Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa - Creative Arts, Africa LGBTIQ, African Feminism, Assault on Dissent, Photography, Queer Politics, South Africa

Campaign to replace Zanele Muholi’s stolen photography equipment

On the 28th 26th April, Zanele returned home from Seoul, South Korea to discover that all her work between 2008 and 2012 stored on 20 hard drives and including backups had been stolen on the 20th. The thieves also stole her cameras, lens, memory sticks and laptops. There are no words to describe Zanele’s feelings at this time as an entire original archive of Black queer lesbian history has been destroyed and that impacts on all of us – makes invisible what Zanele has worked so hard to make visible and speak of through her photography.

 Palm Wine, a  LGBTI Nigerian group based in New York has begun an  Indiegogo campaign to raise funds and to replace her equipment – PLEASE watch the video and donate what you can

I”ve lost all the work I produced from 2008 – 2012. Also backups were stolen.
I thought of the day I spoke with another friend about alternative storage. Now it is too late.
I feel like a breathing zombie right now.
I don’t even know where to start. I’m wasted.
I’ve sent out a note to friends to tell them about the incident.

The person/s got access to the flat via the toilet window, broke the burglar guard and got away with my cameras, lenses, memory cards and external hard drives, laptop, cellphones…
Whoever ransacked the place got away with more than 20 external hard drives with the most valuable content I’ve ever produced

I am hoping that a few of my good friends are willing to go to pawn shops or to other places where this type of equipment is sold. I do not even want to know who the thief is.


  1. I am so sorry my friend, what a loss, I will talk to people I know that side to help in anyway they can do. Stay Strong Zan.

  2. Dianne Shaw

    So sorry to hear about everything being stolen, what a terrible loss, I shall pass on the word and see if I can do anything to help you, stay strong beautiful lady, much love Dianne

  3. Lesley

    Saw you ‘live’ for the first time last Thursday in Woodstock at Ikhaya Photo Exhibition – What you and Lindeka opened up for those young women in Khayalitsha moved me to tears! Their deep love and respect for you was palpable!
    All you incredible media artists are making visible those invisible, the marginalized front and centre and the victims our lesbian (S)heroes!!
    THANK YOU for your BIG heart and your incredible art! I will definitely keep my eyes and ears open and will spread the word!

  4. Hello:

    I will be in New York City until 22 May. B&H photo/video is a major photography supply shop here and, while I do not have means to donate to this worthy cause, I would be happy to bring items to South Africa when I return. They will be far less expensive than in South Africa. I will only need to be reimbursed.

    Please let me know by this weekend, as I will need time to do the shopping.


  5. I am so sorry for ur loss Zanele will keep my eyes and eyes open for anything that might help

  6. So sooo sorry. Is there a list of pawn shops that people have been to to look for these drives and other equipment? I have some time to go through pawn shops in town tomorrow…

  7. The work this woman has done is beautiful amazing and inspiring. The problem is i have heard what happened to her has been largely ignored by the media considering the magnitude. We spreading the word this side like wild fire. Its such a BS that this happened. Sorry for your loss Zanele….

  8. Keba Authentic Light

    I’m still shocked, and angered at the ignorance and hate. The evil we still suffer at the hands of mankind is disturbing. Not only your hard work and dedication was stolen, but your love, dream, vision for all. You’re one of a kind my sister, my friend and mentor. You have my love and support, anything to bring back your peace and joy, i’m behind. I pray that God intervene in the most omnipotent way ever, for with Him nothing is impossible. I believe, stay strong ZaMu you’re not alone.

  9. Rosa

    Terrible, my dear. Terrible.