Pictures that Speak: Involving Youth in Community Health Youth Academy and Equity Project

Mdantsane Township, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Working with the Youth Academy, a youth-led organization in Mdantsane Township, Laura trained four youth members in 2001 to be co-leaders with her on a photovoice project funded by the Equity Project, a partnership of the South African Department of Health and USAID. Participants took photographs of community resources and problems from their point of view, wrote captions, and prepared an exhibit of 50+ photos and captions organized under 6 themes: Health and Welfare, Education and Training, Community Vision, Economic Opportunity, Security, and Township Life. Exhibits at public libraries, the local hospital, and the regional capital captured policymaker attention and helped the young people to feel heard.

This is good looking art on the wall near a taxi route. If you are passing by you stop and look because it’s beautiful. As youth of Mdantsane we are showing people that we have talents. Art like this can attract tourists to come here to Mdantsane. It is good to know that we have people who care about our culture and our community.

This picture is a good thing because it is good to have fresh vegetables. These people are unemployed and are growing their own food because there are no jobs. It is good to plant vegetables for eating and selling.

-Celine

–Nomaubi

“These pictures are proof of our membership in our communities. By looking at them you can see clearly today that Mdantsane needs change,”

-Khanyiso Sangotsha, peer leader