The Honey is a photo series that reads like a comic strip. It explores young black womanhood as power by artist Rendani Nemakhavhani, who teamed up with photographer Kgomotso Neto Tleane to create it. They chatted to Gugulethu Mhlungu about the project
‘The Honey is a seven-part photo story based on the life and parts of a journey of a black girl named Honey ... who lives outside of the typical expectation of how a black girl is supposed to behave,” says 25-year-old Joburg-born and raised Rendani Nemakhavhani about her latest project.
“I studied graphic design at the University of Johannesburg. I’ve always been interested in art and the creative industry. I’m a lecturer, illustrator as well as an art director by profession.”
The Honey has with her person, Gavini. This is where the male character is introduced. This is also where dialogue started happening in the series ... Chapter four is where Gavini proposes to Honey, and he is also seen leaving [the series].” But Nemakhavhani says this is not the end and more will follow soon. The imagery is richly shot and effectively showcases Honey’s narrative. One of the most potent images is in the first chapter, where we meet Honey brandishing a sjambok. From the beginning, we know she cannot be messed with. The collection has been in the making for nine months and the artists explain that “this particular story is important because it tells the tale of a girl whose reality surpasses modern-day expectations”. “When stories about our townships are told, they’re told from the perspective of hardship and not the glorious parts of what the township, and what its lifestyle, means to us – how it has moulded many of us. “The main question here becomes why our weaknesses or the things that break us are put on such a high pedestal. Why can’t we bask in our beauty as is, according to our own standards, and not those of the world? Honey is the girl who turns her not-so-great circumstances into gold.” The overarching theme in the work is unapologetic blackness, and dynamic and nuanced black women, and a book is being planned. Until then, you can follow the life and times of Honey at allhailthehoney.tumblr.com.