Africa Media Online caught up with contributing photographer, Ed Suter on his most memorable Ndebele photo shoot. He tells us of the evolution of the Ndebele style of architecture with the colour, pattern and design one excepts in South Africa.

Ed, over to you.

As a photographer, much of my work revolves shooting images of colour, pattern, and design in South Africa so it was natural that I would be drawn to shooting the patterned homes of the Ndebele in Mpumalanga. It was a trip I had dreamed of making but my research always led to a frustrating lack of information. It wasn’t clear to me how to find the homes I wanted to photograph beyond visiting some cultural villages that had a meagre online presence.

A Roman Catholic Church painted in traditional Ndebele designs, Mthambothini, Mpumalanga province, South Africa, April 2016.

A Roman Catholic Church painted in traditional Ndebele designs, Mthambothini, Mpumalanga province, South Africa, April 2016. ©Ed Suter / Africa Media Online

I began my search in Middelburg, close to the Bothshabelo Cultural Centre, an overgrown collection of brilliantly vivid Ndebele homes with a small shop where I was the only visitor. The epicenter of Ndebele art turned out to be the village of Mthambothini where after a lot of confusing directions from strangers, I arrived at the following day. Arriving early in the morning, I stopped my car at another overgrown but interesting looking building, a Roman Catholic church painted in Ndebele style. Here I met a young man from the village who offered to take me to the home of Esther Mahlangu, an international art world star, known for painting a BMW in Ndebele style.

Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu, at her home, Mpumalanga province, South Africa, April 2016

Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu, at her home, Mpumalanga province, South Africa, April 2016 ©Ed Suter / Africa Media Online

Esther was sitting in the shade of a rondawel, her legs stretched out before her with traditional isigolwana, the Ndebele beaded bracelets, around her ankles and a board on which she was painting on her lap. She was painting with a remarkably steady hand using a chicken feather dipped in natural pigment. She told me about exhibiting at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and an upcoming trip to Los Angeles. On-site she had a gallery and a shop along with bed and breakfast accommodation. I changed my plans immediately and decide to spend the night at Esther’s house.

Mthambothini has many houses decorated by the Ndebele women in styles unique and personal to the painter. The art of painting the bold geometric shapes and iconography on their homes is a tradition handed down by Ndebele women to their daughters. The paintings may represent a rite of passage – a marriage, an initiation – as well tribal allegiance and the individuality of the painter. It’s not uncommon to see images of daily life on the walls – taps, buildings, telephones, and airplanes – icons of aspiration. Esther Mahlangu has made the motif of the razor blade her own signature symbol.

There were other leads I followed and came across a Ndebele painted school or home but nowhere else had such a concentration of patterned homes and even the Ndebele parliament building as Mthambothini. It was worthwhile to visit the Kghodwana cultural village near KwaMhlanga, where a kind security guard allowed me to wander the homes representing the evolution of the Ndebele style of architecture and decoration, despite the fact it was closed on a Sunday.

An example of a traditional Ndebele house in Bothshabelo cultural village, Mpumalanga province, South Africa, April 2016.

An example of a traditional Ndebele house in Bothshabelo cultural village, Mpumalanga province, South Africa, April 2016. ©Ed Suter / Africa Media Online

Here under a perfect blue and cloudy sky, I was able to photograph some beautifully preserved examples of the decoration unique to this part of the world.

About the Photographer: Ed Suter

Africa Media Online contributor photographer, Ed Suter

Ed Suter is a Cape Town based photographer, who focuses his lens on the people and places of South Africa for a number of magazines and private clients. Ed has an extensive catalogue of images of Cape Town and its architecture, images of everyday life and a collection of portraits of South Africa’s fascinating faces.He photographs all over the country, from working with David Beckham in a township to corporate executives in Sandton. South African life as viewed by Ed has an undercurrent of humour and a feeling of fresh discovery. His book of images taken on the city streets of South Africa, “Sharp Sharp” was published by Quivertree Publications and led to exhibitions of his work in Paris, Amsterdam, and Milan.

Find Ed Suter’s images only at Africa Media Online

Buy Nanda Soobben Cartoons
Buy Nanda Soobben cartoons

A cartoon on press freedom by Nanda Soobben created in 1988 and reused in 2010.

“I did this cartoon during the State Of Emergency and then I reused it during the Info Bill debate [in 2010] – Has anything changed in a “Democratic” South Africa !!??”  says cartoonist Nanda Soobben of a Press Freedom cartoon published in 1988 during apartheid. The best of Nanda’s cartoons from the last 30 years have just been digitised and made available for much wider usage.  You can now buy Nanda Soobben cartoons through Africa Media Online.

