Unsung Hero: Mantshadi Moralo
Since 1994 August 9th has been commemorated annually as "Women´s Day" in South Africa, being one of many national holidays in SA the importance of this day is often lost.
A little history lesson, compliments of Wikipedia:
On August 09th 1956, 20,000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act lead by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.
The act commonly known as the PASS LAW of 1950, was first introduced in South Africa on the 27 June 1797 by Earl McCartney in an attempt to exclude all natives from the Cape Colony.
In 1923 a Pass Law was introduced to regulate movement of black Africans in white urban areas. Outside of designated "homelands", black South Africans had to carry pass books known as "dom pas" meaning dumb pass at all times, documentation proving they were authorized to live or move in "White" South Africa. These laws also affected other non-white races. Indian people, for example, were barred from the Orange Free State.
The women left bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at the then Prime Minister J.G.Strijdom´s office doors. They stood silently outside for 30 minutes, many with their children on their backs.
The women sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint´AbafaziWathint´imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.).
In the 54 years since, the phrase (or its latestincarnation: "you strike a woman,you strike a rock") has come to represent women´s courage and strength in South Africa.
I had the pleasure of photographing Mantshadi Moralo, a programmes manager at Soweto Red Cross as well as leads volunteers in her community. This was the third instalment in a four part series that ran in the Mail and Gaurdian for Women’sDay. Mantshadi is a modern day Superwoman in her community. The concept for this series came from Carys-Minda Lavarack an intern at Umuzi Photo Club, a hero in her own right who also dedicates her time to programmes that are run in Sophia Town.
When shooting documentary it is very hard to pre-pose people, and it literally comes down to captuing the moment as it happens. Shot on my D800 with a 24-70mm lens, basic raw converting.
Link on the M&G website:http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2012-08-22-unsung-hero-mantshadi-moralo-1The Umuzi Photo website:http://umuziphotoclub.blogspot.com/