With her series Being, photographer Zanele Muholi wishes to make a contribution towards equal rights for lesbians in South African society.
While protected by law, lesbians are often discriminated against in daily life, and frequently face acts of violence such as the so-called “corrective rape.” Muholi’s portraits of lesbian couples do not counter this discrimination accusingly or defiantly, but rather confront the negative connotations attributed to homosexuality in most of South Africa with positive values and associations. In her pictures as in life, homosexual love is beautiful – and it is also real. Muholi categorizes her work as visual activism: whatever the underlying factors may be, communities on the fringe of society lack visual presence, which the photographer wishes to highlight with her images. With Being, Muholi brings to public perception the existence, aspirations and needs of the South African lesbian community.