“My Name is Siboniso Mncube and I’m a self-taught photographer. I was born in Kagiso, a beautiful but slightly rural township in the West of Johannesburg, South Africa.  My whole existence has always been around its circumference. It’s a relatively small township in comparison to the likes of Soweto, Ekurhuleni and Alexander, but I’ve always known that life in the township is more or less the same everywhere.

‘Silhouette Sunsets’ is a body of work of mine that was inspired by one of my earliest career dreams to shoot travel photography. Never having travelled before, I decided to take a photo walk through my own township instead. I was recently a part of a creative learnership at Umuzi Photo Club, where I got to harness my skills as a photographer. A few weeks after completing the program and having documented Jeppestown for a whole year, I was back at home again with a lot of time on my hands. That’s when I decided to start a new body of work that was centred more on my own community. I was now faced with the enduring task of capturing beautiful images from the township that I’ve grown so accustomed to. Being familiar with the place made it difficult for me to somehow draw inspiration from it because I first had to detach myself from my surroundings to see its authentic beauty again. ‎

Not long before I started the photo series, I was watching an American television series called ‘Storm Chasers’ which follows a group of weather reporters as they chase tornadoes for the weather channel. The thrill and passion that drove their quest was what sparked my idea for ‘Silhouette Sunsets.’ Although tornadoes are weather conditions that are not common in South Africa, I could still relate to the concept. In South Africa, we are situated in a ‎sub-tropical topical region because we have warm, temperate conditions, so I easily refocused my efforts into something less destructive like sunsets. 

At first, I shot a few images that had no connection to sunsets. It was only a month later that I realised that the connection missing to the pieces I was capturing was human subjects. I then explored the idea further by shooting silhouette portraits of everyday people who live in Kagiso and I used the sunset as a backdrop. Some of my portraits were candid and others were premeditated, but they each had a story to tell or a life experience to share about the Township. Their true narratives is what makes this project truly worth it and rewarding for me.”