In the nguni languages (isiZulu, isiNdebele and isiXhosa) the word ‘Isithunzi’ has a double meaning. Firstly it refers to a physical shadow - manifested as a dark area or shape produced by rays of light, and secondly it refers to the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.I am interested in interpreting the second definition of the word in the context of my own personal life experiences. The shadow (isithunzi) is a recurring element throughout the images, it is a catalyst of how I gain access to photograph people and spaces.Through this process, I interrogate interpretations and the meaning of image and identity in retrospect to my own surroundings. As a self-taught photographer I travel to spaces I have never once explored to document and diarise personal encounters and observations of everyday life. Through this project, I intend to explore the notions of identity and space in showcasing my own environment and my introspection of state and quality of black life in urban and township spaces. Well, it is easier to point a camera at a shadow than to a person.

Emmanuel Munano is a self-taught photographer based in Pretoria. Founded ‘STREET’ in 2013 as an online visual literacy platform.