Visual Activist is a short Human Rights Watch film that explores the work of the award-winning South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi.
Muholi, who describes herself as a “visual activist,” has spent years documenting the lives of black lesbians and transgender people in South Africa. “We live in fear,” Muholi said. “And what are we doing about it? You have to document. You are forced to document.” The film was made as a collaboration between Muholi and filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall – the directors of the award-winning documentary “Call Me Kuchu,” which tells the story of the last year in the life of Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) activist David Kato.
The video is dedicated to the memory of Duduzile Zozo, who was brutally raped and murdered in Thokoza, Gauteng Province in South Africa on June 30, 2013.
Zanele Muholi is a photographer and self-described “visual activist” who sees her work as a lifetime endeavor aimed at redefining the face of Africa both within and outside the continent, and fighting violence against LGBTI people. Muholi studied at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg and received an MFA in documentary media from Ryerson University in Toronto. She has exhibited her work internationally, with solo shows at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2004), the CCA Lagos (2009), and Yancey Richardson Gallery (New York, 2013). Muholi was the 2009 Ida Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has received awards for her work, including the Fondation Blachère Award at the Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography (2009).
Muholi is the winner of the Fine Prize for the 2013 Carnegie International.