In the run up to our official launch this Saturday, we ran a contest in November for Zambian based individuals to win a chance to have their work showcased at our launch. We called for poets, artists, writers, photographers and those with other talents and passions to send two pieces of their work and to be part of our aim to showcase work that celebrates and starts conversations about Africa.
We are proud to introduce Zenith, the winner of the contest. Wankumbu Mwape who goes by the brand name “Zenith” is an upcoming young Zambian documentary photographer whose amazing pictures speak for themselves.
Zenith is a third year student at the University of Zambia. He started photography in 2011, first as a mainstream photographer until he branched out into documentary photography last year. Although he still takes mainstream pictures, he is now more biased and interested in documentary photography that tells stories about African culture.
Zenith explains that he comes alive when he has a camera in his hands as photography is his main form of escape. He also loves the fact that pictures are not bound by time or boarders because they cut across cultures and people anywhere can relate to them. Zeniths pictures that show people in their natural environments such as work and play are relatable and precede borders. Through his pictures he hopes to convey feelings of patriotism, unity, happiness, social challenges and memories.
Pictures that convey elements of commonality such as someone cooking, children playing or someone working can help people to identify with our African roots. Africa is rich with indigenous knowledge, cultural teachings, norms and values. Before modern science and technology Africans did numerous things such as a distilling alcohol, preserving foods and healing of diseases through herbs and roots. With technology affecting African culture and how people interact with each other. One can therefore argue that technology has reduced the value of African cultural knowledge and teachings. Zenith’s pictures demonstrate what makes Africa unique. In a world that is drastically changing, pictures that highlight African culture and social settings will someday be key reminders and memories of times gone by.
Zenith is gaining visibility through his photography and has been interviewed on Zambezi Magic. His work has also been featured on Afrikan Gallery, The Daily Hype and other local and international platforms. For inspirations, Zenith looks up to his parents and the legendary Zambian photographer, Chellah Tukuta.
In the near future, Zenith sees himself travelling a lot, holding documentary photography workshops across Africa, having his own exhibition and naturally winning awards. For his work, Zenith would like to be remembered as one of the pioneers of documentary photography because they are not many photographers especially in the African context who take this path.
As a young documentary photographer, Zeniths vision is for Zambia and wider Africa to have more individuals take his path of telling stories through documentary photography. He hopes that in the future there will be more opportunities open which would encourage others to come on board. He stresses that the continent needs more platforms that showcase the work of documentary photographers as it would inspire others to follow a similar path.
With his passion and incredible pictures that convey authentic African settings, it is without a doubt that this is only the beginning of a successful career for Zenith.
Zenith’s instagram : @IamTheZenith🇿🇲
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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