Art for tolerance on Mandela Day

8 July 2011

For Mandela Day 2011, youth NGO Lalela Project is collaborating with South African photographers Hasan and Husain Essop in an innovative project to promote tolerance and understanding between Coloured and Xhosa communities in Cape Town.

Founded by Andrea Kerzner, Lalela Project is a non-profit organization that empowers young South Africans through the arts.

“Through its programming, Lalela Project has encountered tension and misunderstanding between Hangberg learners and Imizamo Yethu learners when they come together at Hout Bay High School,” the organisation said in a recent statement.

To help overcome this, pupils from both the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities have been learning about portrait photography from Hasan and Husain.

Lalela Project has paired pupils from Hangberg’s Cape Coloured community with pupils from the Imizamo Yethu’s Xhosa community, to learn about each other through conversation and exchange – and then to photograph one other.

“The week before Mandela Day, they will post their portraits on each others’ homes and in each others’ communities to showcase the beauty, similarities, and shared values they found in their new friends.”

On Mandela Day, 18 July, Hout Bay High School will host an assembly where pupils will showcase their photographs and express what they’ve learned to members of both communities.

At the same time, beginning on Mandela Day, 18 July, award-winning French photographer JR will continue his global INSIDE OUT project by blowing up the pupils’ portraits and pasting them on iconographic buildings in Cape Town.

The One and Only Cape Town will host a reception on the evening of 18 July to launch INSIDE OUT’s city-wide photography exhibition of the pupils’ works.

“Lalela Project aims to show that cross-cultural and racial understanding is possible,” said Andrea Kerzner. “We believe that if we take the time to get to know one another, we will find there is so much for us to share and celebrate together, despite our differences. We are, after all, the same.”

SAinfo reporter