“There is always a reason for people not to come out and talk about these issues, so my work is intended to spark conversation surrounding this particular issue.”- Kefilwe Monosi
Photojournalist with The Botswana Gazette Kefilwe Monosi has, through a powerful photo exhibition, captured how depression affects people of different backgrounds in a series of pictures which documents their torment in a powerful and thought-provoking way, to raise awareness about the condition.
Monosi partnered with the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre during the Mental Health Awareness Day last week to highlight challenges which affect the personal and professional lives of people with depression. The exhibition turned out to be a genuine representation of real life struggles the people she documented go through.
“I feel like people in our community don’t want to talk about mental health issues more especially that they are stigmatized. There is always a reason for people not to come out and talk about these issues, so my work is intended to spark conversation surrounding this particular issue,” she said.
The photographs she took of eight different people suffering from depression, she says, is part of her progressive project in which she uses her talent as a professional photographer to explore and raise awareness on social issues especially those that are not given due recognition. She says that she jumped at the opportunity to use pictures to share her work with Batswana in hope that her exhibition will help combat stigma and discrimination around mental health issues because pictures can easily communicate to a wider audience.
“Why mental health issue? I mean look at people in our work place, home, community who lose their jobs and personal lives to mental health illness and it’s not talked about, look at friends we have who have gone through depression and they didn’t want to come out to say this is what is going on. I chose mental health illness because I feel it’s another social issue that is suffering from stigmatization,” she said.
Last year, Monosi undertook another photo exhibition project that raised awareness on another stigmatization social issue; Gender Based Violence (GBV). She says the project will make a comeback this year to continue where she left off last year.
“I have no idea what my next project will be but GBV project that I started last year is coming back end of year. I appreciate having a platform to start conversations on these issues. To be honest it fulfills me. I just want us to live in a community where we can talk about any issue because issues need to be discussed and talked about to come up with solutions, molemo wa kgang o kgonwa ke go buiwa,” she said.