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South Africa-Based Photojournalist Corinna Kern on Her Most Important Photo Project

Corinna-Kern

© Corinna Kern

Corinna Kern: At this point in time, I would not be able to class one particular photograph as a most important one. Nevertheless, the most important body of work I produced is probably my project Mama Africa, documenting the life of transgender women in South Africa’s townships and rural areas. Due to the strong social stigma that is attached to transgender people in African culture, it is a topic that is highly relevant and in need of awareness in order to provoke social change. Despite the harsh realities that transgender women in South Africa face, my project Mama Africa resulted in a colourful and celebratory series. It documents four African transgender women in their confident endeavors to integrate themselves into a hetero-patriarchal society, while experiencing a surprisingly high level of acceptance. By conveying the ambiguity and fluidity of gender, my project challenges the stereotypical notions on African gender identity. Mama Africa was selected as one of the five finalists for the Alexia Foundation Professional Grant. Even though it did not win, it is a strong affirmation for me that this story is of high interest and needs to be told. I am still planning to continue my project with a stronger focus on the issues surrounding individuals’ lives. So I think my most important photo is still to come.

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