feature: radical photography by imraan christian documenting cape town creatives, skaters, activists

October 16, 2015

I am a 22 year old Film maker and Photographer, born and raised in the Cape Flats of Cape Town.
In retrospect I realize that My upbringing formed most of my core beliefs that govern the flow of my life. I am most grateful for the family I was born into because truth was never stifled in favor of comfortability or fear of pain.

Words & Photography by Imraan Christian, AFROPUNK Contributor


My grandfather, Suleiman “Pal” Christian is a Marxist, artist, and retired principal and has dedicated most of his life to the growth of Cape Colored/ Malay arts, specifically District 6. His life’s work has gone largely unacknowledged and now with the memories of District 6 moving on with those who hold them, his urgency to inflict his mark on history taunts his agency and haunts his interactions with people.

On the other hand, my mother and grandmother, Nabuweiya Lutta, are the bearers of a love that is unique to the women of color of Cape Town. Despite having to overcome a merciless structural and societal violence, pre-and-post Apartheid, the matriarchs of my family are the middle pillars of love, strength and empathy. They have instilled in me a deep trust in my heart and intuition, and are the omega against the forces in this world that seek to harden a black man’s heart.

Because of this duality in my upbringing, I’ve always been aware of the light and shadow of the struggle. This understanding of the duality of the struggle has helped me accept the pain that is inherited by the collective consciousness of our generation (generation z), but at the same time understand that the mirror of this pain is our dormant potential to transcend and ascend.

The focus of my work has really been a meditation on trying to understand myself, my consciousness, and the world around me- I don’t know how the fuck I came to exist in this place in this time, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt its that this universe definitely has a sense of humor. This meditation has lead me to the depths of the darkness of attempting to tear down the walls of the structural post-colonial racism that is embedded in Cape Town’s core functions, but also to the heights of connecting with like minded brothers and sisters who understand that we must rise from our true roots and take our freedom, not ask for it.

Our collective consciousness is not only bound to the British colonial narrative of the civilized and the ‘savage’. We are the original people. We were once kings, storytellers, lovers, in touch with the land and our true selves.

It is this vision, of once again returning the pride to our story, that fuels my fire to wake up everyday and keep manifesting with my brothers and sisters who are born of the fire.