south african photographer tsoku maela explores ancestral spirituality in ‘barongwa: i am that i am’ exhibition

September 16, 2016

‘Barongwa: I Am That I Am’ is an upcoming exhibition by photographer Tsoku Maela’s at Cape Town’s 99 Loop gallery. After an undiagnosable illness landed him in the hospital in 2014, Maela sought the healing power of traditional Sepedi culture where ancestral worship is still apart of contemporary life. “My guardian angels made their presence felt,” he told 99 Loop. “In my dreams they came alive, first in voice, then in form.” It was during this time that Maela also turned to photography as a creative and spiritual outlet. Soon after reconnecting with his cultural roots, Maela’s undiagnosed ailments cleared up.

‘Barongwa: I Am That I Am’ was inspired by his transcendent experiences. In it, Maela’s makes reference to ancient religious text and sacred imagery as tools for self-discovery and universal observation. Preview the show, which will be on exhibition at 99 Loop until Friday, Sept. 23, down below.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor