Vul’ Umhlabathi

Vul’ Umhlabathi

UMHLABATHI Collective brings together eight Johannesburg-based photographers at varying stages of their respective careers.

The relational and social potential of photography is a central premise for the Collective’s formation and its inaugural exhibition titled Vul’ Umhlabathi - presented as part of the 2021 Joburg Arts Alive Festival programming and developed in conversation with independent curator, Thato Mogotsi.

UMHLABATHI Collective’s chosen name is itself a recognition of the undeniable need for sustainable collaboration and place-making in harnessing a more diversified local art landscape.

The Collective will also host a walkabout and panel discussion which will explore the notion of photography as labour. The works presented in this exhibition will foreground the role that photography as a creative tool has played in archiving and humanising the black lived experience in South Africa - despite the historical erasure perpetuated by oppressive systems.

Jabulani Dhlamini
From the series Isisekelelo, 2019


A multi-generational collective of photographers and artists who share a vision to elevate photography as a relational medium. Using experimental public programming, independent and collaborative photography practice, publishing and archival research; UMHLABATHI hopes to foster a supportive community of practitioners and provide a platform for shared growth.

UMHLABATHI Collective are:

Jabulani Dhlamini (b. 1983 - Free State, SA)
Lebohang Kganye (b. 1990 - Johannesburg, SA)
Andile Komanisi (b. 1981 - Johannesburg, SA)
Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni (b. 1993 - Limpopo, SA)
Tshepiso Mazibuko (b. 1995 - Johannesburg, SA)
Sabelo Mlangeni (b. 1980 - Mpumalanga, SA)
Andrew Tshabangu (b. 1966 - Johannesburg, SA)
Thandile Zwelibanzi (b. 1987 – Eastern Cape, SA)


The Collective is based is at 2 Helen Joseph Street in Newtown, Johannesburg. Previously, home to the renowned school of photography, the Market Photo Workshop (MPW), until 2016. The building itself is of personal significance to the Collective’s eight members – several of whom are themselves MPW alumni. The full potential of the building’s existing facilities such as a photo studio, dark-room, digital station, auditorium and gallery – are thus specific to our activities and uniquely suited to the objectives of our collective.

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