Tendai mandimika

– Photography –

“With a camera one can focus on matters that society might not acknowledge and create awareness
and respect for work that happens outside of formal systems, contributing to the health of our environment”

Tendai Mandimika
Location: Harare
Artwork statement: “In this work, I profile five people. The Picker picks waste for recycling at the Pomona dumpsite, earning 200 bond per week. The Buyer is the middleman for a Chinese recycling company and employs pickers at the dumpsite. The Recycling Manager works with the local government to clean the city and does organic farming near the Mukuvisi River. The Blacksmith buys scrap metal and produces basic farming equipment, despite the risks for injury; he works at night because electricity is scarce. The Urban Farmer recently moved to Harare to find a job; for now, he farms vegetables with water sourced from the river.”

Q&A: 

  • What was your experience with art as a child and growing up?

I’ve always had a passion for documenting stories. My introduction to photography happened randomly when, in Soweto during a shisa nyama, a South African journalist told me about the Market Photo Workshop. The workshop was founded by David Goldblatt with the aim to develop visual literacy for the underprivileged in South Africa.

  • How did it evolve over time?

I enrolled in photojournalism courses to develop my storytelling skills and document social phenomena. My work was published in international newspapers and magazines in South Africa, but when I returned home to Zimbabwe, in 2016, I was imprisoned for four weeks for carrying my camera during protests in Harare. Now, I take a more personal approach to documentation.

  • Who or what influences your art? How would you like your art to influence others?

David Goldblatt and Ernest Cole are big inspirations, as their work crosses racial and social boundaries and challenges peoples’ perceptions and mindsets.

Artwork title: Green city: Portraits of citizens