Photographs capture the dangerous practice of wine collecting in Namibia

The palm wine collectors in Namibia risk their lives for their cultural practice.

From the Series

Cape Town-based photographer Kyle Weeks spent months in the Kunene region in Namibia documenting the ancient cultural practice of wine collecting. The series “Palm Wine Collectors” celebrates the ancient cultural practice in which members of the dynamic Himba culture spend days scaling palms the size of tall buildings.

“I photograph them in a way that they would like to be seen by an outside audience. Usually, I let the subjects perform for the camera, giving very little direction but rather letting them experiment with the construction of their own image.” Weeks told Feature Shoot.

While the practice is illegal in Namibia, the Himba people strongly believe in its value as a traditional practice. According to Weeks, he uses his photography to empower African traditions.

“Contemporary African photography aims to establish new narratives and identities, both personal and cultural; my work is often influenced by its past and present uses, as I hope to produce work that drives important dialogue on documentary photography as well as the ethics of representing cultural ‘difference’,” he was quoted as saying.