In July this year, South African sailor and photographer Lungi Mchunu will make a record attempt to become the first African woman to sail to the North Pole. Inspired by Mchunu’s bravery and her enthusiasm to raise awareness of climate change amongst the youth, Canon South Africa will supply her with a Canon EOS 800D camera and a lens to document her intrepid journey from Rostock in Germany, to the North Pole and back again.
The historic expedition will take about two months, ending in the first week of September before the ice at the North Pole begins to form again. Mchunu will use her film and photographs to ‘paint’ a picture of the impact of human behaviour on the planet. She will use her experience, and the knowledge imparted by scientists and researchers, to customise the story for her African audience.
“Before I began sailing, I was just as uninformed as the next person about ocean health and climate change issues. While most people will never travel to the Arctic, it touches our daily lives in more ways than we realize. Scientists refer to it as the world’s refrigerator. It keeps the planet cool and plays a critical role in regulating global temperatures and counteracting climate change. To bring it closer to home, if the arctic ice continues to melt at the rate that it has, the heat waves that South Africans have been experiencing will become worse, so will drought, which is already a problem affecting our agricultural sector. The fieldwork that we will be doing is aimed at being proactive, study the ice melting rate and how it affects the weather patterns that we will experience in South Africa over the festive season.
“I want my audience to understand the impact of our behaviour on the environment, and hopefully inspire them to change,” says Mchunu, who plans on doing and exhibition and conducting talks on climate change at schools, companies and non-profit organisations when she returns from her expedition.
She started with her photography in 2013 to capture her basketball community initiatives. At the time the International Federation believed that there was no basketball in South Africa and she wanted to find ways to bridge the communication gap between players and FIBA (International Federation). She bought a Canon1100D and began using photography to tell the story and raise local basketball to a global platform. She then began documenting her sailing story through photography.
“When words fail me, my photos speak for rme,” she says. Mchunu is thrilled to be taking Canon with her on the expedition to the North Pole. “Canon gave me my first love, my 1100D, which allowed me to share moments and stories through my lens. I went from fully automatic with 20 odd bad photos to being able to capture a moment in one shot that doesn’t need a caption because it speaks for itself. When I think Canon, those memories just flood back and I realize that it’s not just a brand but rather a tool that has helped me tell a better story and connect communities. A typical example is the Roadshow that I attended recently, I left on Cloud 9, elated and inspired as ever to continue perfecting my art. Canon just has that effect on me. I am excited to be armed with a Canon camera to document the expedition to the North Pole.”