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by Mahala Scribes / 01.07.2015

Sipho Mpongo is the first South African to be awarded the sought after Magnum Foundation “Human Rights” fellowship in New York and one of the most relevant young photographers in Mzansi today…

This year the 22-year-old photographer from Langa, Cape Town, was chosen to be one of seven participants in the six-week Photography & Human Rights programme at New York University. During the programme, Sipho together with six other participants from around the world, will explore ways of creating effective visual stories with the aim of advancing Human Rights in their home countries… and we can’t think of anyone more deserving.

You might already be familiar with this astoundingly humble and talented photographer’s work through the Twenty Journey project: three young photographers who travelled the country documenting the current pulse of South Africa in 2014. Sipho’s strikingly raw, natural photographs explore what it means to be a born free in South Africa today and if you haven’t yet seen the work of the Twenty Journey photographers… do yourself a good deed: twentyjourney.com.


Sipho’s love for photography started in primary school when he was using his mothers cellphone to take pictures and in a few weeks time he’ll be travelling the world as a documentary photographer.

“I live with my mother’s family in a shared flat with two different families,” explains Sipho. “I am the only one in my family who has made it to university. I love telling people stories; most importantly stories about the contemporary issues in South Africa and around the world… I am a young black South African trying to understand my country and myself… The pictures I produce are a way of liberating myself and people around me.”


Copyright Sipho Mpongo / Upington, 2015

Meet one of the most inspiring young photographers in South Africa today in the beautiful video “Sipho Goes to New York” below… Nceda bhalela ekhaya mfowethu!

*Video & images © Gingko Agency

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