A couple of days before the opening of Brighton Photo Biennial 2014, I participated in the press tour traveling around Brighton and Hove and met with the various photographers and curators taking part in the festival. After a long day we ended up at Circus Street Market to listen to the photographers Kalpesh Lathigra and Thabiso Sekgala and curator John Fleetwood discuss their recent project A Return to Elsewhere, co-commissioned by the British Council Connect ZA programme with Photoworks, Market Photo Workshop and The Space.
Our meeting effectively brought to an end a busy day and we all retired to a nearby pub for a well deserved drink. Of course once the conversation began it was hard to stop, and though Celia, Helen, Kalpesh, John and the others all had to leave, myself and Thabiso remained seated and continued drinking and chatting for several hours later. It may have been only the one meeting, but we bonded over our beers and upon departing made plans to catch up again the following evening. Thabiso had a cold, and my plans altered, so neither of us managed that second rendezvous.
It was with immense shock and sadness to find out that that was to be the first and last time we would get to share stories and laughter. This friendly, talented and erstwhile character was to leave us all in the most disorientating of ways; to find reason or rationale in his passing is to shout into the void and expect a response: futile. But what matters most of all, is that we remember this young talent for his positivity and pay homage to that which he contributed to our photographic community in his short time. It is with a tragic irony that his final exhibition is titled A Return to Elsewhere, and I just hope that wherever that elsewhere is, he finds the peace he so desired.
Thabiso Sekgala: 21 Jul 1981 – 15 Oct 2014