Born Frees

Sipho Mpongo grapples with the question: What's a born free?

Three South African photographers went on a journey to explore the current state and feel the pulse of South Africa. Twenty Journey comprised Wikus De Wet photographing the land, Sean Metelerkamp focusing on our idiosyncrasies and Sipho Mpongo shooting Born Frees. 

Sipho is one of our Superbalist 100 members and so we decided to zoom in on the work that he did for this project. 

Born in the Eastern Cape in a rural village called Nqamakwe in 1993, Sipho Mpongo was raised in Langa, Cape Town. Illiso Labantu, a local photographic mentorship programme, provided the platform for Sipho to launch into a photographic career. Sipho has recently completed a full time course in study at the Cape Town School of Photography whilst simultaneously contributing to various photographic group shows and projects in Cape Town and internationally.

Speaking of the project, Sipho says:

The 'born frees' make up about 40 percent of the population, and the critics among older South Africans contend that they are apathetic and apolitical, unaware of the history of the struggle that made their lives better. Will they allow themselves to be defined by the scars of apartheid, or will they embrace freedom, choice and opportunity? Taking responsibility for being exactly where you are gives you the power to be exactly where you want to be. They are the future. I will focus on the future.

Imagine. Port St Johns.

Self made and art driven. Braamfontein.

"We are bokkoms". Velddrift.

Mothering the motherless. (Rudolph Mulder, 16 year old boy holding neighbours child from Coronation park. 

South Africa is my home too (Samantha 5, from Ermelo, living with her mother and father).

They said it’s a school fashion for girls to have tongue rings especially matriculates.