Zanele Muholi

The Cardinal honors LGBTQ+ PRIDE Month!

Daisy Castaneda, Senior Writer

Zanele Muholi was born on July 19, 1972 in Umlazi, South Africa. Muholi is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, explaining that “I’m just human.”  She’s a visual activist that changed the image of of Black queer South Africans through her portaiture and oraganzing during a time when the country’s LGBTQ+ media respresentation sensationalized and demonized queer people. Their development as a photographer was deeply intertwined with their advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community in South Africa and beyond. In 2002, Muholi co-founded the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), and enrolled at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, South Africa. She produced a number of photographic series investigating the severe disconnect that exists in post-apartheid South Africa between the equality promoted by its 1996 Constitution and the ongoing bigotry toward and violent acts targeting individuals within the LGBTQ community. And her images display the depth and diversity of this group in South Africa and in various countries that the artist had visited. During 2006, she developed Inkanyiso as a digital platform for queer media and actvisim because of the lack of visual histories and skills training by and for LGBTQ+ people. Through the organization, Muholi has created opportunities for younger Black LGBTQ+ community members to hone in on their strengths. She never gave up on wanting to show more representation for the community.