Gwanza Photography Workshop empowering Women in Siachilaba

The photography workshop was conducted 5-7 November 2013 to empower rural women in Siachilaba / Binga with photographic skills so that they can tell their own day to day experiences through their own eyes. Since most of the pictures we see are taken by the foreign media and strangers to their community, this was an opportunity for the women to learn how they can document and give a true reflection of their plight through photography.  It served as a preparatory stage of the cultural Tales of Resilience project which involves, the Tonga community in Siachilaba / Binga, Basilwizi Development Trust, AZFA,, Time's Up, an artists organisation based in Austria and Gwanza, an organisation which promotes photography in Zimbabwe, based in Harare.

The joint project will culminate into an exhibition, which will be shown in different parts of Zimbabwe and Austria. The workshop took place at Siachilaba Business Centre for three hilarious days. It was conducted by Calvin Dondo, Annie Mpalume, photographers from Harare and Blessing Munkuli a Basilwizi Trust Communications Intern based in Binga.

The format of the workshop was based on story telling using the camera. We begun with basic introduction to the camera with a touch on communication and each day the women trainees were given practical assignments to do using cameras in order to harness and sharpen their story telling abilities.


The women were equipped in the following skills:
Use of cameras
Thinking before taking pictures
Use of various systems to make pictures more interesting
Use of camera without flash
Importance of working together as photographers
The importance of critique


Women Photographers in Binga need more workshops and practice.
More cameras should be made available to them.
Gwanza needs to do more follow up workshops in Binga.
Participants need to practice more often
Workshops for students and school leavers.
A set up a facebook page where they can post their images
The need to meet once a month and show the projects they are working on..
A Data base for the photographers

The women were so keen to learn, it was 100% participation everyday, lots of questions and the morale was very high. The facilitators left one camera behind for the women to use until the next workshop in April 2014 in conjunction with Times up from Austria, which will focus on Physical and Alternate Reality Narratives.


Future Recommendation

It would be profitable for the women photographers if they could be assisted to set up a portraits studio at Siachilaba Business Centre which will cater for passport, driver licenses, identity card and ordinary photos as a co-operative because of the way they mastered and enjoyed taking portraits and the high demand of these pictures in Zimbabwe at the moment. Since Siachilaba is a busy, strategic centre, enroute to big cities like Hwange, Victoria falls , Binga and Bulawayo they will enjoy good business and can start to make use of the skills they acquired economically.

The workshop was made possible by the generous support of Basilwizi Development Trust, AZFA, Tonga.Online, Gwanza and Siachilaba community.

Report by Calvin Dondo as facilitator and Gwanza co-worker