These images depict the unique and aspirational subculture surrounding all-female teams of drum majorettes in South Africa. These girls, affectionately known as ‘drummies’ are from some of the country’s most marginalised communities.
For the girls and young women involved, being a drummie is a privilege and an achievement, indicative of success on and off the field. It gives them a positive focus and sense of belonging, providing them with structure in a community where opportunities are often severely limited. As a female only sport, ‘drummies’ is a safe space where the girls are encouraged to excel, and their distinctive uniforms serve as a visual marker of success and emancipation from their surroundings.
With my continued investigation into this subculture, I hope that these images can communicate the pride and confidence these girls have achieved through identifying as ‘drummies,’ in a context where they face many social challenges.
Alice Mann (b.1991) is a South African photographic artist based in London who’s intimate portraiture essays explore notions of picture making as an act of collaboration. She aims to create images that empower her subjects and creates projects over extended periods, allowing for engaged and nuanced representations.
Her work has been published in international publications including the Guardian, The New Yorker and the British Journal of Photography. It has also been exhibited at Red Hook Labs in New York, at Unseen Amsterdam and the recent edition of Addis Foto Fest. Her series ‘Drummies’ was selected as a winner of the 2018 Lensculture emerging photographer prize and the PHMuseum Women’s ‘New Generation’ prize for an emerging photographer. She was recently awarded the 2018 Taylor Wessing portraiture prize, the first time in the exhibition’s history that a series has ever been selected for first prize.