AboLova: celebrating the youth’s vision of South Africa

Since the release of Black Panther (2018), South Africa, and Africa as a continent, have been thrust into the spotlight, making cultural globalisation as prevalent as ever. The glamorisation of African culture and the fantasy-like lifestyles depicted in the movie have fuelled both global and local creators towards producing works more in the realms of afro-punk, afro-futurism, and the like. However, the rise in popularity of afro-centric work is not without a grain of salt. These genres don’t show what life on the African continent is really like, and no, we’re not talking about those poverty-stricken refugee camps supported by UN humanitarians.

 

AboLova. A young bearded man wearing a bucket hat and a red t-shirt poses under a floral read and white cloth.       AboLova. Two young men in casual clothes stare at the camera while sitting on a wooden couch draped in red linen.

 

As an art collective based in Soweto, AboLova’s themes revolve around the harsh realties and constant struggles of South African youths in today’s society, including lack of access to education and youth unemployment. Their work aims to showcase a juxtaposition between what the kasi is known to be and what they want it to be.

 

AboLova. Two young men face the sun and stare into the camera while posing on a patch of sandy earth.AboLova. Two people hold hands above the camera as it looks up into a power line tower.

 

AboLova. A young man lies on a tar road and looks backwards towards the camera through a TV frame.AboLova. Two young people in fashionable clothing and sunglasses sit and pose while holding traditional objects.

 

Starting as a passion project for a group of six friends, AboLova serves both as a creative outlet and a constant reminder to be unapologetically true to your roots. Through photography as a medium, AboLova constantly seeks to rebel against township stereotypes and also represent the new-age kids through their lens.

For them, it’s about celebrating how unique they are in their ordinariness and appreciating the simple things in life. One of the key things about their work is that they’re adamant that you don’t need to have advanced technology or hyper-fashion to make something amazing.

 

AboLova. A group of young people stand at the doors of an orange shipping container.AboLova. A young man in a red cap and blue t-shirt sits and stares into the distance, his back facing the yellow wall of a building. Another man can be seen in the background..

 

A young person in a hat and sunglasses looks into the sun, a leopard print cloth around them.AboLova. A young man in a white t-shirt and teal windbreaker leans on a store's cooldrink fridge and stares into the camera.

 

AboLova‘s work uplifts and inspires the ulova (the unemployed youth). AboLova represents the realities of South African youths; they’re showing what life is like for the new kids on the block; what it means to be ulova, and that you don’t have to stay ulova. That you can always reach for the stars.

AboLova is showing the world that Africa is not just about the stereotypical photos of kids begging for food, or those American movies about high-tech, fantasy countries hidden in the heart of Africa.

Keep up with AboLova on instagram.

 

 

Mei graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a BA Honours in Communication Design. She began her career in advertising but has since focused on branding after joining HKLM as a junior designer, expanding her knowledge in design towards brand building and craft.

Mei Lee

Mei graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a BA Honours in Communication Design. She began her career in advertising but has since focused on branding after joining HKLM as a junior designer, expanding her knowledge in design towards brand building and craft.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: