Storytelling informs #DI Emerging Creative Lithemba Nziweni’s photography

#DI Exclusive: We chat to Lithemba Nziweni about his approach to his craft

What do you aim to achieve with your work?

I want to show people how I see the world. I take a simple concept with the purpose of shedding light on it through photography. For example, I know the importance of keeping our natural environment safe, so through my photography, I have created a series telling the story of how important nature is. Also, recognizing all the injustices black women have suffered, I created a series called "Mother Nature Is A Black Woman", through which I want to communicate that the reason we came to be is because of our mothers, so we should honour them. 

How would you describe yourself - in terms of your creative identity and aesthetic style?

I would describe myself as a curious person. I am always trying to understand how things work, and why they are the way they are - and that curiosity is how my artistry through photography was born. In terms of my creative identity, I’d say that a significant part of my style is storytelling. A lot of the concepts I create are stories inspired by music, nature, a movie or book, or even just a conversation I’ve had with someone. Everyday situations are the inspiration behind my aesthetic style. 

How did you come to do what you do?

In 2017, a friend and I bought a camera. We didn't know what to do with it, until friends of ours on campus had an event and needed pictures taken there – so we jumped into the deep end. From that day on, I have never stopped taking pictures. And as they say, the rest is history… 

Tell us a bit about your journey so far - how has the #DI Emerging Creatives programme shaped your design direction since you became part of it?

The programme has inspired me to explore more of my creativity. Since being selected I have urged myself on by knowing that I wasn't picked based on luck, but because I deserved the position. And as such, I have been working tirelessly, shooting and trying to develop my craft by executing different concepts to see how far I can stretch myself creatively.

Where do you hope this platform will take you?

I hope that this platform will introduce me to an audience and network that appreciates the type of photography I do.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a few projects at the moment. The first will be released on social media – it’s a video montage and photo series that explores the topic of being a free and liberated black youth. I am also working on a series entitled ‘Hairitage’, which will explore the how our hair plays a role in identifying with ourselves, our heritage and culture. 


Lithemba Nziweni