Nanda Soobben is a South African political cartoonist who “challenges the status quo rather than reflecting it” and a Social Realist Artist who “reflects life as he sees it”.  Nanda was South Africa’s first black political cartoonist during the apartheid years.  He lives in Durban, South Africa and is the founder of the Centre for Fine Art Animation and Design. His work appears in many national papers and around the world. He has received many international awards including an Amnesty International Award for speaking the truth through cartoons in 2007.

In line with Africa Media Online’s vision of enabling Africans to tell Africa’s story to a global audience, we digitised Nanda’s 2 classic cartoon books “The Wizard of HOD and Other Odd Stories”, 1989 and “Witness to a Decade” 2004 so that publishers and image users around the world can now find and buy Nanda Soobben cartoons by licensing them with the relevant rights through Africa Media Online’s picture library.

The Wizard of HOD by Nanda Soobben

Witness to a Decade by Nanda Soobben

 

 

 

 

 

The Wizard of HOD and Other Odd Stories” has become a collector’s items and forms part of the African Library Collection of the Smithsonian Institute Museum.  The cover image is of Amichand Rajbansi who was then head of the Indian House of Delegates (HOD) under apartheid. The day after the cartoon appeared in the The Post, Rajbansi phoned Nanda to congratulate him saying: ‘I loved the cartoon, especially the title.’ Nanda says he “was quite gobsmacked as my interpretation of the wizard was quite derogatory – the wizard of Oz was a real wacko character, but he saw the wizard as being a man of genius!”

“”Witness to a Decade” is Nanda Soobben’s second book of cartoons, published in 2004. It covers the first 10 years of democracy in South Africa from Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. It includes cartoons on the 2 presidents of the period – Mandela and Mbeki and Tutu who featured prominently during that era for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as a mulitude of other social and political topics.

Many of Nanda’s cartoons bring a fresh perspective on a historical event and combined with relevant images can help to capture what was happening at the time.   On the Africa Media Online site we have been creating galleries where images and cartoons combine – allowing Africans to tell the African story even more directly. One such gallery is on the Inauguration of Mandela in 1994.

Nanda Soobben Inauguration Mandela

As with all political cartoons they need to be seen in context of the events of the day.  One needs to know the date, where the cartoon was created, who it was created by and what was happening at the time.  Political cartoons are fantastic source material for people interested in really understanding history.

To find one of Nanda Soobben’s cartoons to license for use in a publishing project, exhibition, broadcast…etc you can search through the options on www.africamediaonline.com or contact us on pictures@africamediaonline.com

Image credits: Guy Stubbs and Giselle Wulfsohn

Buy Nanda Soobben Cartoons

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Jean Pierre Kepseu is a freelance photojournalist based in Yaounde, Cameroon. He has worked with Africa Media Online for many years, building up a collection of stock photography from Central Africa.

Kepseu has also worked with numerous organisations over the years such Le Groupe Jeane Afrique, Afrique Magazine International, Panafrican News Agency (Panapress) and People Magazine. He has done many assignments for “Forbes Africa” magazine and NGOs such as Greenpeace International and GIZ. He has also covered the last two World Cup football events in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014. He works on a variety of subjects including news and features, portrait and reportage.

In 2002 he exhibited at the Goethe Institute in Yaoundé on the history of Cameroonian football since 1923. He won the first prize Fujifilm African Press Awards category sport in 2003. More recently his exhibition entitled ” Regard sur le football Camerounais” was displayed at the French Institute of Yaounde and in major streets of the city.”

Kepseu’s interest in development and justice has led him to establish the “Cameroon Association of Humanitarian Photojournalists.”

kepseu_galleries

Features:
Artiste de la Plage, Mon Idôle, Cameroonian Food, Vaccinations in Cameroon, Cameroon classroom, Transport in Cameroon, Cameroon Life, Danse Koungang and Vendeurs a la sauvette.

Email commissions@africamediaonline.com to commission this photographer.

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Steve Biko would have turned 70 this December.  Only 70?  And he died so long ago.  It brings home again how young he was and how much he achieved in his short life.

Drum Magazine ran a feature on Steve Biko in November 1977 and this picture of Steve Biko was the Drum cover for that month.

africamediaonline_APN63843

This image of Steve Biko is the first in our series of iconic photographs.  Other images of Steve Biko and the Drum coverage of his funeral are available for licensing as stock images in this gallery of Steve Biko pictures.

