Visiting Kliptown, Soweto for Help Portrait

I’ve been MIA for a week – my 3rd internet bandwith top up ran out, but that’s another story

At the weekend I was invited by Karen from Story of Bing to visit Kliptown to watch her shoot for Help Portrait.  It is a fantastic initiative where volunteers go into townships, squatter camps etc to take pictures of underprivileged children and adults, then print out the pictures to present to them at the next visit.  Remember, some of these people have never had a photo of themself.  Read Bing’s posts about Help Portrait here.  We were hosted by Kliptown Youth Project which is a fantastic community project providing the children of Kliptown with educational support and activities to get involved in

Whilst I didn’t shoot, I did make myself useful by entertaining the kids whilst they were waiting for their photo.  It was an extremely tiring but hugely fun experience

Cart-wheel and hand-stand competitions.  Check out the one handed version!  Pretty impressive.  This guy was such an acrobat.  Not Rob obviously.  He nearly broke his back…..


 Staring competitions.  I’m not sure who laughed first

Face making competitions

Jumping high fives

Eating ice pops is a very serious and enjoyable business in this heat!

Climbing frame modelling

and various modelling on the ground poses

With all of this fun going on, we completely forgot that there were some photographers hard at work

and they had to shoot all of these people.  They seriously deserve a pat on the back as there were only 3/4 of them shooting

The few hours that we were there were so amazing.  The enthusiasm and happiness coming from the kids was so infectious – I felt young again for at least an hour!  It is easy to forget that most (if not all) of these kids have no access to electricity or running water at home, and it makes what Kliptown Youth Project do even more admirable.  They survive on donations, so should you feel the urge to donate please check out their page here.  Even if you are not in a position to donate, check out their page to see what they do.  It’s inspiring

The cherry on the cake was that we were treated to an amazing song and dance show by the KYP performers.  They use the act for fundraising, and by the end of the year will have been to China and Ireland to perform and fundraise.  The performance was so moving – the singing was so beautiful and the dancing was awesome.  At some points I couldn’t stop grinning, and at others I was choking back tears.   They are very talented young men

Thanks to Help Portrait and KYP for having us – we had an unforgettable day.  I was bitten by the Help Portrait bug and promptly signed up to a photography course!

I took a lot more photos that you can check out at

The photos below were taken by some of the kids with my camera


6 thoughts on “Visiting Kliptown, Soweto for Help Portrait

    • Thanks Stanley. It really was great to meet you and see what goes on behind the scenes at a shoot. I can assure you that in the not too distant future I will have a handle on my equipment and will be your willing slave!

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