My community is very poor and as a teenager I had to skip school most days to sell sweets & snacks in the local market to make money to buy food for my family. My mother worked away from home, so I was brought up by my grandmother. We used to watch wildlife programmes on the TV and we would always talk about each animal. That is what made me want to become a wildlife photographer. I dreamed of one day holding a camera, taking pictures and telling stories which would help to protect nature.
As a young black man it is very difficult, especially in South Africa. Not many black kids have been into the wildlife reserves and it is expensive to buy a camera and afford the transport and other costs; having food to eat is much more important. It was impossible for me to go to a game reserve and see wildlife, and I didn’t know anyone I could ask for help doing this.
We need more ways to help black people access wildlife. If this happens, I believe that good would come from it and our wilderness will be safer and healthier, as they would see how wonderful nature is and not want animals to be harmed.
Right now we have animals being poached and hunted for bushmeat, trees are being cut down for firewood and our water isn’t clean. White and black people should join hands to work together to help fight the problems we face.
I don’t want people to just see pictures of the wildlife we used to have, all because we didn’t know what to do or how to help.