Viral ‘Albany Girl’ photographer’s latest series illuminates a heartfelt mission

Lungisani Mjaji, celebrated for his portrait of the three-year-old “Albany Girl”, has come full circle with his latest photo series, shedding light on a reality faced by countless South African learners on their daily trek to school. 

"Viral Albany Girl" with a albany bread in her hand smiling at someone. Girl dressed in a blue dress with leaf pattern on it.

Shoprite approached Lungisani to document its Act For Change shoe drive, which aims to provide 7 500 pairs of school shoes to those in need.

Growing up in KwaNongidi in KwaZulu-Natal, Lungisani remembers walking to school barefoot during his formative years. Recalling how weather and circumstances impacted his confidence and academic performance, he understood the significance of this initiative on a personal level. 

“When I heard about the initiative, I felt an immediate connection. It resonated deeply with my experiences and the daily prayer I held as a child.”

Since his rise to fame, Lungisani has been using social media to tell authentic South African stories through his camera lens. His latest photo series centres around the daily journey of 7-year-old Snenhlanhla Nkosi, who is enrolled in Grade 1 in Middleburg. Little did she know that she would become one of the learners to receive a new pair of school shoes from Shoprite.

The shoes are crafted from 100% recycled and recyclable materials including non-hazardous medical waste like drip bags and tubing. They provide durability, waterproofing and recyclability. Moreover, the process significantly reduces healthcare waste in landfills. 

“Snenhlanhla’s story serves as a representation of the challenges faced by many young learners across the country. By sharing the story of one young girl, we hope to inspire more South Africans to join hands with us and act for change,” says Maude Modise, general manager of Enterprise & Supplier Development at the Shoprite Group.

Click here for a visual journey into Snenhlanhla’s world and to learn more about the initiative.

Leave a Comment