A photographer a day: Puleng Mongale

Puleng Mongale

Puleng Mongale

Day 2 of the “photographer a day” series: Puleng Mongale 

When the madam is away, the help will slay….this is the caption that grabbed my attention and introduced me to Puleng Mongale. I have been following her for the past 2 months…and by following I mean stalking her on social media. 

When you look at the two projects below: ‘when the madam is away the help will slay’ and ‘I don’t walk alone’,  you’re left with a sense of familiarity that can only give you comfort.  These are the first and second parts to her series “Intimate strangers”. 

The first part was a social commentary on S.A labour relations. This is her:

Part 1, When the madam is way, the help will slay, is about living your best life when you can.”

 “And for most of our grandparents and even our parents that opportunity only came when their boss (the madam) would step out. My grandmother who lives in the Free State once told me a story about how my mother and the older siblings would take turns in sneaking her last born into the shop she worked at so that he could be breastfed and this only happened when her boss was out. So the madam is basically someone that you work for but can’t be free when they’re around.”

Part 2 focused on an aspect of spirituality. This work felt more serious, deeper…. I remember the exact feeling I had when I first saw the photos. I had a sense of relief and a “wheh” moment, because I instantly recognised the burning of incense as an important part of our spiritual rituals….a part that many of us have abandoned and forgotten. 

This is her on this part:

"Of all the ways I’ve been taught how to “pray”, I’ve found the most comfort in doing it this way – burning incense and appealing to my ancestors, and I can’t always be this open about it in my community. For the longest times we’ve been taught that this is a practice reserved strictly for Sangomas and traditional healers (who are always associated with witchcraft) and I’m learning that this isn’t true."

I’m enjoying part 1 and 2 as I eagerly await the final part of the intimate strangers series.

Check her out everywhere on the internet: @where_it_rains on Instagram and www.whereitrains.wordpress.com


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