South African photographer Lindokuhle Sobekwa (born 1995) began this project after finding a family portrait with his sister Ziyanda’s face cut out. He describes her as a secretive, rebellious and rough presence, and recalls the dark day when she chased him and he was hit by a car: she disappeared hours later and returned only a decade later, ill. By this time Sobekwa had become a photographer and realized the family had no picture of her: “One day I saw this beautiful light coming in through the window shining on her face. I lifted up the camera to catch the moment and she shot me an evil look and said: ‘Stop! If you take that picture I’m going to kill you!’ So I lowered my camera. I still wish I had taken the shot.” Ziyanda died soon after.
Employing a scrapbook aesthetic with handwritten notes, I Carry Her Photo With Me is a means for Sobekwa to engage both with the memory of his sister and the wider implications of such disappearances—a troubling part of South Africa’s history. The book complements his wider work on fragmentation, poverty and the long-reaching ramifications of apartheid and colonialism across all levels of South African society.