Maubane was born and raised in Mafikeng, the North West. Her interest
in photography has seen her capturing images that explore concepts around
strangeness and foreignness, and how people come to function in new or
different spaces. She documents themes around displaced people.
On the projects she picks… I always investigate narratives that are personal and that I can relate to. For example, the series Resettlement — Passing Housing is a comparative photographic study exploring living spaces of student tenants in communes around Brixton, Johannesburg. During my varsity years, I was a tenant at the same commune for four years, and I noticed a
gradual change in how I moulded my personal space by positioning objects. I managed to create a house in one room by forming invisible walls subdividing the space.
On relating to her subjects… I don’t necessarily see myself in the people I photograph, but I can relate to them somehow. I have always had an interest in hair: at school I was the resident hairstylist, charging only R20 for cornrows. I made the connection after I spent months photographing women street
hairstylists in downtown Johannesburg. Seeing them work and interact with their clients reminded me of myself.
On her favourite image… My favourite image has to be from the series Woza Sisi. I captured three generations in one frame. The image depicts Rosetta the hairstylist doing a client’s hair and surrounded by her granddaughters. She shared many memories with me: having been based there for a while, she has seen Kerk Street Market evolve, structures being built, and shops coming and going.
On the hardest part of the shoot… The hardest part for me is approaching and introducing myself to a subject who has captured my eye. I am quite shy and I don’t take kindly to rejection. It takes a lot to come back after someone blatantly refuses for me to take an image of him or her. But one has to soldier on, and try to find another scenario.