If you are interested in more of Biko’s story, Time ran an article using some of these images entitled “The Death of Steve Biko 35 years later” that is worth looking at.

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Last month Africa Media Online conducted a survey to gain an understanding of how picture buyers and picture researchers are using Google to find images.  52 people responded to the short list of questions.  29 respondents were from South Africa, 8 from the UK, 7 from the USA, 2 from Germany, 1 from New Zealand and 1 from Denmark and 3 unknown.

78% of the respondents use Google to help them find images for licensing

google_uers

Of this portion 66% use Google Image search (search results displayed as images) – including Reverse image search (when you put an image into google image search)
20% use Google Text search (search results diplayed as text)
14% use both of these options

The results also show that many picture buyers (22%) said that they prefer to go straight to picture libraries

Respondents were asked what search term they would use to find images of Timbuktu, their answers were:

Timbuktu 37
Photos of Timbuktu 9
Images of Timbuktu 7
Pictures of Timbuktu 2
Images of Timbuktu for licensing 7
searchterm

Our sincere thanks to all those who participated in this survey.  If you haven’t, but would still like to, we would love to receive your responses, please go to http://tinyurl.com/zvnxhqo

Image credit: Ariadne van Zandbergen / Africa Imagery / Africa Media Online

 

 

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In response to changes in the industry and our clients requirements we have decided to take some radical steps regarding the pricing of our images.  As of today our new simplified pricing model comes into effect.  We have moved away from the complexities of licensing to enable us to offer clients a simple procedure  for establishing what an image costs.

Images are still sold on a single use, rights managed basis, but broad rights will be given with all licenses.  For example a license for using an image inside a book will now give rights for any size, all languages, all territories and any printrun.

We have also introduced a new license that enables multiple use of an image on various digital platforms – website/blog/social media.

To see the new pricing relevant to your country simply login to www.africamediaonline.com and click on one of the following:
General RM images
Historical images
and click CALCULATE PRICE

All existing price agreements will still be maintained and you have the option of continuing with your current price structure or switching to the new simplified model.  If you have any comments or questions relating to our new simplified licensing or would like the latest price list emailed to you please contact Robyn on pictures@africamediaonline.com

calculatepricenew2

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Africa Media Online was represented at this years CEPIC Congress in Warsaw, Poland. Over 400 representatives from the picture industry in 32 different countries attended. The annual CEPIC Congress is an opportunity to meet with other picture libraries who represent our images in their local markets. Meeting face-to-face once a year makes all the difference to the relationships functioning well and ensures that we provide each partner with the right images. The event also provides an annual opportunity to catch-up with what is happening around the world in this industry. We share ideas of what has worked, look at new ways of doing things in this digital era and evaluate where we need to change.

As a part of the Congress the results were announced of the first CEPIC Stock Photography Awards: http://tinyurl.com/ncywg55

Next year we need some African entries!

CEPIC Congress, Warsaw. Image supplied by CEPIC.

 

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Africa Media Online has an amazing digital asset management system that we have been building over the past 14 years called MEMAT. We use it to store, safeguard and manage the collections we represent to publishing and broadcast markets through africamediaonline.com. What is less known is that we also make the system available to other organisations to manage their own digital collections (images, video, audio and manuscripts). What we have never done before is to create an introductory video to MEMAT to help you understand what it is and why it could help to solve a significant problem most of us face.

If you have photographs – old and new – that should be shared within your company and even across branches, this might just work for you.  It could save you money licensing images if everyone in your company were able to access (search, display, sort and download) the photos from the shoots you have already done.

If you have used africamediaonline.com for your picture needs you already understand the front end of the software – although, if you don’t want to sell use rights you do not need to have that feature included in your system.

To find out more watch the video below,  read more… or send me your questions – rosanne@africamediaonline.com

Kenyan photographer, Felix Masi, just uploaded some intriguing images of the Kimbanguist Orchestra Symphony playing in downtown Kinshasa.  He says that they are self-taught group of classical musicians in Central Africa.  There are over 200 members, many of whom make their own instruments.

Orchestra Symphony Kimbanguist

Orchestra Symphony Kimbanguist: Credit Felix Masi/Africa Media Online

Felix has some other images of the orchestra on the Africa Media Online site.  Lovely images of hope in the DRC.

 

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