Sarah Waiswa

6x6 Africa Talent: Sarah Waiswa, Uganda

“I am nominating Sarah first and foremost because there is a genuine sense of humanness in her approach to creating. It expresses inquisitiveness, beauty, adoration, concern, mindfulness and pride. I would like to see more of her eye on Africa and the world.” - Erika Larsen, USA, photographer and 6x6 nominator

Sarah Waiswa is a Ugandan born, Kenya based photographer fascinated by the richness of African stories, people, culture and myths. After receiving both her sociology and psychology degrees, and working in a corporate position for a number of years, she decided to pursue photography full time.

Kimbanguists, The People of Simon

Early on an April morning, a sea of green and white can be seen moving across the Kimbangu compound in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Every year on 27 April, the Kimbanguists commemorate the death of Maman Mwilu Kiawanga Nzitani, the wife of Papa Simon Kimbangu. Papa Simon Kimbangu, the founder of Kimbanguism, is considered to be the Holy Spirit. The festivities which last the entire day reveal an African expression of Christianity, rooted in African tradition and embodied in cultural and ritual patterns, with a strong use of music and performance. The project is the start of an investigation into the rituals of the Afro-Christian church. It is interesting to note that the colonial regime considered Kimbanguism a pan-African movement, thus not only religiously but politically inclined. The militant style of dress and marching to the sound of music, plays to the narrative of the movement having started and continued as a revolution. Many years after Kimbangu’s death the Kimbanguists maintain their rituals and processes, guided by their belief in the power of their revolutionary founder Papa Simon Kimbangu, their black messiah.

Ballet in Kibera

One would not think to marry a dance style birthed during the renaissance in Italy with a group of children living in one of the largest informal settlements in Africa, Kibera in Kenya. Dance itself is not foreign to the continent, and has played an essential role in cultures in Africa, serving more than just a form of entertainment; it has been known to communicate emotions and celebrate rites of passage. With ballet lessons being extremely expensive, ballet is often associated with privilege, and the power that comes with privilege. This project aims to capture the inbetween state of imagination and reality in the absence of social barriers, blurring the lines between audience and performer. At the same time, it connects the audience to the dancers in the hopes of offering an alternative to the monolithic stereotype of the poor African child from the slum.

Discover work by the 6x6 Africa talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.