Innocent Mukheli graced the stage of the Africa Travel Summit hosted by Airbnb with mouthwatering images that would make anyone stop for a double take. “Our aim is to reframe images from our own life stories, as well as the stories of others, and bring an alternative view of South Africa to a global audience,” said Mukheli who serves as the executive creative director of I See A Different You. “Our images show the South African experience, and our love and optimism for the people we share our country with.”
I See A Different You is a creative agency that started in 2011 when all four founding members were working in the advertising industry. Representing only a handful of black Africans in the advertising industry, as the team built out campaigns, they came to the understanding that how others perceived their township, Soweto, located in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality in Gauteng, South Africa, was not actually the way that they viewed it. “The public, led by the media, had a tendency to see Soweto as a starving, burning place of desperation and unrest,” reads a statement on their site. “Yet the Soweto we know and love is a vibrant, exciting, and dynamic place filled with uniquely South African experiences, stories, creativity, and poetic contradictions.”
The movement started as a photographic blog on Tumblr, which aimed to show Soweto in a different light to the world. Since its inception, their images have spread far and wide. The agency has worked with high-end brands such as Scottish Leader Whisky and has expanded outside of Soweto to other regions of the continent, including Ghana and Nigeria in addition to garnering international exposure.
These powerful images consist of everything from urban landscapes to eclectic fashion, while their services expand beyond photography into film, music, and, of course, advertising.
“Our Tumblr blog gained traction, which allowed us to travel globally. Through our travels, we became aware that there is a negative perception in the international community of Africa as a whole, not only our corner of the continent,” stated Mukheli. “Our aim shifted from showing a new, positive Soweto, and we started to also show the unique stories of the individuals we meet through our journey and ultimately, changing how humans view differences in each other.”
According to their site, the team’s overall goal is to provide processes of ideation and creation and use their unique insights to inform strategies and create powerful imagery.