Unveiling Human Rights through Images

July 21, 2015

A walkway through the Harare Gardens in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, was recently converted into a temporary photo gallery that attracted ordinary people going about their daily business. The posters on display depicted various human rights issues that touch on the lives of many Zimbabweans.

The Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers (ZAFP) put up the exhibition of human rights advocacy posters titled: “Survivors and Activists.”  According to ZAPF, human rights-related issues are currently topical in Zimbabwe largely because of a recent history of politically-motivated violence and the adoption of a new constitution.

The posters on display at the pop up exhibition focused on a variety of themes, including child labour, environmental rights, freedom of expression, sexual rights, equality, non-discrimination and women’s rights.

According to Angel Jimu, ZAFP Vice President, the organisation’s vision is to contribute to the professional development of Zimbabwe’s photographic industry by producing a legacy of highly qualified, competitive female photographers.

“We provide information and training for women who may be struggling in a heavily male-dominated industry. The poster exhibition is bringing awareness to human rights, that’s why we did it in this form so that civil society organisations can use the posters to further their work,” she said.

Jimu added that ZAFP strives to contribute to social change through using photo journalism as an advocacy tool.

Hivos Southern Africa Hub and the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE) provided technical and financial support to ZAFP under the Human Rights Fund, which culminated in the launch of the exhibition.

Tanja Lubbers, Hivos Southern Africa Hub Director, inaugurated the poster exhibition and praised the photographers for taking pictures with a cause.

“Photojournalists show us the beautiful diversity of our world and the beauty of stories.  Photography is really an art and a profession, and it’s the dream of a photographer to take that one iconic picture.  It needs networking, talking about photography, talking about the skill, not only technical – like where do I put my lens – but really the art of telling a story in a picture,” she said.

Participating photographers included journalists Annie Mpalume and Tsitsi Ndabambi, professional photographers Henry Hakulandaba, Steven Chikosi, Khumbulani Mpofu, Mana Meadows, Stella Saburi, Nancy Mteki, Yvonne Pinkas and artist Kresiah Mukwazhi.

In an interview, Stella Saburi said that she had learned a lot from developing her poster, which focused on albinism in Zimbabwe.

“My experience taught me a lot about albinos and what society thinks of them. My main goal was to promote equality and non discrimination. It helped me to explore myself. It’s been a good platform both motivational and inspirational. It gave me an opportunity to realise my importance as a female photographer,” she said.

Posters will be given to various stakeholders for use in their activist endeavours. ZAFP also donated a database of pictures to Hivos Southern Africa Hub.