photo series: man up – a boy’s struggle for male sensitivity

March 22, 2017

A few months ago, 17-year-old Towela Kams, a Botswana based photographer, decided she wanted to do a project addressing male sensitivity as a response to hearing the phrase “man up.” Having always centered misfits, outcasts and the misunderstood in her work, it made sense for Kams to eventually tackle gender norms, but she also felt the project needed a male perspective to be authentic.

A natural collaborator, she partnered with Amogelang Tshenyo, a writer and poet whose unique style of writing successfully captured the essence of the visual storyline in mind. With Tshenyo’s captions, the photos come fully to life to shed light on such a necessary topic. See some of the touching images from the series below:

In my Universe, darkness drives away darkness
“I can’t possibly love myself if I’m still me”
This chant thunders through my brain like the monotone screams of a thousand men
Mimicking one; mirroring me
The rhythm of a heart ladened with prejudice for it’s own effect

My trust, my patience, my love and my warmth
There four, lost souvenirs as my armour
Adjusting to ‘Hardened War Prisoner’ is my ticket to freedom
I’ve been held captive in my own universe for far too long
I seem my license to be from my ascent on these crumbling walls

The choir of huntsmen assemble around my cortex
They sing in remote and baritones the tales of my lonely days
Beyond these walls is libery
For me and for them

I am clawing towards the vast heavens for asylum
Escape is an option: an opportunity
And I’m reaching for it with the hope of salvation
The discovery that my heart is a phoenix
Outside these confinements

I counteract to their evil with my gentle music;
My sentimental raucous
I turn their choruses into praise
I grow my pair of wings and size above their conformities

Writer: Amogelang Tshenyo
Models: Moonga Kahye, Katlego Disele and Tego Garenamotse
Cinematographer for BTS footage to be released end of Feb in Facebook page: Ronaldo Mogodi