Through The Lens: Sarafina Magazine 1 Year Later

A lot of the magic of Sarafina Magazine is due to the photography. During this first year, six women joined the team and stepped behind the lens to carefully capture each woman that we were so tirelessly working towards representing correctly and respectfully. Each photographer stepped in, added their own take to each shoot and managed to elevate our original concept into something more exceptional than any of us could possibly have imagined. Most photos are taken candidly during our conversation which makes each image as special and as unique as catching lightning in a bottle. To commemorate our first year, each photographer was tasked to pick their top two or three favourite pictures and share with us why they selected the ones they did.


Jesse Kramer:

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“I’ve had a long journey photographing Lynelle from when she was still studying; her first ensemble role in a musical to becoming a leading lady. A kind, honest and professional star, it was wonderful to hear her story and capture her as herself after all this time.”- Photo taken: 20/10/16
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“I chose this one for nostalgia and light, one of the first shoots I did with Sarafina Mag and we got some great light on Lara coming through the shopfront.”- Photo Taken 13/09/16

Wynne Bredenkamp:

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“Taken just across from The Fugard where she was performing in Funny Girl. LJ and I had fun shooting against this otherwise nondescript wall. She brought much needed light to this shoot.”- Photo taken: 24/5/17
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“It was hard to catch such an energetic and passionate personality like Buhle’s. But I think this moment captures her beauty inside and out.”- Photo taken: 29/5/17

Chris de Beer:

“These three images struck me the most because while they were among my favourites as black and white, the only grade we work in at Sarafina, they took on new life for me in colour. I felt they reflected the independent and complex natures of these women. ”

On Galina Juritz: “Shooting at the Baxter is always an interesting challenge. When you get the light and architecture to work for you, you get an image like this, which I’ve always loved. The interview itself was poignant, it spoke about the theatre and how we can use it to tell intimate and tough stories. Visually, I was really happy with this image of the incredibly talented and photogenic Galina Juritz.”

On Nwabisa Plaatjie: “Nwabisa is one of those young women you meet and are immediately impressed by. She spoke easily and confidently about her experience of being a young black theatremaker in South Africa, and I found that how she spoke about the limitations of gender binaries resonated with me. She picked at the surface of so many important issues in her interview. In front of the camera, she was a great sport and managed to make a beautiful image. The same day we interviewed and photographed her peer and fellow recipient of the Theatre Arts Admin Award, Thando Mangcu and by the end I was excited for the future of South African theatre.”
On Jennifer Steyn: “This shoot and interview was unforgettable for me. The conversation between Candice and Jennifer was so moving, we were all a little emotional. She spoke so openly about her life and career and I was so struck by her generosity and sincerity. As far as the images go, she is an incredibly striking woman and I felt like the resulting pictures showed both her gentleness and strength.”

Sophie Kirsch:

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Jennie was my physical movement lecturer at UCT from 2011-2014. She is not only an astute teacher of her craft, but her ability to manoeuvre from judicious discipline into visceral performance is something that takes a life time of commitment and mastery. She is also the most down-to-earth woman. I’m so thankful to have been part on her teaching and this interview, years later.” – Photo taken: 26/04/17
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At Her Feet was one of the first piece’s of theatre I saw as a teenager that was one-act and, in its rarity, performed solely by a woman. This validated my belief that women’s stories are captivating, complex, expansive and necessary. An inspiring conversation took place post-interview and I felt so grateful to have met the literary game-changer, Nadia.”- Photo taken: 19/5/17

Chanel Katz:

There is something quite special about the intimate interviewing atmosphere created with Sarafina Magazine. An unspoken respect, stirred with the vulnerability of the moment, which, as a photographer, I find incredibly rewarding.

I cherish the times I have had the repeated privilege to be invited into this space. To quietly capture each unique instant including moments of thought, spontaneous giggles and various reactions to unexpected questions all carrying a weight of immersive rawness. I feel like I can completely lose myself in each individual interview, and later find myself in a headspace where I am left to feel so inspired and fulfilled.

I salute the platform that is Sarafina, and how it has unapologetically demanded more space to be taken up by women, for women of the arts in South Africa by simply asking them the right questions, celebrating their successes and building them up. Happy First birthday Sarafina Magazine! Here’s to your ripple effect!”


Candice van Litsenborgh:

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“The driving force behind Sarafina Magazine. This day, I made Candice act as my stand-in while we chose where to conduct the interview. A lot of my shoots start with one or two random shots of Candice as she prepares and fusses with notebooks, recordings and moving furniture around. It’s not often that she stops and takes a quick breath so this is a rare capture. A very happy birthday to Sarafina and congratulations CB.”- Photo taken: 17/4/17
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“I’ve known Tinarie since high school. We were at the same drama studio and grew up being moulded by the same two incredible women, Sharon Rother and Linda-Louise Swain. When I see the performer and woman she has become I see a lot of the lessons I learned as well. In the middle of her interview she acknowledged these great teachers and me as a part of her journey. I adore this photo because, for me, it expresses the openness, honesty and generosity that is required to be a great actor. It’s all present in this moment.”-  21/4/17

My favourite part of every interview is when the inhibitions of the formal interview begin to drop and it becomes a conversation. That’s when the stories and the laughter flows. That’s when you get to see not only the passionate performers but also the women behind the work.- Candice van Litsenborgh



All photos are under strict copyright and cannot be used without permission.

For usage or inquiries, please contact us.

Special thanks to Jesse Kramer, Wynne Bredenkamp, Sophie Kirsch, Chanel Katz, Chris de Beer and Candice van Litsenborgh for the photos, the memories and the continuous encouragement.

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