Giya Makondo-Wills

They Came from the Water While the World Watched

Project Description

This work depicts indigenous South African Ancestral belief and Christianity, in relation to the colonisation of the country. The complex interplay between Christianity and Ancestral religion manifests itself within my own family, where it is common to call on God and the Gods. The work looks from a new perspective regarding documentary photography and the Western gaze, whilst exploring the sanctity of keeping traditional beliefs alive and the adaptation to the world today.

Being both British and South African, I address the clash of beliefs from the point of view of the coloniser and the colonised, acknowledging both sides of my personal history whilst reflecting upon issues that have affected indigenous peoples internationally. This work has been made across South Africa in the northern province Limpopo, Johannesburg and the Western Cape and looks at how the history of colonialism has an unparalleled impact on the human condition. I represent a dual perspective and highlight the symbiotic relationship between cultural elements and the resilience of pre-colonial customs in a modern guise.


I am a British-South African documentary photographer born in Brighton and now based in Cardiff, UK. My practice looks at the complexities of dual heritage and history in relation to colonisation, identity and new perspectives regarding documentary and the Western gaze.


Thaddeus Pope

Posted by Thaddeus Pope

Thaddeus Pope is the Director of Design, Media & Marketing for The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) and the Creative Director of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award.