Words by Lumumba Mthembu

Lindokuhle Ndlovu documents peri-urban and rural areas such as Estcourt (eMtshezi), to the inner city of Durban, and life of KwaMashu township, although his reach goes beyond. His images present a dream-life of spaces historically drenched in violence: a result of aparthied’s Group Areas Act and segregation laws. Ndlovu’s images court a romance with real life, while peeking inside the thin shroud that covers the socio-economic landscape of the KZN province, post-apartheid. 

Even the briefest perusal of the images which comprise Ndlovu’s work leaves the viewer with a feeling of heaviness, which is attributable to the yoke of poverty under which the majority of Black people continue to labour in the villages and townships of South Africa in 2022.

Ndlovu’s photographs evoke vivid memories of the pastimes which used to occupy us as township kids of the 1990s. The young boy driving his wire bus during sunset on a Sunday eSgodini, is one such image. Belied by the simple caption, a complicated story tumbles out of this visual. We used to make our own wire cars a quarter of a century ago, 600km away from Estcourt in the unpaved streets of Diepkloof. We strived for driveability in our engineering, to compensate for a lack of store-bought smoothness.

The marks of lives not so well lived abound in this selection of Ndlovu’s work, there to trigger those already familiar with disadvantage. The enamel crockery in the photograph of the grandmother at her home, transports me to the lunchtimes of yore consisting of tea and bread. There must be at least 90 years on the woman in the image, but she partakes of the staple of my boyhood. In the difference of our lifetimes in time and space, how has our common experience not changed?

2021 An abandoned home that has been decaying.
Over the past five years, the neighbours' claim that the family relocated to
a new village because of village wars, Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021-01-08 A photograph of the neighbours' grandmother at her home during my
visit to Estcourt, also known as eMtshezi, KwaZulu-Natal. When I arrived at her home,
her two grandsons had just made lunch for her. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 Herders, known as Abelusi in isiZulu. This is a group portrait of young herders located in a small
village in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal.
They headed back home after taking the cattle for grazing in the fields.
We shared a few moments together by the dam talking about their daily routine. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 During my stay at Estcourt documenting the beautiful landscapes, I engaged with the photographed women on their way to a funeral ceremony. We stood there for over 20 minutes talking about the history of their church: how the village hasn’t changed a bit over the past decades. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 A portrait of a teenage boy at his family shop in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. I never received his name but he said he wanted to go to the moon after a few moments of us arguing about the increase of Black Label as written on the notice above his head. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 Young boy driving his wire bus during sunset on a Sunday eSgodini, Estcourt. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 Ekasi olympics. This is a group of kids racing each other at high speed using plastic crates, Kwamashu C, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 I photographed this young man outside his home right before he served his grandmother lunch, whom I photographed later. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
2021 A birds eye view of the corner of Dorothy Nyembe street and Pine street,
Durban City Centre, eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal. Lindokuhle Ndlovu

Hi There, my name is Lindo


Growing up in the township of KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal and attending primary school in the same town is one of the strongest memories I have about my neighbourhood. The times I spent with my late grandmother Miss Dombi Chiliza and the people I shared my life with at that moment in time in my early childhood, influence the work I create. “I can’t imagine a world without photography – capturing a unique moment in time that will never be repeated” (Gigi Williams).

Hi There, my name is Mandisa

Mandisa Buthelezi is a photographer and film director/producer who was raised in Durban and is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a vast portfolio that communicates the rural voice, and an appreciation and respect for the culture that has informed her perspective, she is keen on providing photographic and film content that is culturally centered and explores notions of identity and spirituality.

Cataloguing and documenting African culture through visual art has become an important component of her work through assignments.

Hi There, my name is Niamh

Co-Founder & Programme Director

Niamh Walsh-Vorster is a Durban-based writer, independent photographer, and creative producer. She graduated in 2014 with a BJourn from Rhodes University in Makhanda, South Africa.
Niamh is co-founder and editor of the award-winning e-zine, Ja. Magazine. She has exhibited photographic work in group shows at galleries, and independently in various public spaces. In 2016, Niamh was the recipient of a BASA Arts Journalism Award for her review in Ja. Magazine. She has worked with the Durban Center for Photography under the leadership of legendary AfraPix photographer, Peter McKenzie. She was part of the third Incubator Programme at The Market Photo Workshop, 2017 – 2018 in Johannesburg, mentored by Angela Buckland. More recently, Niamh was project manager of the ARTLAB Mentorship programme, which worked with 30 KZN-based creatives in photography, design, and fashion. She was mentor to 10 emerging photographers.