Are we living on the same planet, but in different worlds? What does it mean to live in proximity to the centre of a city or on the margins of it? What kind of relationship do we form with our environment and the community of people living in it? These were the questions addressed during the photography workshops conducted by Lebohang Tlali and Khalid Amakran at Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam and Open Schoolgemeenschap Bijlmer.

The workshops are closely connected to the exhibition Welkom Today, on display now until October 13 at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Welkom Today began when Lebohang Tlali discovered the photobook Welkom in Suid-Afrika (1991) in which Dutch photographer Ad van Denderen and writer Margalith Kleijwegt documented the last days of apartheid. The book completely changed Tlali’s view on his own community – that of the South African mining town of Welkom and the neighbouring township Thabong – and he realised the power of photography as a social tool.

In 2017, Lebo, Ad and Margalith travelled to Welkom and Thabong together to show Van Denderen’s photos for the first time in the place where they were taken and give photography workshops in three secondary schools with diverse student populations: Theto High, Welkom Gimnasium and Goudveld Hoërskool.

Welkom Today @ Amsterdam Zuid(oost) brought the workshops to Amsterdam schools in April and May of this year. Both the Dutch and South African students produced excellent work, showing with imagination, integrity and courage their view on ‘separate worlds’. The work is published in a free newspaper, part of the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum and is on display in a pop-up exhibition in front of CBK Zuidoost from July 4 until August 5. In addition, workshop participants will take portraits at Kwaku Photo Studio, lead by Lebohang Tlali, at Kwaku Summer Festival on July 13 and 14 from 14.00 – 19.30. This work will be included in the CBK Zuidoost exhibition as of July 20. The programme also includes Kwaku Conversation, a discussion on the theme of ‘separate worlds’ and access to the city from a diverse and young perspective on July 13 at 15.00 at Bijlmer Parktheater.

In September we look forward to welcoming the South African students to Amsterdam! More information about their visit to come.

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