We buried our feet in the dark mud of our ancestors. It clung to our heels, crept between our toes and knowingly embraced our flesh as if to assure us that it knew us, as if to make us aware that we were a part of it and it, a part of us. The long grass whispered with the breeze and within its voice we heard them, amdlozi wethu (our ancestors), whispering reminders that asihambi sedwa (we never walk alone), that they are here for us, always holding and protecting us.
On that day we knew that we had to do a tribute to them, that we had to do something to commemorate and celebrate our land. We knew that we had to show amadlozi wethu how far their daughters have come, how we have made sense of our place in between the scars of this land and fought for our space in the shadows of colonialism.
In December of 2016, a group of eight South African women teamed up to bring this commemoration to life. With the help of designer Julia Mkopo and clothing created by the creative team of The Syx, models Duduza Mchunu and Qiniso Van Damme, captured by Kelly Makropoulos and styled by Yonela Makoba and Sihle Sogaula were able to represent this commemoration and show off the sentient being that is the modern day Biko-black woman who makes a claim to her land whilst constantly acknowledging the hardships it has taken for her to exist upon it.
Hair and Designs: @we_love_our_crowns_
Executive Creative Director and Photography: @_kelly_autumn
Clothing: Julia Mkopo and The Syx
Assistant Creative Director and Concept Creator: @qinisovandamme
Executive Assistant: @tabisajoy