Following up on some of the connections that I made during one of the #CreativeHustles events (brought to you by Live SA & British Council Connect ZA) , I recently met up with one guy that really got my attention. His name is Michael Abrahams and he is a photographer from Westbury, Johannesburg who got me thinking about how creative hustlers affect their communities.
During our first conversation, he mentioned that he had started a free photography programme in his community for young people who are passionate about photography but who do not have the means to pursue it.
Abrahams has been a photographer for 9 years. It all began when he moved to the UK and lived there for a period of 2 years. He had been invited by a friend to take photos at an event and at that time, he thought he was into graphic designing… until he saw how great he was at taking pictures. He taught himself how to take photos while he was still in the UK and most of the work he did included wedding and event photography. He then came back to South Africa and decided to join The Market Photo Workshop to improve on what he had taught himself in addition to sharpening his skills. Most of his projects included him documenting Westbury, which is known for its gang culture and substance abuse. In his images, he wanted to give the viewer a different perspective of the area; to show life and positivity.
After that, he volunteered for a year at the Westbury Youth Centre which offers skills development, multimedia and community outreach programmes. Ultimately, it is a place that offers alternatives to substance abuse.
Eariler this year, he started the “Digital Curiosity Photography” program, which is divided into four quarters; each running for 3 months in order to reach a large number of young people in the space of a year. One of the reasons he decided to start this program was the lack of role models that he saw in the colored communities.
In order to find out just how beneficial the programme is, I spoke to two students: Allistair Dejongh (26) and Fara Hendricks (24). It was interesting to hear that in a period of 3 months they have learned so much and they have started earning an income from the skills they gained from the course. Allistair mentioned that being part of the programme has also helped him start his own business and build a brand. Michael has become a mentor to Fara, and both students affirm how supportive he is. They leave me with the thought that being part of Michael’s initiative has given their careers direction.
Michael Abrahams has evolved into an example of just what sharing your blessings with your community can do. The power of the creative hustle to create social change. I find such endeavors inspiring and encouraging – knowing that we have such people within our reach who still care about the development of young people.
More information about the #CreativeHustles
Images by Jared M’Belle
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