My Soweto: Andile Bhala

Born and raised in Soweto Andile Bhala, known as ‘the man with the red bag’, is a self-taught documentary and street photographer. He made it his quest to ride his bike 150km around Soweto in search of 150 great photos. 

“I’m a photographer inspired by the raw and gritty lives of township people. My work is mostly about everyday people, streets, lifestyle, fashion, creatives and youth culture. I’ve always seen things in a different way and found it easy to project that through photography. Mostly I love portraits because you get to connect with the subject.

“My favourite suburb is Orlando West because that’s where I was born and where most legends were born and I believe we still have a lot of unsung heroes.

“Three places you shouldn’t leave without visiting … are The Soweto Equestrian Centre, Credo Mutwa Village and the Box Shop in Vilakazi Street.

“The one word you won’t hear people call Soweto… is boring. Soweto is one of the biggest townships in the country. When it sneezes the whole of SA catches the flu, although Soweto is yet to make the jump from tourist attraction to South Africa’ s economic hub.

“The taste of Soweto is braaied meat, inyama yenhloko (cow’s head and pap) and mogodu (tripe).

“My favourite moments as a photographer are… when kids run to me asking if I’m a journalist or tourist and shout at me to get off my bike and take their photos.”

 Follow Andile Bhala on Instagram at @may_i_take_apicture and at @andilebhala_portraits

#imaginesoweto | Mzimhlophe UpTown | Soweto |

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