Lwazi Sijaji

a Moment…

It was a part of me and I was part of it. I felt it as soon as I saw it. I wanted it more than anything, it felt as though my very existence depended on it. This longing gnawed at me, haunting me in my sleep and upon my wakening. 

A simple walk or a long drive became a lifetime journey of great stories; like a continuous song. What my eyes recorded, my mind created but my physical could not produce, I simply had no means to. The ability without the machine was frustrating. The helplessness, feeling incomplete – I hated that, as though my very person needed an extension. 

So I did what most of us do. I carried on as though life was a mind full of stories never to be told. So much of it lived around me but I couldn’t have it, it was everywhere, and I knew it but yet could not own it. Maybe I was scared, terrified of what I was capable of, but still, there it was, gazing at me. I guess when you want something strong enough, it eventually finds its way to you. I kept thinking and dreaming, amused myself from all the stories told by His creation; the trees, the sunsets, the ocean and how they would constantly invite me to fellowship.

For a moment, I had become my perfect imagination. The best fantasy, the greatest story ever told – and yet reality was a nightmare.

I have a vivid recollection of walking into a room, bursting with like-minded individuals who were capturing moments. They had crazy amazing gadgets, dressed the same, and spoke the same language. They were one spirit, one mind, one people. They were an exciting lot, and appeared to be free from the one load that had burdened me, their stories were being told. They were a kult. One I wanted to belong to. As fate would have it, it brought me face to face with this particular one photographer. He seemed different, more experienced, older. His gadgets were mechanically challenged. Where most had the latest technology, his were old, torn and broken, they appeared to be custodians of many stories. He spoke many words about light, speed, image, and colour. I drank from his well of wisdom as he spoke more about life, loss, sacrifice, and the fundamental role of the photographer in telling a story… I don’t recall all the words, but I learned about the power of a camera becoming an extension of a man and in that moment, I found my peace of mind. Now, the world looks and feels different. Every moment is a story waiting to be told.

“…creativity is a series of moments that define our ability and courage to become…”

– Dedicated to the fires that devastated the Western Cape, 2017