‘This Home of Ours’ by South African Photographer Ayesha Kazim, is a project which acts as a contemporary time capsule of the Bo Kaap neighbourhood in Cape Town where Ayesha grew up for a period of time. Bo-Kaap is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobble stoned streets. The area is traditionally a multicultural neighbourhood, and 56.9% of its population identify as Muslim however, as a result of Cape Town's economic development and expansion, properties in Bo-Kaap have become very popular and sought after, not only for its location but also for its picturesque cobble-streets and unique architecture. Unfortunately this has led to Bo Kaap’s close-knit community to face a slow disappearance of its distinctive attractions as wealthy outsiders move into the suburb and move into homes for low prices. Through this body of work Ayesha hopes to highlight the various issues and changes that have and are still taking place in her old neighbourhood and preserve certain cultural aspects of the community.
“Initially when I started this project, I felt a bit uncomfortable about approaching people and being in their homes because there are still alot of elderly people who live in the community, but people were very receptive towards either because I was someone that they knew and they could feel comfortable with or because they felt that I could help them to tell their story” explained Ayesha. Photographing a community is certainly not an easy task, the need to gain their trust and maintain a track record with them is certainly a gradual process but is one that if done right, can lead to an avalanche of opportunities.
“There was this corner-shop owned by a man named Mohammed, and this shop basically took care of everyone in the community, but when I returned to the neighbourhood, I found out that his store had closed down due to the rising prices of rent. I never knew just how many stores had been closed down due to this” revealed Ayesha. Ayesha cleverly manages to capture images that display a touch of ‘loss’ and ‘stillness’, almost as if this once lively town has been turned into something unrecognisable leaving behind a trace of what used to be but is no more. From her images it is evident that she approaches her participants with some form of sensitivity and respect which enables her to capture their everyday activities without being intrusive or invasive.
“I always try to consider the ethics of photography whenever I am taking someone’s photograph from the community. I ensure that I make it known to them that it could be publicised in the future or used for an exhibition. I want there to be that trust in the beginning.” Ayesha Kazim.
Ayesha Kazim is a Freelance Photographer working between New York City and Cape Town, South Africa. Through her work, Ayesha seeks to capture intimate, candid moments of everyday life that spurn out of organic connections and emotions. Ayesha finds inspiration in moments of rest, introspection, and childlike wonder which materialises itself in the photographing of subjects that exude resilience, power, and a humbled sense of confidence. To view the rest of her work, visit her website.