Wembley to Soweto A Photographic Exhibition
Wembley to Soweto is an extraordinary photographic journey of over 50 images shot by disadvantaged teenagers from the Johannesburg townships.
Join us for this breathtaking exhibition.
Thursday 7 July – Sunday 24 July
Hove (Alan Phillips gallery)
Thursday 1 September – Sunday 2 October
Brighton (BHASVIC college)
Thursday 6 October – Sunday 8 January
All Saints Weston, Chestnut Avenue, Esher, Surrey KT10 8JL
Sunday 29 January – Friday 24 February
Thursday 1 March – Sunday 25 March
Thursday 29 March – Sunday 22 April
Carlisle & Sheffield
Thursday 26 April – Sunday 20 May
Cardiff & Glasgow
Thursday 24 May – Sunday 17 June
Blackpool, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds & Bristol
Thursday 21 June – Sunday 15 July
London Alexandra Palace
Monday 2 July – Sunday 8 July
John Phillips / Oxo Gallery
Monday 9 July – Sunday 2 September
What difference can a photograph make?
In 1988, more than 80,000 people attended a concert at Wembley Stadium to celebrate the 70th birthday of Mr Nelson Mandela. 600 million viewers tuned in, as the world sent many happy returns to prisoner 46664, and joined with him in spirit to demand an end to apartheid in South Africa.
The iconic photograph of that momentous day was taken by the internationally renowned photographer John Cole. It now hangs on the wall in Mr Mandela’s home.
In summer 2010, David Westhead of Wilton Pictures invited John to run a 4 week intensive photography course in Johannesburg.
The course, run in conjunction with Umuzi Photo Club, afforded an opportunity for 8 teenagers from the townships to work alongside one of the world’s best photographers. This course was not solely about taking striking images; it was about how to feed your family using a camera as the tool of your trade.
Involvement with the project has helped empower the young people to fulfill their hopes and dreams. Participants have been awarded full scholarships and bursaries to photographic colleges, had work published in magazines including Marie-Claire, have completed shoots for Vodacom and the South African Parliament and had images exhibited in top galleries in New York, Antwerp and Johannesburg.
'Captain' Kgaugelo Moradu
‘Wembley to Soweto’ has been a great opportunity to learn how to work as a professional photographer. I love taking pictures. Everyday I’m constantly thinking about taking photos, even if I don’t have a camera with me. I want to put my heart into every picture I take and keep taking more.
I got more out of ‘Wembley to Soweto’ than I expected. I’ve learnt so many things and my experiences have been extraordinarily incredible – and fun! And to top it off, we were taught by the kindest people in the world who like to share jokes that are sometimes not funny but can be very strict and straight to the point. Thank you everyone connected with the project for what you have done for me.
‘Wembley to Soweto’ has allowed me to acquire skills and knowledge that was unimaginable to me at first. I have learnt so much so quickly. Our teachers are simply the best, because they have always valued our opinions and always ensured we were happy with how the program was running—- they have made this the best learning experience EVER. I’ve loved every minute of the program and have had the time of my life, THANK YOU!
The white policeman had a grin on his face, so I said “Hi Sir, I’m a learner photographer – can I take a picture of you?” He gave me a huge smile and said “JAAAAAJAAAAAJAAAAA!” That was a cool one – I just thought to myself, “That whole race thing – that’s history!”
I really wish and hope that ‘Wembley to Soweto’ can be a big tree that grows a lot of branches to let the world know about photography and how what we experience in our everyday lives can be interpreted through pictures. I have learned that I have to persevere in terms of any hardship I come across. Instead of just sitting down and waiting for help, I need to go out there and do it myself.
I think my dream came true! ‘Wembley to Soweto’ has been really beneficial. I’ve learned so much about how to take great pictures and how to understand light.
‘Wembley to Soweto’ started as a dream by a crazy, talented photographer and his compelling and ever convincing actor friend who can talk his way through anything, wanting to recreate the moment in 1988 in Wembley Stadium right here in Soweto to show the long way South Africa has come from being a nation torn apart to a nation united and filled with great possibilities.
I like shots that have impact. I like to take pictures that show the surroundings of the society, the details of people’s lives. I don’t like snapshots – I hate those kinds of photos.
‘Wembley to Soweto’ has been one of the most rewarding projects that I have ever worked on. The aim of the project was – and still is – to teach disadvantaged young people how to feed their families with their cameras. My heart glows with pride and joy knowing that several of these talented young photographers from the Umuzi Photo Club are now shooting for Vodacom, The South African Parliament and Marie Claire magazine. My hope now is that ‘Wembley to Soweto’ and the continuing work of Umuzi will give these eight very talented young photographers the confidence to do whatever it is they want to do with their lives, whether to become a doctor, a lawyer, an artist or even something as crazy as a professional photographer!
To show someone the innate talent they possess is one of life’s great rewards – whether you’re giving or receiving. For me the most striking element of Wembley to Soweto has been the panoply of inspirational people that John, Kweku and I have had the wonderful good fortune to work with along the way. So many believers have given their support to this project that it would be invidious to name them here. Suffice to say that whatever everyone has offered to the young people from The Umuzi Photo Club – Siyabonga, Patience, Thapelo, Vuyo, Captain, Shoneez, Joao and Tshepang – these talented teenagers have repaid in bucket-loads. The work in this book is testimony to that.
There is no greater way to tell a story, show an emotion and ultimately express yourself than through a picture. For eight young students from South African Townships, photography would become more than just a photo. It would become their lives – from capturing the day-to-day lives of their own communities to snapping some of the world’s biggest entertainers at the now historic ‘World Cup Kick-Off Concert’. This is the story of eight young kids helmed by an international award-winning photojournalist and their journey together to express themselves and those around them.
This is Wembley to Soweto – I hope you enjoy!
Through photography, Umuzi Photo Club places young people from South Africa’s developing communities at the centre of conversations on important community issues, cutting through socio-economic and generational boundaries. The raw, honest images they shoot are exhibited in situ to encourage youth-centred, community dialogues, as well as petition stakeholders, such as local government, to enact positive change. In this way, Umuzi facilitates child participation at a community level. Through international exhibitions, media coverage and strategic partnerships such as with Wembley to Soweto, Umuzi amplifies its young activists’ messages to reach influential patrons at home, and abroad. Umuzi is thus a powerful local, as well as international platform for these otherwise marginalised young people to tell their stories. Wembley to Soweto was an amazing addition to our training programme and for this we are forever grateful to David Westhead and John Cole for pioneering this great endeavour!