Andriesvale A photography project by Thom Pierce

In 1995 a group of Khoi-San, an ethnic group from south-western Africa made a claim to the South African government for the return of the land from which their ancestors were forcibly moved to make way for the Gemsbok National Park. To strengthen the claim, they invited others with demonstrable lineage to form a new clan called Khomani. In 2002 this new “community” was awarded land ownership in the park, although denied the right to live there. In its place they were given the right to live a traditional lifestyle on farmland near the park borders but without support from the government.

The most populated of these farms is Andriesvale. In the middle of the Kalahari Desert, it is 180km to the nearest town and hospital. Contrary to popular belief, even the most traditional of the Khomani do not live in skins, journeying out to hunt wild animals and gather plants. Instead, they wait for the change they have been promised – the electricity, houses and services that they still expect but have so far been denied. The animals that they would like to hunt are inside the park and the little money that they have comes in the form of small government grants or inadequate wages from piecemeal employment.

The money doesn’t go far and is quickly used to support large extended families. It is spent on food, tobacco and alcohol from the bottle store that the nearby tourist lodge has conveniently opened to cash in on the vulnerability of the community.

This series is an exploration of the changing visual nature of identity, a challenging of redundant social stereotypes and a reminder of South Africa’s forgotten, First People.

Monthly Photo Contest

Color film portrait photograph of a young woman by Michelle Marshall
© Michelle Marshall

2021 Portrait AWARD Deadline: 31 May 2021

"In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Portrait photography has one of the oldest and most interesting histories that harkens back to the early days of the medium. Through portraits of iconic figures or ordinary people, we discover a deep interest in others.

Recent works or gems from your archives, classic or experimental, and through any kind of storytelling: we want to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography. We are open to all interpretations and want to see faces that gaze right into the soul!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

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