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An American's visit to Khayelitsha

Jami Wright spent some weeks at Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Cape Town, volunteering and documenting in pictures the work that we do. Jami researched human-animal conflict surrounding wolf reintroduction in the Northern Rockies while completing her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and describes the human-animal relationship as very significant in her adult life. She began to appreciate the power of image in communication and decided to peruse photography.

"I arrived in Cape Town after 36 hours in flight from the United States. Montana, to be exact. It is cold where I live, very cold, and there are not many people - probably because it is so cold. Animals are a part of most people’s lives and there is a lot of space for them - domestic and wild. I can imagine two Montana’s fitting into one South Africa and we don’t even have a million people there! Let’s just say it is very different from Khayelitsha!

My husband gifted me a photography workshop through an organisation called Momenta which gave me the opportunity to photograph the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, Cape Town for two weeks. I was VERY excited! I love learning about new cultures, helping animals all while practicing my photography! It was an amazing gift.

I stayed in Cape Town and took an Uber into Khayelitsha every day. The Uber drivers were always wondering why I was going to Khayelitsha – it’s not really a tourist destination for women travelling alone. I found the people to be warm, down-to-earth and surprisingly happy despite the challenges associated with living in a township.

Mdzananda inspired me from the start. I loved the story of Mr Joe donating his days to caring for animals in the community. That was more than 20 years ago now and today Mdzananda provides a fully-fledged primary veterinary service to animal owners. I also align greatly with Mdzananda’s community outreach programme that strives to educate people about how to have more fulfilling lives with their (hopefully) beloved pets. Changing cultural beliefs and practices within a community is a massive task and Mdzananda has made real progress. As humans, I believe we gain so much from having animals in our lives and also have so much to learn through these relationships.

Mdzananda has made true progress in Khayelitsha through spaying and neutering as well as community outreach. Shifting people’s relationships to animals is very challenging. The people at Mdzananda work tirelessly for the animals and people in their community. It was truly a blessing to witness this - an experience that I will not forget. I am very grateful to have been able to contribute to an organisation with these values and would do so in the future if given the opportunity. Thank you Mdzananda!"

Please feel free to take a look at some of the lovely pictures taken by Jami at

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