In 2014, twenty years after the inauguration of a democratic political system, three young South African photographers traveled throughout their homeland to explore how much of the then-leader of the new ruling party and champion of compassion and positive change, Nelson Mandela’s vision had been achieved.
It was a significant year to make a journey of personal and societal inquiry into what it means to be a South African: Mandela had recently passed away, a young, new and energetic political party called the EFF had recently emerged and the 2014 National Elections were imminent.
Each photographer focused on a particular theme. Wikus de Wet, an Afrikaner from Bloemfontein, dissected the relationship between land and the people who occupy it. Sipho Mpongo, a Xhosa from Nqamakwe, documented the “Born Free” generation – those born after the fall of Apartheid into a juvenile democracy. Sean Metelerkamp, an English-speaking South African from Knysna, interrogated the idiosyncrasies – the alien and absurd realities – of his country.
The variance of the photographers’ cultural backgrounds, experiences and chosen theme collected fragments that together framed the realities of contemporary South Africa at that time, prompting the statement that “They form a diverse yet strong voice of the nation” – GUP Magazine
Twenty Journey’s crowdfunding campaign saw 134 backers pledging $12,402. Stretched out over seven months, this sum enabled the photographers to travel in a motor-home and reflect the magnificently puzzled country that binds them.
Results of the journey:
TWENTY JOURNEY BOOKLET
A collection of stories, paraphernalia and photos from the Twenty Journey
“The book’s cover image of a boy mounting a pole upon which hangs the old South African flag, wagging their tongue and raising one middle finger in the air, captures the zeitgeist of how students feel at this very moment: Fuck the system!” – True Africa
Nominated for Design Indaba’s ‘Most Beautiful Object In South Africa’ in 2015
First Edition limited to 250 copies (sold out)
Published in August 2015
Design and layout by Hanno van Zyl
Edited by Sarah-Claire Picton
Size: 260 x 182mm
Feature-length documentary and winner of the Best South African Documentary at Durban International Film Festival.
“The Journeymen is set in 2014, the year in which South Africa celebrated twenty years of democracy and mourned Nelson Mandela’s death. The film chronicles the journey of three South African photographers (Sean Metelerkamp, Sipho Mpongo and Wikus de Wet) across the country as they explore the current state of South Africa with GoPro cameras strapped to their chests, feeling its pulse and asking the question “Has Mandela’s vision of equality in a rainbow nation been achieved?” The film poses this question with a kaleidoscopic set of responses that is disturbing, beautiful, thought-provoking and, more than anything, movingly surreal. The film shows the underlying demons of our troubled national soul but also its deep and profound beauty. Made with technology that is widely accessible, the film is also a vibrant call to arms for new modes of film-making and fresh approaches to narrative.”
– Durban International Film Festival press release.
“After seven months of shooting, GoPros strapped to their chests, they realized that their day-to-day interactions with a diverse range of South Africans offered a startlingly candid snapshot of a nation at a crossroads.” – Variety
Director: Sean Metelerkamp
Cinematographer: Sipho Mpongo, Wikus de Wet, Sean Metelerkamp
Editor: Sean Metelerkamp
Producer: Jolynn Minnaar
Executive Producer: Dylan Voogt at Stage 5 Films
Language: English, Xhosa, Zulu, Venda, Afrikaans with English subtitles
For more information regarding The Journeymen, email email@example.com