Social Media News South Africa

Miss Albany, the image of joy, shows the power of social media

The story of the young photographer whose joyful images of his niece holding a loaf of Albany Bread has been picked up and reported on by news channels and social media channels after the photographs were viewed over a million times online.
Lungisa Mjaji's photos of his niece are viral sensation, showing the power of soical meida - and joy!
Lungisa Mjaji's photos of his niece are viral sensation, showing the power of soical meida - and joy!

It is a story that shows the power of social media, but also a story of joy. It began when Lungisa Mjaji, who is a photography student at the Tshwane University of Technology, was given a university assignment.

Back home in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the aspiring photographer decided to capture ritual South Africa through his project which he named My Footprint.

He wanted to show this part of the country in a joyful light. He then asked his three-year-old niece, Lethukukhanya Mjaji, to pose for his project. The bread was provided by his mother.

As Mjaji’s photographs of his niece and the bread became a viral sensation, the media wanted to know who the photographer was behind the images.

Visual storytelling

In an interview with TimesLive, Mjaji explains that he grew up with the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage that is rural South Africa, and when he started to experiment with a basic camera in his teens, he wanted to capture this, using the power of visual storytelling.

“It fills me with immense joy and a sense of accomplishment to see the positive impact my work has had and the recognition it has received.

“I am grateful for the support and love from South Africa and for the opportunity to make a difference through my photography,” he says in the article.

He adds, “Lethukukhanya understood the assignment and willingly participated, displaying her natural talent. Together, we created images that resonate with the South African audience and capture the spirit of the child and our country.”

In fact, her joy as captured by Mjaji has led to the public demanding that Miss Albany or the Albany Bread Girl as she has become known, become the face of the brand.

A feel good story

It is such a feel-good story that it is no surprise that it was picked up by the Good Things Guy. “Something about the pureness of her smile against a backdrop that is far from glossy reminded South Africans of our nation’s spirit,” says the the Good Things Guy.

Mjaji’s TikTok video of the shoot with his niece was shared by the Love Albany Bread page on Facebook. Albany reached out to the family and paid them a visit after his niece’s pictures went viral on social media.

Mjaji has reported that branch managers brought a gas stove for his grandmother, blankets, lunch boxes and hampers for his niece and other children in the area who often help him with his photography.

The South African has reported that Bokomo has offered a year's supply of Corn Flakes to Lethukukhanya Mjaji aka Miss Albany’s family.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.

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