These images are part of an academic study (South Africa-Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development, SANPAD) into the phenomenon of learner parents which is endemic in South Africa and many other developing countries. Whilst not normally the kind of subject I would have sort out, it was fascinating to encounter these young parents and have a glimpse into their world.

I decided to do the project as a series of portraits, that would allow the subjects to present themselves to the camera, and the world, having a great deal of control over where and how they were photographed. Few of them cited stigma as a part of the problem they encountered as a result of having become parents at an early stage and whilst still completing high school. The South African schooling authorities have made it possible for these learners to continue their education whilst being parents. The exhibition showed at University of KwaZulu-Natal, and at University of the Western Cape. The work is also published in the book “Books and Babies: Pregnancy and young parents in schools”, edited by Robert Morrell, Deevia Bhana and Tamar Shefer, and published by HSRC Press.