Lindokuhle Sobekwa | Nyaope

Country of origin: South Africa
Project location: South Africa
Program: Magnum Foundation Fund
Year: 2018

This project is a follow up from my first project, Nyaope, in which I documented a group of individuals in my home community of Thokoza, South Africa who are known to be Nyaope users. Nyaope is drug made up of a mixture of various potentially harmful ingredients such as rat poison, soap powder, as well as the main ingredients - antiretroviral medications and low-grade heroin. Users either smoke it inside a joint of dagga (marijuana) or inject the drug.

My goal with this chapter is to provide the community a different perspective about these often difficult, but loved people and documenting the details of their lives that outsiders would not necessarily associate with them. Drug users are often judged by the community and no one wants to listen to them. I collaborated with them to include personal stories that they wanted to share, which were often informed by their past predicaments. This process of working allowed me to know them better through the camera, and allowed my subjects to also narrate their own stories by including their testimonies.