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Thandeka Cochrane

First Prize - 'Hands/Manja' (a triptych)

For my fieldwork I spent one and a half years living with the Tonga people on the northern lake shore of Lake Malawi. The Tonga predominantly live in rural spaces, and in these spaces they do almost everything by hand. Hands are central to Tongan life: hands are used for sowing, reaping, harvesting, cooking, building, caring - they pluck, dry, clean and pound the cassava, they catch and clean the fish that feeds the families, they mould the bricks and thatch the roofs that make homes, they are clasped together in thanks and held out in greeting. Every day these hands are worked hard, touching, holding, moving, meeting. They are a key medium through which people both engage in their world, and create and shape it. In a world of 'hand-made' living, and a world of deep communicating, hands became for me a central space in which people's way of living was expressed. These three photos depict hands and food, and the ways in which people's hands are intimately interwoven in their food practices. 

 

Thandeka1Nkhulu: 

A young boy holds up an nkhululuthat he pulled out of its hole in the ground. Young children enjoy digging nkhululuout of the ground, which are then plucked of their wings and legs and fried up as a delicacy. 

 

THscaled 9pc A3 1b.Centre   Eating sima

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Sima:

Sima, a hard cassava or maize porridge, is the staple food of the Tonga. Simais eaten at least once a day, if not twice, with a little 'relish', such as fish or cassava leaves, on the side. Simais served in big dollops on one central dish, making eating simaan important communal practice in which families come together to share food. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TH9pc scaled A3 1c.Right   NkunguNkungu:

A grandmother sorts through a bowl of nkungu(Lake Flies). These flies are seen in huge swarms over the lake. Sometimes these swarms come to land, sending all the village women rushing out to catch them in grass baskets. Once caught, the older women sort through the flies taking out twigs and unwanted bits. The flies are then made into 'meat patties' which are eaten with great enjoyment.