South Africans at the polls – a visual diary

August 27, 2009 | By Tino Cecilio | News

We are delighted to share the following visual diary created by Jacklynne Hobbs from Market Photo Workshop.
With the South African general elections finally wrapped up, political parties are reviewing their performance during the ballot, especially with regard to media coverage: the kinds of messages and images that populated our airwaves, print publications and websites for the months leading up to the big day (April the 22nd, 2009).
The polls provided an ideal opportunity for students from the ‘Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Programme’ (PDP) at the Johannesburg-based Market Photo Workshop to sharpen their skills. Getty Images is a key sponsor of this course.

An intensive workshop on political reporting and photojournalism was held for the PDP learners to help them cover the vote. Students received instruction about South Africa’s political landscape – and were given insights into methods of gathering news, the latest technologies for transmitting images and the operations of press agencies. They were also required to document a political rally of their choice and submit their work electronically, all to a tight deadline.

Jacob Zuma, the president candidate for the ruling African Congress (ANC), leaves the party's final pre-election rally - held in Johannesburg on April 19th, 2009.

Jacob Zuma, the president candidate for the ruling African Congress (ANC), leaves the party's final pre-election rally - held in Johannesburg on April 19th, 2009.

“I wasn’t able to get a picture of him (Zuma) when he arrived,” says Caroline. “So when he left, I was determined to get the shot. Supporters were trying to get his attention, and that was when I decided to take this photo. The security detail was telling him to get into the car, but he paused to give a final wave to his supporters.”

ANC supporters at the perty's final election rally, in Johannesburg.

ANC supporters at the perty's final election rally, in Johannesburg.

“This photo was taken before the rally got underway. What I liked about this shot was the personalised number plate pictured in the left of the image – ‘MY ANC GP’ (GP refers to Gauteng Province, where Johannesburg is located); it seemed to show how certain supporters almost felt they ‘owned’ the party,” notes Caroline.

A packed stadium at the ANC's last rally ahead of the polls; this event was held at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg.

A packed stadium at the ANC's last rally ahead of the polls; this event was held at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg.

According to Caroline, “This image shows the rally as it was starting. The crowd had just been treated to ‘Madiba Magic’, so they were emotional. They joined a choir that was there to sing the national anthem, and there was a feeling of unity.”
“Madiba” is the name South Africans use to refer affectionately to former head of state Nelson Mandela. The country’s first democratically-elected president made an appearance at the rally.

Emotions run high as the ANC makes a bid for support at its last rally for the April 22nd vote.

Emotions run high as the ANC makes a bid for support at its last rally for the April 22nd vote.  “I liked the expression of this woman; she was singing and dancing as Jacob Zuma and Nelson Mandela entered the stadium, along with the whole crowd of people around her. Everyone stood up to welcome them,” says Siphathokuhle.

A soccer game takes precedence over queuing as South Africans go to the polls for general elections earlier this year.

A soccer game takes precedence over queuing as South Africans go to the polls for general elections earlier this year.

“The ANC worked very hard to encourage the youth to take part in the election. It was a cold morning, and these boys perhaps decided to warm themselves up with a game of soccer as voters queued in the background – maybe even to entertain the voters!” says Caroline.

Rika Theron - PDP student - Johannesburg
Campaign posters for the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), led by Helen Zille, loom above voters waiting to cast their ballots in South Africa’s elections.

The DA captured about 16.6 percent of votes to the ANC’s 65.9 percent.

The PDP workshop was supervised by Kim Ludbrook, regional photo editor for EPA Photos, an international news agency. Most recently, Kim has covered the inauguration of US President Barack Obama, the xenophobia-related attacks in South Africa and Kenya’s post-election violence. Kim’s work has been featured in a number of publications, including ‘Time’ magazine, ‘The New York Times’, the ‘Guardian’, the ‘International Herald Tribune’ and ‘Le Monde’.

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  • http://www.gettyimages.com Peggy Willett

    Fascinating to see the PDP students telling Africa’s stories from African perspectives. Too often Africans’ stories are told by outsiders in ways that serve their agendas.

  • http://cooltoad sphathokuhle

    Its good for africans to tell their own stories , rather than to wait for western media to tell unrealistic African stories.