This youth month we shine the spotlight on Lebo Lukewarm who is a world-renowned photographer and all around creative. This year and for the past 3 years, Lebo has been running a photographic series of youth month commemoration portraits that allow the youth of South Africa to pay homage to the youth of 76′.
On the 16th of June, we attended the #YouFought4Me session and got to sit down the man himself, Lebo. Here’s what he had to say about the initiative:
IceKream: The #YouFought4Me Campaign is one of the most creative ways to give the youth a platform to not only express their individuality but to also give thanks to the youth of 1976. What sparked this idea and how long has this campaign been running for?
Lebo: Well, when I started the #YouFought4Me campaign, it was mainly because two years it had been 40years since the youth of South Africa took to the streets for what they stood for. It was a very different time and a lot has changed, thanks to them. I guess I wanted to take my gift of storytelling and tell a new narrative. I wanted to show everyone what the youth of South Africa looks like now and how vibrant and diverse we have become, we have become a youth of self-expression, a youth with immense confidence and a powerful youth that will not be silenced or marginalized. The campaign is in its 3rd year and shows no signs of slowing down, as the youth gets stronger with each year.
IceKream: We’ve asked a number of people who’ve taken part what this campaign means to them and they’ve all mentioned that it allows them to showcase the essence of who they are while paying homage to the youth of 1976, how do you choose the theme every year? Last year it was black/gold, this year it was black or white. Is there a specific source of inspiration when it comes to the themes?
Lebo: The themes vary each year, but will always have the colour black as a base colour, mainly because the portraits have been black and white portraits, I don’t necessarily have a fixed, set in stone answer for why the themes and the source of inspiration, but I think it is mainly based on how I’m feeling at the time, because not only are these photos of people, these are also works of art and as an artist it is important for me to be able to creatively execute this vision.
IceKream: Lebo Lukewarm is one of the biggest names in the creative and entertainment industry, what message do you have for the youth of South Africa?
Lebo: I actually have a recurring answer to this question and that is; working on yourself is the most important work you’ll ever do. Work on your craft, be the best you can be and never let the opinions of others define you, you define yourself and your own success.
IceKream: Take us back to Lebo who is thirteen and has finally entered the teenage years, what advice would you give him?
Lebo: Haha! That the so-called friends that you have now, are not your whole entire world… people come and go, try to learn as much as you can from those who you can learn from, while you have them in your space. Oh! And you only get good at something if you keep at it!