Mkuze – Kwazulu-Natal

In 2013 I photographed the wild life and tribal life along the Mkuze River and environs of northern Zululand. Setting out to explore and capture the complex ecosystem surrounding the Mkuze River as it winds its way through world famous nature reserves and tribal community land, supporting a diverse array of people and wildlife. I witnessed first hand, the friction brought about by increased population, and unsustainable subsistence practices, in an environment.

Process statement:
All prints are printed with archival pigment inks on 100% cotton rag paper. Each print is part of a numbered limited edition, signed and embossed in the front lower margin. This giclée print is a 100% archival, using both archival paper and inks.

Title: Target rhino

Near the top of the illegal wildlife shopping list is rhino, or more specifically, rhino horn, the brutal demand for which is driven by the market in South East Asia and enabled by local poaching networks. Merely providing the co-ordinates of a rhino to poachers is an extremely lucrative inducement for the greedy, or cash-strapped local inhabitant. The African population of the Black Rhino hit an all time low of 2,140 in 1995, and it is estimated that its numbers have declined by 97.7% since 1960.

Although one can take heart in the knowledge that their numbers have roughly doubled over the last 18 years (thanks to strategic capture, transportation, re-introduction, tracking and monitoring), these pre-historic animals are still considered to be critically endangered. More recently, Wildlife ACT has been involved in the relocation of 60 Black Rhino to safer environments. (Info as of 2013)

Size 1 .Paper size 800 x 600 mm. cat. 407.1.1 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.
Size 2. Paper size 1000 x 750 mm. cat. 407.1.2 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.
Size 3. Paper size 1200 x 900 mm. cat. 407.1.3 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.

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Title: Mkuze - Kwazulu Natal

Like the negatives on a contact sheet; people, their cattle and dogs are in close contact with the wilderness, a fragile ecosystem under pressure.

Size 1 .Paper size 700 x 500 mm. cat. 407.2. 1 artists proof.

Title: Nguni cattle vs Wildlife

The sun goes down on the sacred cow both literally and metaphorically. Although this beast cuts a lonely, albeit beautiful figure, he is in abundant company. In the Mkuze region, cattle and wildlife are in constant conflict over space and grazing. The demand for food and wealth for a growing human population causes a corresponding increase in the number of cattle.

Overgrazing in the tribal lands adjoining reserves means an ever-diminishing availability of lush grassland. As tracts of the land become untenable as sustenance for the cattle, barren landscapes become a feature of the area, and herdsmen start to eye the verdant herb on the other side of the fence. On the reserves, techniques are employed by strict game management to prevent over grazing.

Size 1 .Paper size 580 x 600 mm. cat. 407.3.1 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.
Size 2. Paper size 800 x 827 mm. cat. 407.3.2 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.
Size 3. Paper size 1000 x 1034 mm. cat. 407.3.3 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.

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Title: Zulu Shepherd boy

The Zulu Empire had expanded into what was a modest kingdom of the wildlands and hilly savannas of sub-tropical Southern Africa, before eventual succession to colonial Europe. Today, a repatriated KwaZulu-Natal stretches its provincial Eastern flank along a fluid border of warm Indian Ocean waters, from Port Edward to Mozambique. 21st century Zululand’s interior is one of verdant ecological diversity and abounds with wildlife reserves.

Some of the reclaimed tribal lands that abut these reserves present environmental sustainability and empowerment challenges. Whereas historically Zululand has been the scene of many consecrated battles, both internecine and international, these days the main threat is to its environment. Due to population increases and unsustainable subsistence practices, the topographical carrying capacity of the regions around the reserves is being stretched to the limit. When tribal communities join forces with initiatives that promote awareness and modern conservation techniques, the future for children in these tribes looks brighter.

Size 1 .Paper size 630 x 800 mm. cat. 407.4.1
Size 2. Paper size 800 x 1015 mm. cat. 407.4.2 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.
Size 3. Paper size 900 x 1142 mm. cat. 407.4.3 Edition of 8, with 3 artists proofs.

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