South Africa & A Zulu Wedding

The lovely bride & groom

The lovely bride & groom


Late April, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa for my dear friends' traditional Zulu wedding.

I met Luyanda here in LA before she and her hubs, Jerry, moved back to her childhood hometown of Johannesburg, SA last fall. Luyanda and I met on a women's Facebook group when she was looking for a photographer and I was looking for a model. We became instant friends and not only that, we worked on a few projects together. Among them, I shot the lookbook and catalog for her clothing line, Revolt and I hired her to model for the campaign for the launch of Zenzee shoes, designed by another good friend, Sharon.  Luyanda is one of the funniest, strongest, most badass women I've known. When she told me about the wedding in South Africa and she asked me to be a bridesmaid, we did all the things we could to plan and prep for my first trip to SA to be such a special part of their day. 

Luyanda is Zulu and her husband is Mexican-American. Lu's parents wanted them to have a traditional wedding in the village where they have a family farm, about 4 hours from Joberg.  The wedding was absolutely incredible. The whole village came to the 4 hour ceremony which filled with dancing, singing and a presentation of gifts. At the reception, Lu's parents (founders and owners of Native Rhythms record label) fed every single person who was in attendance, from the village guests to the other wedding guests. After the wedding, everyone of all ages danced to the sounds of Kendrick Lamar and South African gqom music. It was a day I will never ever forget. 

Scroll through above for pictures from the wedding <3

We spent the days before and after the wedding exploring Johannesberg and Soweto. I stayed in Maboneng, a recently revived area that now draws young people and artists. The fashion in Joberg was off the hook! I saw a lot of very fashion forward threads mixed with vintage and dandy vibes alongside beautiful local fabrics. It definitely inspired me to start looking for more color in my very dark-colored wardrobe. And yes, I recognize the irony that I'm talking about all the color and these photos are all in black & white. Ha!

Scroll through above for fashion pics from Maboneng <3

Lu and Jerry brought his family and me (also in town from LA), to the Hector Pieterson Museum, which documented the Soweto uprising in 1976. It was a beautiful and sobering tribute. We later went to Nelson Mandela's home, now also a museum, which was incredible and inspiring as well. Human rights are still a huge issue in South Africa as racism is very rampant. Visiting both museums was a huge reminder that we still have so much work to do in our humanity and compassion for each other, as well as continuing to stand up for all of our rights. 

Joberg is an incredible city. I absolutely loved it. I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of my hosts, the people I spoke with on the streets, the beauty, the LIFE that is lived wholeheartedly, despite many challenges. The food, fashion and music were sublime. It was an inspiration and will continue to be so for the rest of my life.  I'm ready for my next trip back! 



Looking Ahead


As I've been moving through this journey called life, I've experienced some major changes in the last few years.  Honestly, I'm guessing we all have. It's been a crazy road for many of us replete with both challenges and joyful times to celebrate. I can't say it's been boring!

Along the way, I've discovered how to be vulnerable, how to surrender, how to honor myself through self-care and through setting boundaries. I've learned how to healthily give and receive. I've learned how to say yes to myself and I've learned that if your heart is not screaming "f*ck yeah" to something, it's a no.  Last but not least, I've learned to let my own light shine. I've started sharing some of my journey more publicly, after "hermit-ing" away for a while.  As I've become more open in sharing my experiences and lessons,  I've had friends and even people that I don't know reach out to me to let me know that my vulnerability and sharing more of myself on a personal level has been inspiring to them to do the same. 

And so, I've come to a place where I am no longer willing to hide behind my camera and my work. It's not enough for me anymore to simply display what I've created.  I want to continue authentically and vulnerably sharing with you on both personal and work levels: lessons I've learned along my journey, silly stories, art, fashion and music that inspires me, spiritual musings, BTS stories from shoots, systems that I use for success, and last but not least, photography tips, tricks and resources.

As I've been working on my re-brand and launch to better encompass my new intentions, I've also realized that the new driving goal behind it all is that I aim to serve as many of you as possible through my business. In addition to my regular photography and directing work (and side hobby of music!), I'll be offering more workshops in person (available soon online and streaming), free downloads, digital products, print purchasing, and specials.

Let's share this beautiful journey together. 
xo Suzie