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"REFORM" |  Depicting a Reformed, Economically Empowered Reality

“reform” I feel strongly about large-scale black economic empowerment – the type to impact a population. I would like to see impact of this kind happen within my lifetime, because I believe my people deserve it. The topic of land reform as well as land expropriation without compensation has been looming over South Africa for quite a while now. Although it’s important not to oversimplify the process and how or when it would lead to immense impact, adequately executed land reform by our government would be multiple steps in the right direction. This photo series is meant to breathe life into the idea of the insurgence of black South Africans into multiple industries in the country, which would come as a long-term result of vast development that would be made possible by land reform to give greater land ownership to black people, giving rise to greater economic empowerment with every subsequent generation. Visually, I’ve chosen to depict a focus on the rise of black people in the corporate industry. Considering land ownership, it’s fitting that this should be accompanied by the black ownership of cattle (along with other livestock) – a reference to how, for centuries, cattle have represented wealth to black people. Much like how a work-place computer desk is obviously out-of-place in the wilderness because it does not belong there, many black people in this country have still not found their way into various industries because up until recently they did not belong in those spaces. I want to see more and more black people in these industries and work environments where they “don’t belong”. Through forms of art, I want to inspire a yearning for a better, reformed reality. In this case, I’ve chosen to do that through photography.

I am Lebo Kekana, a Johannesburg-bred, and now Cape Town based artist. I am in love with the journey that occurs from the conception of ideas right up to their heartfelt execution, regardless of what medium of art that may be through. After working as a creative director and stylist in numerous projects not of my own, it finally felt right to create art which reflected what I wish to capture and share, as well as narratives I feel strongly about.

Credits: Photography and Art direction: Lebo Kekana Models and Styling – Magama Dhlamini and Tshepo Malakoane Assistance – Lesego Papi


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