The 3rd of April 2014 will remain a highlight in photographer, Masixole Feni’s life, as the First Thursdays monthly event also marked his first solo photography exhibition. Commonly known as Masi, the Live photographer launched his first solo exhibition in Cape Town. Housed at the Cafe de L’Alliance in Loop Street, the month-long exhibition titled “Water is Life” displays the water issues in the rural areas of Cape Town, a topic that Masi feels strongly about.
Since he was 15 years old, Masi has shown an interest in photography. With no formal qualification, Masi has relied solely on his passion for capturing moments and the informal training and mentorship he has received from various professionals. Taking advantage of the connections he has built throughout the years, he joined forces with his mentor, Jenny Altchuler, who had then contacted the venue and curated his exhibition.
As the product of a three year-long shoot, the photographs aim to show the challenges that township citizens are faced with every day. “My exhibition is set against the 20 years of democracy and at this point, some people believe that the changes have been made. My job as a photojournalist is to show people the places where things have not changed for the better,” explains Masi.
Moving away from the common flow of fashion photography, Masi takes to the streets to capture the dress code in townships. His projects emphasise his desire to capture everyday issues and provoke change. He is currently working on a project called “Men on the side of the road” which follows the struggle of young men who are unable to find permanent employment and settle with the odd jobs that they get offered while waiting on the side of the road of the suburbs or cities.
The next journey he would like to capture is the initiation process of an individual as it is something he has also experienced and he acknowledges the process’ significance in the country.
If he could work on any topic, he would work on migration and xenophobia in South Africa. He feels that a lot of people are exposed to situations connected to these issues and that the reasons behind their decisions are not transparent enough. Exploring Tanzania’s diverse culture is also on his to-do-list.
Making his way to the top, Masi has already had some of his work published in newspapers such as Die Burger, the Cape Times, Cape Argus, Daily Voice and other community newspapers as well as an outdoor enthusiast publication, Weg! magazine.
Before concluding our interview with the young photographer, he excitedly reminds us to ask him about his future dreams and aspirations. Proudly he announces that his biggest wish would be to start his own photography society group through which he would be able to teach disadvantaged children the skills of photography. Advice for aspiring photographers? “It’s not going to be easy, the industry is already packed. You just have to learn from the best. We are all here to grow, share our ideas and build a network through which we all can learn”, he says. After asking whether he accepts requests to do personal photo shoots, he casually laughs and confirms. Needless to say, I’ll be booking my dog for her very first photo shoot with the best photographer in town!
Masi can be contacted on his Facebook page.