Binga + Siachilaba Photography Workshop

Calvin Dondo was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1963. He studied photography at Harare Polytechnic and has exhibited at several Galleries in Zimbabwe including the National Art Gallery in 2000; abroad he exhibited at the Market Theater Gallery, Johannesburg, at the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona and at the Africa Iwalewa House, Bayreuth in 2001. He conducted these Photo workshops for students at Binga Highschool and Siachilaba Primary School on behalf of AZFA in order to capacitate the young Tonga folk to represent themselves on the website

see the photos  

The workshops were held from 6-12 May 2001 at Binga High School and Siachilaba Primary School. They were attended by a total of 34 students. At Binga High School the pupils were from form 1 to form 5 classes, 7 girls and 7 boys. At Siachilaba Primary School the pupils were from grades 4 to 7, 10 girls and 10 boys. Only 4 students had used and handled a camera before.

The Binga High School students were keen to learn more about photography and their response was very encouraging. I gave them a number of assignments to do after the theory on how to use and handle a camera. They would go out and do their assignments and then return with the exposed film. I taught them how to develop and print their own pictures. So after every assignment I would critique their work and send them out to do more pictures. In the end some grasped the basics of light, composition, correct camera handling, processing film and printing.
The form 4s and lower 6s were more serious in their approach, I guess because they are deciding on which careers to pursue. I enjoyed working with them although they did not take such good pictures as the Siachilaba Primary School kids. My opinion is that there was a lot of excitement which slightly affected their concentration.

The Siachilaba pupils were a joy to work with, they were wonderful and inspiring. They listened well and did their assignments according to instruction and in the end it payed them better dividends, they produced good and better pictures. The students wanted us to go on, but we run out of films as the workshop was meant for only 10 students but we stretched the meagre material to accomodate 34 students. I would want to mention a girl from Siachilaba Primary School who did exceptionally well and I believe she has got a good EYE.

The teachers from the two schools wanted me to have more students so that I could empower more students, but I told them that the material can only suffice a number less than 20 although I ended with 34 students.

The Headmasters and teachers were very supportive. In Siachilaba the community was so supportive they invited the participants to take pictures of the various traditional ceremonies which were on that weekend. Jossam introduced the workshop to the community and explained the purpose. As in most projects which are endorsed by the community the workshop was successful because the community felt that they have contributed to the coming of this project via Simonga's association with Austria. The community was proud and gave us all the support we wanted.

The people in Binga are also hungry for positive development projects that benefit their children. To conclude I would say that the workshops were very succesful and will make the communication with Austria and the rest of the world easier.