Jabulani Patrick Dhlamini
Jabulani Dhlamini (b. 1983, Warden, Free State) grew up in Soweto, and his photographic work to date reflects this fact. His career in photography began in the streets of the township taking snapshots of the everyday and commonplace.
From his humble beginnings Dhlamini went on to study at the Vaal University of Technology where he attained a National Diploma in photography in 2009. Dhlamini’s brand of documentary photography focuses on the township lifestyle reflecting his experience growing up in Soweto. His portrayals of Black African identity in the townships communicate a sophisticated message of a common heritage and often-turbulent surroundings. Dhlamini’s awareness of what it means to be African is explored through his depiction of ordinary people within their individual environments, in their personal living spaces, set within the place that occupied his childhood. The faithfulness implied in Dhlamini’s images suggest a level of honesty and authenticity that lovingly displays the identities of his subjects. He makes
sure to establish that these identities are founded upon the conditions of their surroundings and the circumstances of their lives. Dhlamini’s first major body of work came with his first solo exhibition titled uMama, held at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery in 2012. uMama was produced under the mentorship of world-renowned World Press Photo alumni Jodi Bieber. As the title uMama implies, the exhibition honors African mothers, documenting the day-today trials that women must face whilst trying to raise their children in the townships. His intimate and pressing portraits dissect the role of women in the context of township life, effectively framing the notion of motherhood in contemporary South African society. Dhlamini extends his inquiry into images of young men, the sons of the single mothers that populate his work. His depiction of these young men is a commentary on his own experience becoming a man without a father figure in his life. In this way, through an immixture of rawness and the urbane, Dhlamini captures the heart of African people living in the township of Soweto.
A catalogue detailing the works and artists included in the third iJusi portfolio, curated by Pieter Hugo.