Joburg photographer Jodi Bieber, top World Press Photo award-winner

“Once you put your work out there you can’t control how people respond, but you want a response.” Tuesday night we were listening to Jodi Bieber (no relation of Justin) talk about her photography at Vega’s Johannesburg Campus. Having just won one of photojournalism’s highest honours – the World Press Photo of the Year Award – seems to have left her largely unaffected. Proud of the achievement and the global focus that it has put on the plight of women under Taliban rule in Afghanistan she spent less time on the award than she did on talking about her personal portfolio of work, all set in South Africa. Continue reading

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang doesn’t answer

#170. Wonder what made Manto do it. What made her unravel on HIV/AIDS? I started thinking about this yesterday after I saw the news of her death on twitter and watched as a “robust debate” [early term Manto terminology] was stoked up between the RIP crew and the “Ding Dong the witch is dead” brigade. So far I haven’t joined either.

I interviewed her as she took office as Health Minister in Thabo Mbeki’s Cabinet. As the Sunday Times health correspondent then I also accompanied her and her health department delegation to Uganda to look at how that country was dealing with HIV/AIDS. I was impressed. She seemed compassionate, warm even [when she took office she was the equivalent (in Lord of the Rings speak at any rate) of Bilbo Baggins to her steely-eyed predecessor Nkosazana Zuma’s Sauron] and in Uganda, utterly committed to facing the challenges head on. And then … Continue reading