This is the remarkable true story of a young man faced with the challenges of making a photographic career for himself. With spirited determination, Willman set out to discover both himself and others and to ‘participate in the world’. In the process he has had the privilege of meeting and interacting with many great leaders, musicians and artists and those on the periphery of society. Willman’s single-minded determination to shake the hand of Nelson Mandela, started him on a journey few could ever imagine.
Matthew Willman is a photographer, story-teller, documentarian and unconventional adventurer all rolled into one. His quest to break down the barriers that define our stereotypes, stigmas, protocols and authorities have afforded him many extraordinary opportunities to not only photograph the world, but to engage with it. “I’m sure of Matthew’s gift; it’s not an issue … he connects with his passion … the rest just follows.” – Annie Lennox, musician and song-writer “Matthew managed to get the most beautiful photographs of Nelson Mandela because he remained focused on his purpose.
A privilege to have worked with Matthew.” – Zelda la Grange, former personal assistant to Nelson Mandela
“Matthew is a remarkably talented young man and I am thrilled to see the quality of work he is producing. We have been enriched by many cultures, languages and faiths, it is a heritage in Africa to be shared, experienced and celebrated. Thank you Matthew for mediating these to us through your images and stories.” – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Matthew Willman is the founder and chairman of the MW Arts Trust (NPO) in South Africa. He is accredited as a commissioned photographer to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and works with clients from around the world, including Oxfam International, the World Health Organisation, the European Commission, the Vodacom Foundation and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in the USA.