L I T T L E C H I L D R E N O F T H E S K Y
"Little Children of the Sky" is a documentation of the children I met while working in two crêches and one primary school in St. Lucia, Kwazulu-Natal. South Africa.
This village is home to about 40,000 Zulu people. I feel very lucky to be able to say that I now know a small portion of that population. My time spent in Khula mostly consisted of working at the crêche singing, playing, and teaching shapes, colors, numbers, and nutrition to 4-5 year olds. When I wasn't at the crêche, I had the opportunity to teach at the primary school about climate change and how each of them impact the world. Although most of my time in Khula was dedicated to volunteering with the education program, I was fortunate enough to be able to bring my camera with me to document the lives of the children in the village.
Many people have said that my time spent in Khula most certainly changed these kids for the better; however, the truth is quite the opposite. The kids of Khula have changed me for the better; they will forever be close to my heart.
Photographing these children taught me more than I thought possible. The children in Khula are less fortunate than the children I am used to photographing, and yet, they are utterly free—-of stress, anger, jealousy, and more. I think everyone could learn from them. Each of the kids that I met reminded me just how important it is to let go... to not always take life too seriously. My time spent in Khula will forever hold a special place in my heart and saying goodbye to them was definitely one of the hardest things I have had to do.
After my time spent volunteering, I was able to spend a week traveling solo through Durban (a bigger city about 3 hours from St. Lucia). This portion of my journey led to the title of this work.
During a tour of Durban, I asked my tour guide, Ndu Nene, from where the name "Zululand" comes. In the Zulu language, the word "Zulu" itself means "heaven.” Ndu told me the origin story of the Zulu people, and spoke of the story of "Aba Kwa-Zulu" and the naming of Zululand after the Apartheid in South Africa. "Aba Kwa-Zulu" translates to "Little Children of the Sky.” As soon as I heard this, I knew it would become the title of this body of work.
I will forever be thankful for my time spent in the Khula Village and for the life-changing interactions I had with each and every one of these beautiful Zulu children.