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‘Faces of depression’

DUMISANI NCUBE
Photojournalist, Kefilwe Monosi has embarked on a new photography project dubbed, ‘Faces of depression’ inspired by mental illness within the community.

The photography project that was recently exhibited at the Botswana Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre depicts different individuals who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses during their tough times of health. To protect people’s identities, the photographer had to use models on the project.

The collection of eight pictures in black and white depicts individuals who are in a moment of giving up on life with sadness and struggle written on their eyes. Actionwise, some of the subjects are seen looking hopeless, holding chins and heads in despair.

 “Mental health is one important subject that people in the society do not want to talk about; some do not have full knowledge about it and it is sometimes associated with bad luck or demons. By doing this I am trying to cultivate a conversation amongst people so they get to discuss such issues. Basically with this project I am trying to raise awareness on mental health,” Monosi said.

She stated that with a photography project depicting such a subject, it will make it easier for the community to discuss openly. “Mental illness has always been a stigmatised issue. Even people who have such conditions do not open up”.

Prior to working on this photography project, Monosi had to do some in-depth research on mental health as she went to Botswana Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre where she was informed more on the subject. She had to also go to Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital where she interacted with patients and medical practitioners as she got to know more on the subject.

“While shooting and directing I had to tell the models to be in certain modes by encouraging them to think of a certain situation that might have

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led them to be depressed,” she explained. On a photographer’s perspective such a subject is difficult to shoot. Since they were models, the subjects tried by all means to act the part and make it look real.

During the exhibition at Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital on mental health day, Monosi stated that a number of patients and medical practitioners visited the Botswana Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre stall that had the photography displayed and they got intrigued. “Due to lack of funds I only managed to print out a few copies because it was a self-funded project.”

This is not the first time that Monosi has done a project in line with such a subject. She has previously worked on a photography project that depicted women abuse in the society. She exhibited the photos at different locations in Gaborone.

“I will continue working on different photography projects that touch on sensitive issues that the society does not talk about to drive the conversation amongst ourselves as the community.”

allenges she faces includes lack of materials that could be used on shoes and not being able to reach customers as far as Tsabong, Mojenje and others. She said she also has clients across the boarder such as in South Africa and Lesotho.

 

“I really plan to own a boutique in the coming years. I want to have my own brand. My dream and my passion are to see myself as a fashion designer. I want my own brand. I want to have my own designers’ bags and clothes. My work is my hobby. The hobby that keeps my mind and hands busy; the hobby that puts food on the table and pays off debts,” she concluded.



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