By: Onawanda Mpanza
Lungelo Mbulwana, 37, born in Eastern Cape, Lusikisiki. Raised up by his grandmother. Began photography at the tender age of 15. He borrowed a camera from his father, who also does photography as a hobby. It was during those times when photographers suddenly boomed and it was an in thing to get a photo of yourself especially in the village.
As young as he was, it is quite something that he went into the venture. It’s like we were being shown a brink of his determination and go-getter mindset. In school when they were asked what does he want to be and study for, he would say photography.
The teachers and school kids would have a good laugh at him everytime but he thought to himself, they lacked understanding regarding the broadness of photography. They limited it to what he was doing in the village but little did they know, he would reach great heights with his passion.
In high school it even kept his pockets full, he never had need for money, check that. He moved to Johannesburg in 2002, hoping he would study towards photography but the fees were too high. He opted for Electrical engineering and did it for a year. Following year, he quit because he got a camera imaging learnership at Market Photo workshop. In 2011 he went into the photojournalism and documentary programme from then, he soared.
2012 he won an award in New York for top honours at Eddie Adams photographic workshop. He was part of the 100 students around the world that were chosen, look at that. A guy that followed his passion from a tender age and never gave up amidst challenges and mockery was now reaping juicy fruit.
Passion doubled with hard work brings success and his employment record speaks for itself. He has worked for The Times, City Press, Beeld and now is a photographer at one of the biggest broadcasters in our country, the SABC. Working for one of the biggest broadcasters hasn’t made him rest on his laurels, oh no! His achievements related to his career are an honourable mention, Open Photo in 2014 and being a finalist in the German development media awards in 2013.
His hobby also happens to show his disciplined character. Last year, he was in the top 10 for Orlando half marathon. Definitely is an achiever and evidently super focused in everything he does. And as if he hasn’t got enough on his hands, he wants to give back to the community by teaching photography and do motivation.
His star definitely will rise more. He isn’t just a man looking out for himself but he remembers where he came from and is willing to share his skills and motivate those that need it. South Africans and the world at large, we better be watching this South African, 2018 and beyond!