ZAM Reporter

Pride & Loss in Amsterdam

At the opening of Pride & Loss. From left to rigth: Emmelie Koster, Lerato Dumse and Zanele Muholi. Photo: Jan Meijer.

With photography from the Inkanyiso Collective, the Amsterdam No Man's Art Gallery honours the courage of South African LGBT activists and mourns the lives of so many fallen heroes.

“Where you feel pride, we feel tears,” Zanele Muholi said at the opening of Pride & Loss, ​​photography by the members of the Johannesburg based Inkanysio Collective. It was two days before hundreds of thousands celebrated the annual Pride and canal parade.

“I need you to organise an exhibition,” the South African visual activist told Emmelie Koster, director of the No Man's Art Gallery, at the opening of her exhibition in the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum early July. “Right,” Emmelie Koster responded and offered her space and energy to Muholi. Enabling young, black lesbians to grow in photography is Muholi's way of sharing the gains of her international career.

So here we were, hundreds of us, at the opening of Pride & Loss on the 3d of August. Friends of the gallery, ZAM and Muholi came together for this exciting event celebrating the rise of LGBT activism in South Africa, whilst also mourning the lives of so many black lesbians, fallen heroes in the struggle for equality. Though equipped with one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, recognising the 'freedom of sexual orientation', the country also produces frightening hate crime statistics. Going from one international exhibition to another Muholi often returns to her country to bury members of the black LGBT community. Recording these funerals in often heart breaking photography is a way of remembering, paying respect and keeping the dream alive. This is what the works of Boitumelo Nkopane, Collen Mfazwe, Lebogang Mashifane, Lerato Dumse, Thembela Dick and Velias Jara are about. Pride  -and tears.

Pride & Loss is on until August 27, 2017. More information at

These photographers, together with Kamo Petlele and Lindela Qampi, also participate in On Visual Activism, an exhibition at the Johannesburg Women's Jail, East Wing, Constitutional Hill, 2 Kotze Street, Braamfontein. From 10 until 31 August, 2017. View all details about the exhibition here.

Photos from the opening of Pride & Loss