Kamogelo Lebotse: The Portfolio

In 2013, I went to Pretoria from Rustenburg to study B.Com law. I was staying in Sunnyside, close to Unisa. I hadn’t been in an environment with so many people before. The number of buildings and the people around me drove my interest in taking photos. 

With an iPhone 5, I started taking photos of buildings from street corners, as well as of guys living off the streets. It was mainly recyclers on the streets, pushing strollers. Back home, you’d see guys living off the streets, but in Pretoria there were so many. 

I’d walk around at night to see what the environment was like. People would say it’s not safe, but I didn’t fear that. I became fond of the place and how safe it was for me. I needed a different perspective on how life is. 

My dad had a camera when I was growing up, so I think that, subconsciously, it was from looking at those photos that my love for the artform developed. I used to draw as a kid at school, so I felt like the quickest way I could still be connected to art was through pictures. 

At a later stage one of my friends started me off with a camera, a Nikon D100, which I still have and shoot with sometimes, just to remind myself of my earlier inspiration. 

When my dad passed away in 2018, I had to leave Pretoria and find a job close to home. Through photography, which gave me a skill of talking to people, I applied for sales jobs in Rustenburg. When I got one, they transferred me to Mahikeng.

My job entails me driving around to see different people because Mahikeng has more than a hundred villages surrounding it. Usually, I take a camera with me, which I use when I find moments to interact with people. 

What I’ve come to notice, within a period of a year, is that most of the income in small towns is dependent on the movement of people and the constant interactions between them. In such places there are people who live hand to mouth and what the pandemic has created is a different social construct, with the street vendors and small business owners closing down and children filling the streets because they have no school to attend.  

Documenting Lockdown is a series of images portraying the impact of sudden change and the effects that it has on society. Often change presents itself and the people have to adapt to it and keep their energy  positive with each waking day, working towards stabilising their lives and progressing towards their desired outcome, despite any circumstances they are going through. 

Follow  Kgosi Isaac kamogelo Lebotse on Instagram 

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.

Related stories

The high road is in harm reduction

While the restriction of movement curtailed the health services for people who use drugs in some parts of the world, it propelled other countries into finding innovative ways to continue services, a new report reveals

South Africa must revisit and refresh its idea of itself

Covid has propelled citizens into feelings of a new shared identity in which the historical force of ‘whiteness’ is fading into irrelevance

How to escape the ‘era of pandemics’

Any of 850 000 viruses could cause the next global crisis. Experts say we should focus on prevention

Air pollution link in 15% of global Covid-19 deaths

Researchers have found that, because ambient fine particulate air pollution aggravates comorbidities, it could play a factor in coronavirus fatalities

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

Wheeling and dealing for a Covid-19 vaccine

A Covid-19 jab could cost hundreds of rands. Or not. It’s anyone’s guess. Could another pandemic almost a century ago hold clues for handling the coronavirus today?

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Joe Biden’s debate guests run the only Zimbabwean restaurant in...

A Zimbabwean restaurant feeding people in need formed an unlikely addition to Joe Biden’s election campaign

The high road is in harm reduction

While the restriction of movement curtailed the health services for people who use drugs in some parts of the world, it propelled other countries into finding innovative ways to continue services, a new report reveals

Khaya Sithole: Tsakani Maluleke’s example – and challenge

Shattering the glass ceiling is not enough, the new auditor general must make ‘live’ audits the norm here in SA

State’s wage freeze sparks apoplexy

Public sector unions have cried foul over the government’s plan to freeze wages for three years and have vowed to fight back.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday