SPECIAL PROJECTS: Family Photo Day in Manenberg | Children's Radio Foundation

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One of the many Red River pupils who got their photo taken during the event

On 6 June, a group of youth reporters, trained by CRF in collaboration with the NGO Rock Girl, interviewed the people of Manenberg, Cape Town, at the Red River Primary schools’ first family portrait day to find out what family means to them. For some it was the very first family portrait they have ever taken.

As children ran around the schoolyard, hundreds of family members and friends patiently waited in skews for Sipho Mpongo, a documentary photographer from Langa, to take their photographs against a simple black curtain.

The Rock Girl youth reporters prepared questions to ask organizers, parents, and friends about what family means to them while also having fun recording their own reflections from the day. Their work was edited into a 5-minute piece and aired on SA-FM for CRF’s weekly radio workshop show. The school organized a follow up exhibit on June 20, where all the black and white developed prints hung outside the class rooms, ready to be taken home.

The event was set up through Rock Girl, in partnership with the Children’s Radio Foundation as part of the Safe Manenberg Campaign. As the school undergoes new changes, India Baird, founder of Rock Girl , explained how families play a role in the safety of their children and creating positive memories: “It’s really great I thought to bring all of the things that are most beautiful about the school, the families together,” said Baird.

The photo day was a very unique event for the people of Manenberg, in an area where cameras and photos are not available to document family moments. Children at the school said their portraits will remind them of how much they love their families each time they look back at the photograph. Photographer Sipho Mpongo said he loves his job because he gets to freeze memories with new people and can capture moments in history. The Rock Girls admitted to being nervous at first but after facing the trials and troubles of interviewing, they revealed truths about the families in Manenberg.

 

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