Disclaimer: I don’t pray at the feet of social media.
Still, before Instagram the image library of Africa was wild, impoverished and hopeless. This isn’t to say that the platform hasn’t been used to perpetuate that image by some, but it has been overwhelmingly used by people on the continent to paint a more accurate picture. And it keeps getting better.
We’ve got Kenyan night crawlers capturing cityscapes (see @samdave69), cats like @shawnogulu who seems to be all over the world after his first photos of Durban. Never before have we been able to discover cities, landscapes and the people of a country as now.
And Zimbabwe is no different. I might be showing a bias as a Harare boy, born and bred, but my people are holding it down. We’ve featured their work on TRUE Africa’s IG this past weekend and here’s a roundup of who they are and what they’re about.
Steven is simply frustratingly good. I remember meeting him at a friend’s engagement party as he skirted the bonfire with his camera. His images are incredibly powerful and carefully composed.
I was initially drawn to the way he captures people but Steven has grown to show that he is at home photographing wildlife and landscapes. He is deservedly the most followed photographer on Zim’s Instagram scene.
When it comes to breaking the mould Chiedza and Zash are doing it with bursts of colour, flare and a proud element of mischief. @diaryofsmurfdinkie puts Zimbabwean fashion against the backdrop of the dishevelled and beautiful capital city, Harare.
I used to live with Nikita in a house that was going through an identity crisis. Part gap-year hostel, part Escobar hideout. She introduced me to Instagram as she slowly began to make her mark on the Zimbabwean scene.
She is an incredibly talented portrait photographer and curates her profile with the same fierce tenderness that she raises her muse and daughter, Arianna.
I love Lesanne’s landscape work. If you want to see the Zambezi in all its broiling beauty or the tranquillity of the Eastern Highlands then follow her. We put together an exhibition at Shoko Festival in Zimbabwe a few years back and a photo of hers still hangs in my mother’s home, stretched on canvas, vibrant and bursting with colour.
KB is holding it down for the City of Kings and Queens, Bulawayo aka Skies. Big into black and white, there is a weight to his work that draws you in. I like that about his photographs: there’s a seriousness to it that brings definition to people’s character.
Architecture and landscapes are what I think about when I see the handle @masimba_is_focust. Masimba shows you the symmetry of Lake Kariba and the beauty of design in human engineering.
Ralph represents a specific time and place in Zimbabwe’s Instagram library. He has an array of work but, to me, no one will ever capture the morning and evening commute quite like him. We do it every day. Gardeners, drivers, delivery-men on rickety bicycles. Ralph can be found at sunrise and sunset on Zimbabwe’s roads, capturing the motivation of morning workers and those carrying on late into the night.