Young talented photographer from the streets of Langa wowed by the Big Apple

Sipho Mpongo is a 22-year-old photographer and a student at the University of Cape Town's Michaelis School of Fine Art.

The first in his family to study at university, he recently returned from New York City.

Mpongo was the first South African photographer to be awarded a fellowship by the renowned Magnum Foundation.

The young artist spent six weeks there on their photography and human rights programme and says it was an experience unlike any other in his life.

He was traveling the country for a project on being a born-free in South Africa at the time and received full support from the Magnum Foundation after showcasing his work to them.

Being in New York was something else for me - a wake up call. It was my first time ever traveling on a plane and it felt like a dream when I was there. I never thought that I could be so creatively inspired in my life.

Sipho Mpongo, township photographer

Mpongo says he loves telling people stories; most importantly stories about the contemporary issues in South Africa and around the world.

He started taking photographs with his mother’s phone when he was still in primary school.

He truly discovered his love for photography in high school and decided, when he was in grade 11, that he wanted to be a photo-journalist - to tell the stories of his everyday life in Langa.

When you live in the township, you see everything around you and it made me claustrophobic. I saw this life as too much to bare and didn't know how to express myself, my memories and experiences. I decided to take pictures everyday to capture the his world - it felt like a dream there.

Sipho Mpongo, township photographer

Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:


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