Editorial: Under lockdown, I went to the only place that calms me

by Mapule Mokete


The beginning days of the South African national lockdown were the most fun. I was excited to work on my photography skills with plenty of time in my hands. I used those days to improve my photography skills.


I enjoy telling African stories, I love showing how beautiful our continent and our people are. Luckily for me, after about 5 months under lockdown in Makhanda, Eastern Cape, I was granted an opportunity to travel to my favourite place in the world: my home. My home is a village called Ga-Masemola in the Limpopo Province.


I was born and raised in Ga-Masemola and it is the only place in the world where I find my power and my peace. It is the place that made me fall in love with photography because of how beautiful it is. The bright greens of the trees and the golden browns of the mountains. I also love connecting with Mother Nature through my camera lens. Ga-Masemola is the perfect place for that. Unfortunately, this time the reason to travel home was unpleasant: my grandmother’s passing.


I worked on this photo series while I was at home in Ga-Masemola for the funeral. It seemed as if my grandmother left and took the colours of this place with her. She brought colour to my life and lit up my world. This black and white series represents the dullness of my village without my heroine.


When shooting this series, I was reminded of the famous old song by Elvis Presley titled Home Is Where the Heart Is. As much as I did not see my village in colour anymore, I still felt my heart was at peace. What a gift to be able to mourn and still see the beauty of the sanctuary I have fallen in love with that raised, nurtured, and loved me.


Telling stories such as this bring me joy. The word I use to describe my photography style and editing is raw - I try to tell a story as raw as it is. This is a photo series depicting joy and calmness found in Ga-Masemola and the people living in it.












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