Welcome in Pontseng – An immersive photography travel in Sotho homeland

An ambitious photographic project to document life and history of a very ancient tribe of Africa!

The Sotho people are one of the most important ethnic groups in South Africa whose homeland is Lesotho, a kingdom located in the Drakensberg Mountains, entirely surrounded by South Africa and alongside the Free State province.

On the road to Durban

Due to the successive wars against the Zulus and Boers expansion attempts in the 19e century, some groups of Sotho people migrated north up to Zambia and beyond toward the west. That’s why Sotho people are now spread over a very large territory of Southern Africa, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean

Origins of the project and purpose of the photographic work

I went first in South Africa in July 2014 to make contact. I then met a business man living in Johannesburg wishing to document the life and history of his village. This man is Mesotho (meaning is part of the Besotho tribe) and his village is located in the heart of the Sotho area, close to the Lesotho country. He told me a lot about his village, his family and the history of his tribe and we decided to document this story.

I then went back again end of 2014 in South Africa with the purpose to stay 2 weeks in his village during Christmas and New Year holidays to meet his family and clan and take photographs of the living and of the people there.

The day of departure arrived

And the D-Day arrived!

The day has come!

With almost 2 days late, the car was full of goods and purchases for Christmas. As this is a remote village, every member of the family needs to bring food and stuff for the time of holydays. The car is an old but reliable Pajero that is useful to drive on the dirty tracks around of the village.

Countryside of Johannesburg

As we leave 2 days after the beginning of the holidays, the traffic is fluid and we don’t waste time within traffic jam. That’s a good thing because you can be stuck hours on the road just to drive 10km. It’s 3PM when we leave and we have more than 700 km to drive, 4 hours on the highway and 4 more on the road across the mountains.

More than the night, our travel has been slowed down by the mist and the rain we faced in the mountains. We could hardly see the road more than 10m away and driving was almost dangerous. Then, in the middle of the night, after 10 hours drive we arrived in the dark village without any light…

Read the full story here!

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