Photographic feature by Tony Figueira

Battling invasive cacti
September 3, 2015
Community conservation
September 3, 2015

AFRICAN GOLD

A passion for the image

Text and Photographs Tony Figueira

 

Mostly we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. Photography changes that, it makes us really notice, appreciate and respect what and who is in front of us

Main image:  One fine Sunday I headed to the informal settlements of Katutura on my way to document shack dwellers being briefed on the advantages of solar energy as life enhancer. Sheltered from the scorching sun, the neighbours sat under a massive tree surrounded by shacks. Informal meetings are like that. Time is not much of an issue, and on this particular occasion I was only too happy that proceedings took a while. I wandered around for an hour or so, capturing Sunday morning life, when I came upon a bunch of kids playing football in an open area between the shacks. My camera triggered extra enthusiasm, and a great deal of fun.

Tony-photo-by-Richard-Pakleppa

G hanaian jazz virtuoso George Lee pays tribute to Namibia and its people with a delightful combination of vocals and saxophone in a song from an album entitled African Jazz Men. Lee shares the platform with other African legends such as Moses Molelekwa, Pops Mohamed, Winston Mankunku, Tony Cox, Denis Mpale, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Sipho Gumede in a real celebration of Africa and African music.

The pinnacle of this fine compilation is, however, the manner in which the celebrated Lee sings about Namibia and how so much of this song is in tune with my imagery of this magnificent country. It is indeed home sweet home, a desert basking in the sun, the hope for all, the hope for one, of how the “African moon will be mine tonight”, or how this African song “rises from the far light”.

Lee’s guttural voice introduces a raw but hauntingly beautiful Namibia, a land of promise seen by a thousand eyes, a land where I run barefoot through your sand and see the African sun stealing you away from me. A promised land waiting for her destiny to be Namibia.
And to be Namibian is indeed something special. I just need to think of all my friends who ended up settling in Namibia after travelling through Africa, other continents or the world, only to find solace, peace and spirit in the soil, light and weight of Lee’s lyrical Namibia.

And to be Namibian is indeed something special. I just need to think of all my friends who ended up settling in Namibia after travelling through Africa, other continents or the world, only to find solace, peace and spirit in the soil, light and weight of Lee’s lyrical Namibia.

Tony-Figueira-SPITZKOP-KIDS-NAMIBIA

I had just finished a shoot at the Spitzkoppe for a British Tour Operator when, on my way back, I spotted these kids at one of the informal gem selling kiosks. I chatted to them for a while, asking all sorts of relevant questions. One thing is for sure, they all knew Gazza, the Dogg, Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. When I asked them what Namibia meant for them, this is what they did.

Often identified with a variety of styles, sometimes mixed together into a sort of spicy musical potjie, the multi-talented Lee has the knack of being able to encapsulate the essence of Namibia through this sensual song. His is a tribute to wealth of spirit, to the abundance of hope, to wisdom and truth “in your stories told”. According to Lee, Namibia’s African nerve channels like African gold. She whispers in the wild, is filled with mystery and “I am listening to you”.

The images in this photographic feature are a bit like Lee’s stew of life, music and styles. They were taken through the years of a Namibia that I love, a Namibia that is a treasure to photograph, a Namibia where “I will be the rain for you”.

Tony-Figueira-GINA-PAULA

Early one morning during one of our camping trips to the Marienfluss, my daughter Gina and I climbed one of the small mountains near our impromptu camping spot. The morning light was glorious, as is Gina, who is now a young woman, talented and beautiful. And I am a seriously proud dad. Shot on Velvia film, Nikon F5.

Tony-Figueira-OSHONA-KID

I love this image. A lot. Shot on film many, many years ago at one of the oshonas in the north, this youngster was embroiled in a mud fight with a few other children, when she noticed me, as if caught out, although there was nothing to catch out. The light was just perfect, as were the smile, the glint in the eyes and the mud splatters.

Both taken on film more than 20 years ago, these images bring back fond memories of bitterly cold mornings near Tsumkwe in the Otjozondjupa Region, where I was documenting a people whose histories are written in sand and rock. Draped in very little protective material, these two women stand out from my wonderful bag of portraits that I have documented throughout the years.

Tony-Figueira-BARRAKA

Tony-Figueira-FIRE

This article first appeared in the Summer 2015/16 issue of Travel News Namibia.
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Magazine Subscription

Please fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you

Title

Full Name

Email

Delivery address

Namibia - N$ 210

International - €50

EFT Direct Deposits can be made to the following account:

Account Name: Venture Publications (Pty) Ltd

Bank : Bank Windhoek

Branch code: 48-19-72-00, Windhoek

Swift code: BWLINANX

Acknowledgement of payment will only be made upon receipt of a deposit slip.

Deposit slips can be e-mailed together with subscription form to bonn@venture.com.na

Contact Us

Please fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message