never again

This series of portraits pays tribute to the people who lost loved ones in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. We photographed people in their homes, holding a picture that they selected of their brother, sister or child who had died. Some of the pictures were taken on the last day they saw their loved one alive. Others at a family event. Some only had an official photo from an ID book.  But no matter the photograph, every single picture held meaning for those left behind.

It triggered memories of the person they had lost. Sometimes we heard the story of when the photo was taken. Or were reminded of a happy time. But it also stirred painful and ever-present memories of how their loved one died. These photographs open a door to the past. And they also shed light on the present. 

We travelled to people’s homes to take the photographs and talk to families. And on those long trips we experienced the vast distances that family members had to travel as they tried to find their loved ones. The purpose of this project is to name and remember all of the 144 people who died. And to tell those left behind that you and the loved ones you lost are not forgotten.

Mduduzi Zubane and his brother Thokozane Tso Zubane and their late mother Thembisile Dlamini