From photojournalist to fundraiser

Chad Nathan

By Jaime Uranovsky

If you’ve come across footage of a locked down Cape Town circulating social media in the last few weeks, you may have been watching Chad Nathan’s content.

Chad, better known as Ginger with a Gopro on Instagram and Facebook, is also the owner and founder of Wild Ginga, a content creation agency that tells stories through social media. Since the beginning of South Africa’s lockdown, Chad has also acted as one of the Cape Jewish Chronicle’s two official photojournalists, documenting this unprecedented time through videos and photographs. What Chad saw during the first two weeks inspired him to start an initiative titled Raising Hope.

The day before lockdown commenced, Chad, a self-taught photographer and cinematographer since 2013, was looking for a legal way to capture the city on film and, to his delight, obtained the media pass he had been seeking and began documenting for the CJC. Chad recounts, “The editor said, ‘Chad, you have our blessing; be safe, stay out of trouble and we can’t wait to see your work.’ I feel blessed to be able to document a time like this… I knew it was going to be history in the making.”

For Chad, the most memorable part of capturing the lockdown on film was seeing the way in which communities rallied to help and care for those who so desperately need assistance. Indeed, he experienced, first-hand, the efforts of individuals such as Lucinda Evans, who is feeding 5500 people in the Cape Flats through Breadline Africa; David Froman who is providing food to Imizamo Yethu residents via Courage Africa; and Danny Diliberto of the ever-growing Ladles of Love. It was through observing these acts that Chad was inspired to begin his own initiative, Raising Hope.

After taking images and videos of Cape Town’s usually-bustling-but-now-empty city streets during the early days of lockdown, he began entering areas where the country’s inequality is the most visible. Chad explains, “I went to go and document what was happening in Culemborg, at the homeless shelter there, and I went into Khayelitsha. I started going into the more volatile areas. What about the less fortunate people? I started documenting that. And that’s when I saw how South Africa, and especially the Western Cape, was going to have such a problem. I wanted to document it and hear their stories.”

Chad’s large social media following meant that he began receiving hordes of comments from the public in response to his videos and photographs, with people asking how they could help the hungry and the homeless. It was then that Chad launched his initiative, “I didn’t want to just film and photograph all these people; I wanted to help.”

Chad named the campaign Raising Hope because “there is hope out there, and people do want to help, but they don’t necessarily know how. People aren’t really aware of all the feeding schemes going on outside of the Sea Point bubble. So, I feel like with my platform on Instagram, I know my work gets seen by a few thousand people; I knew I would be able to make an impact and just show the people ‘look what’s happening outside your bubble and just see how people are suffering,’ and how it taught me you know don’t take anything for granted. We’re all blessed and very privileged. When I take these pictures of these kids holding that piece of bread that they’ll get to eat, that’s their food for the day. It’s heart-breaking. So, that’s why I decided to start Raising Hope.”

Initially, Chad planned to donate the money received to four organisations: Cans with Purpose, Ladles of Love, Breadline Africa and Courage Africa. However, after only two days, his campaign had raised R150 000 and, in under a week, had reached R300 000. The influx of donations has meant that Chad can distribute the money to additional charities, many of which are small and lesser known. For example, Chad has given R10 000 to Africa Awake, which helps refugees in Johannesburg; R10 000 to One Bag Full, which assists communities in Langa and Joe Slovo Park; and R50 000 to an initiative run by Claire Sochen to support homeless refugees in Cape Town. As of 14 May, over R400 000 has been raised but Chad’s goal is to get to R500 000.

Chad also aims to give back to the Jewish community. He says, “I know how much funding is needed. I would also love to give back to the JCS Foodbank and to Tikvah. That’s also on the list.” Indeed, the photographer attributes his initiative to the idea of tikkun olam, ‘repair of the world.’ He notes, “It’s definitely opened up my eyes to giving back and helping people because we all need to do our part and, if we all do our part and everyone thought this way, the word would be a much better place, and nobody would go hungry. It would just change the world.”

For more information go to Chad’s Instagram page, @gingerwithagopro.Chad has also partnered with various brands such as OneDayOnly, Camelot Spa and MeMi Jewellery and is hosting nightly giveaways on Instagram. To enter, go to the ‘giveaways’ tab on his Instagram page as mentioned above.

By Jamie Uranovsky

Chad Nathan

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