Being invited to speak at the Absa Gallery launching Reatile Moalusi’s solo exhibition titled “Molelo Wa Badimo?” was an honour. The Exhibition aimed at questioning the “myth” or misinterpretation behind Vitiligo in South Africa being “Fire of the Gods” I took the opportunity to voice out my experience of this condition leading to my self awareness and cosmic consciousness. Changing the narrative of defining Vitiligo is my biggest driver.

Speaking here was somewhat different than usual talks, i was on a platform that allowed me to speak my highest truth without boundaries and questions to structure the conversation. I was in an a room filled with Giants, people who have the same condition as me and most importantly, a place where we are being celebrated. This was so overwhelming as i have shared my story with so many people over and over again but this experience just made everything feel different… overwhelming with high vibrations, I CRIED! Being a key note speaker also gave me the opportunity to continue advocating how vitiligo woke me up to being self aware led me to living passionately.

More about the project: Pigment (Body of Work by Reatile Moalusi)

What inspired this campaign idea?

Pigment is the brainchild of Reatile Moalusi which is inspired by the existing project Complexion and is an extension of his umbrella vitiligo project – Molelo Wa Badimo. He has long since been passionate about vitiligo and after he saw the work that I had done on Spotted beauty at the coast with Tevin, he approached me with the idea titled Pigment which he had been working on.

Where was the campaign shot?

Pigment was shot in Orlando West, Soweto. Reatile found it important to relate the root of the Vitiligo campaign in a place that had brought so much change to South Africa; to almost tap into the energy the place brings about.

 

Why did you choose this location?

Orlando West, Soweto is a place that inspired the minds that brought about change. Dr Nelson Mandela, the father of our democracy. Despite the area being my place of residence we felt it would be ideal as the environment inspired social and and political change in the country.

Spotted Beauty collaborated with Reatile Moalusi on a series of photographs called Pigment. How did this come about?

Reatile Moalusi contacted me regarding his personal body of work that he had already been working on for several years. It is titled: Molelo Wa Badimo. It consists of Complexion and Pigment. He asked to photograph myself and Tevin as he has been photographing a lot of people with Vitiligo over the years.

The series is shot in black and white, what prompted this decision?

Molelo Wa Badimo, as a whole, Reatile Moalusi has been shooting in black and white for sometime now. He makes social commentary on the new South Africa. The notions that echo a fusion of opposites. The South Africa that’s grappling with a sense of identity, beauty in tonality and prefferencial treatment based on appearance.

What do you hope audiences will take away from viewing the work?

The series is meant to inspire an increased awareness on Vitiligo firstly, secondly to illustrate beauty in diversity by giving a voice to the silenced or ignored and misunderstood.

The Body of work is on Exhibition at the Absa Art Gallery 161 Main Street 5 May 2019 – 9 June 2019

Video: Mo Matli Visuals