My husband gifted me a photography workshop in Cape Town, South Africa through an organization called Momenta in 2016. It was an amazing workshop. I was in over my head initially but gained so much from the experience. Jamie and Chris, Momenta owners, assisted me in connecting with the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha and I was able to photograph the place for two weeks. I received feedback and pointers along the way from Chris. It was a challenging, rewarding experience.
I stayed in Cape Town at an amazing B&B that momenta set up and took Uber into Khayelitsha every day. It is about 30 minutes from Cape Town. Uber drivers were always wondering why I was going to Khayelitsha. The poverty there is like nothing I had ever seen, including my time in Latin America, and it is notoriously dangerous. However, I was very grateful for my experience there. I found the people to be warm, down to earth, and surprisingly alive despite the challenges associated with living in a township.
When researching organizations to photograph, Mdzananda inspired me from the start, well, from its’ start really. The organization had started from a local man named Mr. Joe who donated his days to washing and caring for animals in the community. That was more than 20 years ago now, and today Mdzananda provides a fully-fledged primary veterinary service to animals in the township. I particularly align with Mdzananda’s community outreach program that strives to educate people about how to have more fulfilling lives with their hopefully beloved pets. As humans, I believe we gain so much from having animals in our lives and also have so much to learn through these relationships.
Mdzananda has made true progress in Khayelitsha through spaying and neutering as well as community outreach. Shifting people’s relationships to animals is not an easy thing to accomplish. The people at Mdzananda work tirelessly for the animals and people in their community. It was truly a blessing to witness this, an experience that I will not forget. I am very grateful to have been able to contribute to an organization with these values and would do so in the future if given the opportunity. Thank you Mdzananda!