The Picture of Wealth

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Think city-based young woman going home to her family’s homestead and refusing to abandon her chic fashion aesthetic.

It is a well-known fact (among Africans at least)  that historically and still today, wealth in African cultures is associated more with agricultural assets than liquid money. This is what photographer, Themba Mbusyisa and fashion entrepreneur, Nwabisa Ntlokwana have successfully depicted in a modern, stylish and youthful context.

Animals and land have always been connected to ideas of wealth, celebration, ancestry and more in almost, if not all African cultures. From totems to lobola, animals have represented prestige and wealth since time immemorial. Themba and Nwabisa have taken this and dressed it for young, modern consumption.

Think of a life where your personal life is the most important thing in the world without comparing it to anything else.

At first glance, all you may see a fashionista in a veld with goats around her which you can’t be blamed for because of the way we have come to associate the content we see from popular photographers and bloggers locally and abroad; lacking depth and substance. However, these images are different – Themba has managed to capture a picture of wealth that we don’t ever see but as young, black South Africans, we can relate to.

Themba got introduced to photography through the Market Photo Workshop (MPW) in 2013 during a break in his studies in Computer Sciences. With little resources to pursue photography, he made the most of those he did have and ran with it.
A 2015  Sony Photography Award recipient, Themba “mused Nwabisa as a powerful women with wealth around her, she is comfortable in this space and seems unbothered by anything beyond that.”

Photography is the home I’ve been in search of. – Themba Mbuyisa