The Portfolio: Andile Buka

 

 

It’s a Sunday afternoon, April 24 2016, when I meet FAKA, the Johannesburg-based duo founded by Desire and Fela Gucci.

We have only ever been in contact via email. I had emailed them one day, after seeing their work online, and wanted to know if I could photograph them. In the exchanges, which by then had been going on for at least a month, I had gushed over their work and they mine. But, I await them anxiously.

They finally arrive and the ice is broken as we talk about a few ideas I have in mind, which is to do editorial/portraits in a setting that is predominantly a “male space”.

With FAKA challenging society’s ideas about gender and homosexuality, I wanted a setting that was contradictory, but also scenic.

“I envision shooting the portraits in the men’s hostel,” I explain to them.


They take to the idea immediately and we set a date for the shoot.

On May 6, we meet in Gandhi Square. The weather is warm and sunny. We take taxis to Maponya Mall and head straight to Nancefield Hostel, which is the first location for the day.

Passing by in a taxi to visit my grandmother’s place eZola, I have often seen people outside playing music and braaing meat. I’ve always wondered what it must be like inside.

On our way to the shoot, we wonder if everything is going to go well, especially since hostel residents are always portrayed as violent and unwelcoming to outsiders. But, to our surprise, the people are chilled and welcoming. An elderly man gives us the go-ahead to shoot.

What’s really interesting to me in this photo, is the old Mazda van in the background, the bootlegged pants, the chain, polo neck, the fur coat, Desire’s nails and hands. The colour of the nail polish is burgundy, if I recall. I chose this image because it is multilayered; it feels like everything is stacked up on top of one another.

The next morning I take my films to the processing lab in Morningside. Walking to Noord taxi rank, I carry the films from the shoot as if they are important lab samples to be used for scientific research. That’s the feeling I get after a shoot, the idea that, when I’m holding film, those are the actual images.

It’s still quite a surreal feeling to me.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Andile Buka
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Medical aids blame external costs as fees increase beyond inflation

Medical aid is becoming more of a luxury for many South Africans, and it’s not about to get any better

No mercy for teachers who are found guilty of misconduct

New regulations give direction on what sanctions should be imposed on disgraceful teachers, including lifetime bans for serious offences

More top stories

Freedom Under Law sends letter of demand to JSC on...

The letter follows the commission’s insistence that the embattled Western Cape judge president will partake in this week’s interviews of candidates

Diko to challenge step-aside ruling

Khusela Diko’s lawyers say she has appealed an instruction to step down from her position on the ANC provincial executive committee after a finding that she brought the party into disrepute

Zuma’s legal team withdraws in wake of appeal court’s ruling...

Eric Mabuza notified the high court and NPA of his decision just weeks before the former president goes on trial for corruption

JSC will deliberate Hlophe’s fate on June 4

The Judicial Service Commission said in a letter to the Cape Bar that the judge president would participate in interviews of aspirant judges in his division
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…