A Zimbabwean soldier beats a man in a street of Harare on Aug. 1 as protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country’s election. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

Voices of African Photography is a 10-part series presented in partnership with the African Photojournalism Database, a joint project of Everyday Africa and World Press Photo, to highlight the work of 10 African photographers and photojournalists.

When Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, announced his resignation last year, after days of political upheaval, photographer Zinyange Auntony was in the streets of Harare, photographing what, then, seemed like a momentous transition in the country’s history. As a frequent freelancer for Agence France-Presse, Auntony’s photographs have often made the front pages of papers around the world. There was the photo of a Zimbabwean soldier beating a man in a street of Harare last August when protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country’s presidential election. The photo quickly went viral, ending up on the cover of Le Monde and in The Washington Post.

Auntony’s career in photography started years before he started freelancing for wire agencies. He started out as a graphic designer in a studio in Gaborone, Botswana, mostly editing and resizing passport photos. “I knew how to run Photoshop on a computer, but I was confined to the backroom so I hardly had any camera contact until I bought myself a Kodak EasyShare camera,” he told In Sight.

That was in 2008. “I was so excited, I photographed anything and everything that caught my eye,” he said. Three years later, some of his photographs were part of a group exhibition at the Gwanza Month photography festival. That’s when he started freelancing for a local newspaper. “And this exposure to photojournalism made me realize I needed to get formal training,” he said. “So in 2014, I sold my camera kit and I enrolled for a year-long Photojournalism and Documentary course at the Market Photo Workshop in South Africa. That course has catapulted me to where I stand today.”

Auntony’s work, when he’s not freelancing for news agencies, focuses on social justice and environmental issues. “That’s a key driver for finding new inspiration,” he said. “I’ve always loved hearing and telling stories, so my approach seeks to preserve each narrative through visual documentary. In so doing I try to unmask the multiple layers of someone’s story.” But Auntony is careful about how he frames his stories. “Although my photos are often about people who are oppressed by systems, or [find themselves] in crisis situations, I’m careful not to treat the narrative as glamorous, because this would further emphasize a people’s disaffection or make them stand out and feel different.”

That’s particularly important for Auntony as he hopes, through his work, to offer a counterpoint to the white gaze through which Africa is too often represented. That has proven difficult, he said, despite the boom in affordable camera technology and media platforms that have made African voices far easier to find. “Africa’s photography industry is still dominated by the male white (European/American) gaze,” he told In Sight. “This means the many untold narratives of the continent will not change as fast as they should.”


An injured man’s feet are seen while lying on the sidewalk as soldiers disperse demonstrators on Aug. 1 in Harare. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

An injured man screams in pain as soldiers disperse demonstrators on Aug. 1 in Harare. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

An injured man is put in a car as soldiers disperse demonstrators. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

A soldier fires shots at demonstrators. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

A vendor scurries for cover with her wares as soldiers disperse demonstrators. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

Mourners are reflected on a window during the send-off ceremony of Ishmael Kumire on Aug. 4 at her homestead in Chinamhora village, outside Harare. Kumire was fatally shot on Aug. 1 by the Zimbabwe military while standing at his fruit stall in Harare. (Zinyange Auntony)

Ishmael Kumire’s daughter holds a doll during the ceremony. (Zinyange Auntony)

A man sits in front of his junkyard a few weeks before a much anticipated election in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (Zinyange Auntony)

Plates are seen among the ash and remains of a burned hut belonging to an opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporter in Mutoko. (Zinyange Auntony)

An injured ZANU-PF supporter lies on a bed covered in blood at Mpilo hospital after a bomb blast at a campaign rally on June 23 in Bulawayo. (Zinyange Auntony)

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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Voices of African Photography: ‘Transforming the image of our continent’

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Voices of African photography: Reclaiming the black body

Voices of African Photography: At the intersection of identity, power and belonging