colour film photography on a 35mm camera. The process will involve photographing an old image of a particular part of Johannesburg and then photographing that very same place. The old images will be in black and white and the images I’ll be photographing will be in colour as the contrasting past and future merge.
Nkosinathi Khumalo (b. 1991) is a South African born contemporary photographer from Soweto, Gauteng. He completed his Advanced Programme in Photography at the Market Photo Workshop in 2015.
Nkosi uses the relation between the photographic process and the resulting image to speak about the contemporary landscape of South Africa. His work speaks about migration, black industry and displacement of the African diaspora.
In late 2014, he was the first-prizewinner of the ‘Transformation Art Project’ hosted by Mashumi Arts Projects, together with German Engineering company based in South African called Reinhausen SA, which funded the competition.
He has also been featured in various group exhibitions such as, the June 16 VIP Youth Fest exhibition (2015) hosted by Live Mag curated by Kalashnikovv Gallery, the New Voices IV (2015) at Loizamore And Associates and the Sa Taxi Foundation Art Award Exhibition. In late 2015 he was commissioned by world-renowned Italian crane company Fassi Group for their 2016 calendar. He is currently on of the top 6 finalists for the SA Taxi Foundation Awards (2016) showcased at Lizamore and Associates gallery. His latest exhibition titled: “What Does It Mean?” (2016), was a duo-exhibition showcased at Goethe On Main in partnership with the Goethe Institute Johannesburg.