“Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.” Gudani is a true testament to this. The 26-year-old is a transgender woman from a township called Braamfischerville in South Africa. The area was developed in 1999. She lives in a two-roomed government house with her mother, her sister, and young brother. In 2018 Gudani went to initiation school for a year, as she had a spiritual calling from her ancestors. Gudani has identified as a woman all her life. She lives as a transgender person in the most hostile area when it comes to homophobia. But this does not make Gudani hide from their true self and identity. They walk the streets with a head held up high, and at every corner a compliment, stares, and negative comments await. Her being spiritually gifted adds to the hostility because society has long frowned upon people who are gifted and connect with the ancestral realm. They are oftentimes called witches or dirty people who harm. But there is real healing in the spiritual realm. It is also where Gudani finds her refuge and peace. Her spirituality affirms her sexuality. “Gender in African spirituality does not exist. My spiritual anchor is a woman, she lives inside of me and I am her. I live my life the way I please.” says Gudani
I am interested in following Gudani and telling her story in a strong visual documentary. Following her through her daily activities and making strong portraits of her. The aim is to educate the immediate community around Gudani. Once the work is done it will be exhibited at a gallery in the Braamfischerville area called Mandebele Photo Gallery. We want the community to be able to engage in the work and Gudani.