Watershed photography

Araminta de Clermont's exhibition, A New Beginning, explores the outer transition newly initiated young men go through.
Posted 30 Sep 10 By Design Indaba Creative Work / Design News Comments

For many young Xhosa and Sotho men the initiation process signifies more than a right of passage. The ritual also involves an outward demonstration of an inner change and photographer Araminta de Clermont has documented this tradition in a new body of work.

A New Beginning is the culmination of work shot between July 2009 and August 2010 that focused on recently initiated men living in townships around Cape Town. The exhibition is on at the João Ferreira Gallery in Cape Town until 30 October 2010.

For many young men initiation signifies a watershed and often an opportunity for a new way of being. A recently initiated man will wear clothing that highlights his new masculine status for up to six months after the event. A New Beginning captures the “outward demonstration of an inner change” with the chosen outfits also serving to remind the men to behave appropriately, in relation to their status.

 “New” Xhosa men, or "amakrwala", will wear blazers, buttoned up shirts, and hats. Trousers and shoes must be smart. “New” Sotho men, or "makolwane", will wear traditional blankets, hats, and beads.