The HealersLSHTM logologo: Africa 05 in collaboration with BBC
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Loulou Cherinet
Cyprien Tokoudagba
Zwelethu Mthethwa
Tracey Rose
Abdoulaye Konate
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image of Mthethwa's work

South Africa, b. 1960

Zwelethu Mthethwa began his studies with an interest in medicine but turned to art when his unmistakable talent became evident. He has trained in South Africa and the US, collecting a string of awards, and has exhibited around the world and will be shown at the Venice Biennale later this year.

Mthethwa started using paint and has more recently moved into the photographic medium. His work blends African and Western cultures, exploring issues of marriage, ageing, initiation and dowry practice.

The photographs displayed in the exhibition are being shown for the first time and echo Zwelethu's early interests in the healing profession. His photographic works are largely concerned with people in South Africa who immigrated into urban centres in the 1980s. For this exhibition he has photographed traditional healers with the tools of their trade in urban settings in Durban and Johannesburg. The Sangoma are healers originally from the Ngumi-speaking peoples of Southern Africa. Clients consult the Sangoma for physical, psychological and social complaints. Their treatment is a combination of herbs and divination. The photographs challenge the viewer to consider the juxtaposition of rural and urban, traditional and modern.