PIETER HUGO

Hobbled by life, but triumphal all the same
LA CUCARACHA


On home and belonging
FLAT NOODLE SOUP TALK
KIN
MESSINA/MUSINA


The possibilities of portraiture
THE JOURNEY
THERE’S A PLACE IN HELL FOR ME AND MY FRIENDS
LOOKING ASIDE


West Africa works
PERMANENT ERROR
NOLLYWOOD
THE HYENA AND OTHER MEN
WILD HONEY COLLECTORS


Remembrance and inheritance
1994
RWANDA: VESTIGES OF A GENOCIDE


Flirtations with popular culture
PH X HBA
 CONTROL


INFORMATION
@pieter.hugo.official
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WILD HONEY COLLECTORS
(2005)


This series was made during a period when I was experimenting with different scenographies, as well as investigating aspects of labour across Africa. I saw an image of a honey collector taken by a Ghanaian photographer in a news magazine. It intrigued me. With the assistance of a local journalist I made contact with this group of honey collectors living in Techiman Municipal District, which is part of the fertile Brong-Ahafo Region. It is a full day’s drive north from Accra into central Ghana, to a region famed for its cocoa production and agriculture generally.

Africanised honeybees are crucial to the pollination process. Their honey is also highly prized; it is estimated that up to 60 percent of honey on the Ghanaian market is harvested from wild bee colonies. But it’s a dangerous job. In June 2016 a bus in Ghana was attacked by a swarm of bees. This might explain the elaborate if makeshift protection worn by the collectors I photographed. Honey is harvested by burning the tree nests. As a result, the honey often has soot in it and can only be sold at local markets for low prices. It is a very destructive form of labour, but it is their only means of earning a living.