Photography School in Khayelitsha

€5,010 of €10,000 goal

Raised by 61 people in 9 months

Help us start a Photography and Videography school in Khayelitsha!


Ekse Lens is a social and educational project aiming at empowering talented youth from the townships through the visual arts.

Ekse Lens's primary objective is to shape the visual storytellers of tomorrow.  With a Network of local and international photographers and filmmakers, we are opening a school, teaching photography and videography in Khayelitsha.


South Africa is a land of contrast. Even if Apartheid ended more than 20 years ago, inequalities are still immense and more than 40% of the country's population live in townships and informal settlements.

Khayelitsha is the fastest growing township in South Africa, with more than 2 million people living in it as of 2017. Despite the high population in this area of Cape Town, there is no real form of Tertiary education. In Khayelitsha, as in many townships around the country Youth unemployment reaches more than 60%.

Learning photography and videography here as in the rest of the world is very costly, and can be a long process (most universities have degrees of 2 to 3 years). Lack of ressources shouldn't be the main barrier stopping talented young people from achieving their dreams.

Cape Town is famous for being one of the world's top location for shoots (commercials, feature films...), due to the diversity of the landscapes of the region, the incredible light and skilled professionals.
By training young people from the townships we aim at changing the proffessional landscape of the mother city, making it reflect more what South African society is about.

By creating a network of photographers and filmmakers based in Khayelitsha our goal is to make sure that jobs happening there will be done by locals and that more stories from the townships can be created through the eyes of people from there.
We want to empower young people to tell their own narratives through their own lenses, beautifying their areas and creating positive stories, thus participating in changing the perception the world has of their community.

30659414_15337339250_r.jpegThe rest of our team is a mix of local and international photographers, filmmakers as well as social entrepreneurs.


We will be holding a 6 month hands-on free training program, during which our students will learn everything they need to become free-lance photographers and filmmakers. Our program will go through as many different aspects of our trade as possible to make them versatile enough to adapt to the needs of clients as well as to be able to see what part of the trade they are most interested in.

We have created a network of local and international photographers and filmmakers willing to give some of their time and expertise to train our students. Each "Mentor" will be focusing on his area of expertise making sure our students get the best hands on experience on each field of the trade.

For example a fashion photographer will take our students through his art, a portrait photographer will teach them how to shoot the best portraits, a filmmaker specializing in music videos will go through the process and shoot a music video with them..

We will divide the 6 months in two, the first half being photography and the other half videography, and will also be holding workshops on additional skills such as how to create a portfolio, how to prepare for an interview, how to approach clients and how to organize and curate your own exhibition.

Our aim is to make sure that by the time our students graduate, they are equipped with all the skills needed to start working in the industry.


We are partnering with various production companies, and will assist our students in finding internships and/or jobs once they graduate. We are also aiming at creating a production company based in Khayelitsha, run by both students and mentors and linked to the school.

All our "Mentors" are giving their time on a voluntary basis and none of them will be paid.

Our lessons will be taking place twice a week, in Khayelitsha. We have partnered with a local library giving us access to a room as well as with some community projects which will allow us to work from their grounds. We will be holding lectures in the library but most of our lessons will be practical and focusing on applying what the students will have learnt in the lectures.

We will start the first year with 6 students. Starting with a small number of students will allow us to make sure we are able to give them the best training possible in the short ammount of time we will have.
Of course as time goes by we would like to grow and be able to teach more students at a time, and in the long run more subjects. The long term goal is to be able to start a free Arts University in Khayelitsha, teaching many different skills, Film, Photography, Music, Acting, Dance... To be able to create this dream we need to build a strong base, and this is what we want to achieve through Ekse Lens.


To make this a reality we need to be able to access some basic gear. The place from which we will be teaching is given to us free of charge, so the only real costs are the ones involving the gear.

We want to start with some simple gear, basic but good enough to be able to create professional material. We set our goal to 10 000 euros to be able to buy what we need. This will help us to buy 3 cameras, three laptops and a few lenses, as well as cover fuel expenses for our mentors and insure our gear.

We would like the school to be as independent as possible and not have to rely on hiring gear.

Our goal is not set in stone, and the main objective is to be able to start the program. If we don't manage to reach the 10000 euros, we will just adapt our gear list to be able to start teaching!

Gear donations are of course more than welcome as they will help us reduce our needs drastically!

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Once again we would like to thank all of you for taking part of this journey we are starting with Ekse Lens. Without your participation we wouldn’t have been able to start this initiative, and we are forever grateful for this!

First of all let us apologise for the lack of communication. We have been quite busy in the past months with finalising the selection of our students, our teachers, as well as perfecting the course outline making it fit best what we want to achieve.

With this year coming to an end, we see a chapter closing, a long and arduous one, two years of trying to figure out how we could start this school, two years of meeting people, discussing, brainstorming, creating amazing connections, getting support from many individuals and entities, doubting ourselves but never giving up.

We are now ready to face 2019 head on. Our students have been selected, our teachers as well. The classes will officially start on the 19th of January, just a few weeks from now, and this is all thanks to you!

We will send another newsletter in the coming weeks to introduce you to them. We are also now going to update all of you more frequently, so that you can all see how this first session of Ekse Lens is unfolding.

We wish all of you an amazing start of 2019. May this new year be full of success, love and happiness.

Much Love and Gratitude,

The Ekse Lens Team
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€5,010 of €10,000 goal

Raised by 61 people in 9 months
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Magali Bertrand
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