Alice Mann
Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1991, Alice Mann is a South African photographer who’s intimate portraiture essays explore notions of picture making as an act of collaboration, presenting viewers with empowering images that highlight her subjects’ dignity and confidence. After graduating with a BA photography major from the University of Cape Town’s fine Arts Department, Mann has been based in London and continues to be informed by social climates in both spaces. Creating projects over extended periods is critical to her practice and she aims to deeply engage and form ongoing relationships with her subjects over time, which enables her to construct nuanced portraits that challenge one-dimensional stereotypes. The recipient of the 2018 Joan Wakelin bursary, her work is increasingly being exhibited internationally and has been featured in numerous publications. She is currently working toward the publication of her first monologue.
These images focus on the drum majorettes at Dr Van Der Ross Primary School, located in one of the poorest areas of Cape Town, where gang violence and drug abuse is prevalent. At the school and in the wider community, there is an aspirational culture around school’s team, affectionately known as the ‘drummies’. While there have been various debates around the notions of femininity that drum majorettes represent, in a number of marginalised communities across South Africa, there are schools where is taken seriously as a highly competitive sport. For the girls at this school, being a ‘drummie’ is a privilege and an achievement, indicative of success on and off the field. It gives them a positive focus and sense of belonging, providing them with structure in a community where opportunities are limited. As a female-only sport, ‘Drummies’ is vehicle through which they can excel, and the distinctive uniform serves as a visual marker of this perceived success and emancipation from their surroundings. This is part of my on-going work exploring notions of femininity and empowerment in modern society, and with my continuing investigation into this subculture, I hope to communicate the pride and confidence that these girls have achieved through identifying as ‘drummies’ in a context where they face many social challenges.

The Addis Foto Fest (AFF) was established in 2010 by award-winning photographer and cultural entrepreneur, Aida Muluneh. The festival is organized by Desta for Africa Creative Consulting PLC. AFF is a biennial international photography festival held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has previously featured exhibitions, portfolio reviews, conferences, projections and film screenings in many different renowned venues. It is also the first and only international photography festival in East Africa.