LITTLE CHILDREN OF THE SKY
shot on nikon d750
"Little Children of the Sky" is a documentation of the children I had the chance to meet while working in two crêches and one primary school in the Khula village in St. Lucia, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
Khula village is home to about 40,000 Zulu people and I am lucky enough to say I now know just a small portion of that population. My time spent in Khula mostly consisted of working at the Snenhahl crêche singing, playing, and teaching shapes, colors, numbers, and nutrition to 4-5 year olds. When I wasn't at Snen, I had the chance to teach middle-school-aged kids about climate change and their impact on the world and work at an after school club/reading club. 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 along with me.
Photographing the kids of Khula was an experience like no other. First of all, these children LOVE having their photo taken, so it made my job pretty easy.
A lot of people have mentioned that my time spent in Khula changed these kids for the better; but its quite the opposite. The kids of Khula have changed me for the better. Photographing these children taught me more than I thought it possibly could. The children in Khula are utterly free and I think everyone could learn a thing or two from them. Each of the kids that I met reminded me just how important it is to lose control and not always take life so seriously. My time spent in Khula will forever hold a special place in my heart and I already miss it (and these beautiful children) dearly. Saying goodbye to the kiddos at Snen was definitely one of the hardest things I have had to do but I was fortunate enough to spend a week traveling solo through Durban (a bigger city about 3 hours from St. Lucia) after leaving Khula which led me to the title of this work.
During a tour of Durban, I asked Ndu Nene, the tour guide, where the name "Zululand" comes from. Turns out, the word "Zulu" in Zulu language means "heaven". Ndu Nene then told me the whole origin story of the Zulu people which is when he talked about 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"; and as soon as
I heard this, I knew it would become the name 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.
I look forward to the day when I return to St. Lucia once more.