The Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers (ZAFP) this week launched its exhibition titled ‘Before and Aftermath’ which captures scenes from before, during and after the recently held elections, while also incorporating elements of daily Zimbabwean life. The exhibition features nine female photographers from the Association – Davina Jogi, Angela Jimu, Annie Mpalume, Nancy Mteki, Kresiah Mukwazhi, Katy Lannas, Lesanne Dunlop, Amanda Mardon and Cynthia Matonhdoze. Privilege Musvanhiri, a male photographer, is also part of the exhibition which fuses photographic documentation with blog posts made by the photographers and other Zimbabwean social commentators.
“The rationale of the project was to look at the elections happening in Zimbabwe as many people’s focus was on the country at that time,” explained Jogi who is the President of ZAFP. “A lot of the election stories are told by international journalists who come in for a week and then leave. We wanted to tell our own stories.”
A diverse exhibition of over 50 photographs and numerous blog posts, ‘Before and Aftermath’ looks at the election season from various lenses, both literal and figurative. Themes including mobile voter registration, election campaigning and voting (in some instances, for the first time), and more, situate the political realities of Zimbabwe from multiple and creative perspectives.
In one of the exhibits, Matonhodze looks at how mass printing of election campaign materials – many of which are still to be cleared away – has compounded the litter situation and asks, “Do these brochures really serve the purpose for which money is invested to design, print package, transport and hand them out?”
“This project was really close to my heart because there is so much that is not told about daily life in Zimbabwe,” stated Jimu who was the project coordinator for the exhibition, and who also serves as the Vice President of ZAFP. “It wasn’t easy, but it was a great learning experience as the other photographers involved taught me a lot.”
As already mentioned, the exhibition also looks at the continuation of ordinary life and living that accompanied the uncertainty of the elections. Mpalume’s look into Mbare life depicts, among other scenes, two men engaged in an intense altercation with political posters stuck onto a wall as their backdrop while Mukwazhi follows the daily chores of three seamstresses to understand their challenges and aspirations. Scenes from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Forum – recently co-hosted by Zimbabwe after the elections – are also shared through Mpalume and Matonhodze’s s work, while Jogi looks at the lives of two game rangers warding off rhino poachers under a full moon as election day draws nearer.
“I’m glad the exhibition went well,” said Matonhodze. “I am also pleased that through ZAFP, we are creating a space for women photographers by women photographers; a space that is accessible to professionals, amateurs and students alike.”
Two of the photographers – namely Mukwazhi and Lannas – were honoured with special prizes for improved work over the course of the project, and commitment to timeous submission of work, respectively.
The exhibition is funded by HIVOS and the Dutch Embassy of Zimbabwe, and will run for two weeks along the walkway within Harare Gardens which leads onto Julius Nyerere Way. Photographs and blog posts can also be accessed here