Unearthing Creativity with Zaahid Kader

We need to be pushing creative excellence in our spaces and unearthing greatness.

We’ve come to a point where the standard of creativity, be it art, photography, music, and even writing, is becoming stagnant. Why? People are becoming comfortable.

I’ve been eyeing every creative who’s on the scene – especially popular mainstream, so-called “influencers” and following their work. By the way, that’s not even a real job title. No shade, get your coin, kids.

Creativity is a broad term but in this particular instance, we’re going to focus on the things that really grab our attention from everything that our eyes catch on a daily basis – photography.


There’s an ongoing debate amongst fellow creatives regarding where the best photographers reside. Some say they’re in Johannesburg, while others chant that they live in Cape Town.

Here’s my two cents…

I actually don’t have one. But in that time, I had the opportunity to connect with 19-year old, Visual Communication student at UJ & fashion and lifestyle photographer Zaahid Kader and touch base with him on creativity consistency, mental wellbeing and the art of photography.

1. Hi bbz, thanks for chatting with me. What drew you to photography? And specifically, fashion and lifestyle photography?

Photography has always been a hobby of mine. It started out with taking pictures on my phone while fooling around with friends at concerts, events, and in their backyards.

As I grew older my style started to change and I then went on to document fashion and people. The idea of sharing ‘self-expression’ with the world.


2. Your Twitter thread about being emotionally abused hacked me the other day. Tell me about your hiatus and your journey to healing from that traumatic experience? 

My hiatus was really unplanned. I found myself in a position where I was giving parts of me away to someone who, at the time, I thought I would be with for the rest of my life. I was heartbroken, emotionally drained and physically tired. I then made a decision to step away from work and social media just to focus on myself and heal.

In the past 3 months, I had to distance myself from a lot of people to actually get myself into the right mindset to start shooting again. I had to unwillingly let go of the way I felt and I needed ways to pick myself up. It was all about changing my thinking, which honestly took longer than expected but, here I am. 

3. What do you think about the rising issues of mental health/wellness in the creative industry? 

I’ve mentioned this before; ‘creative consistency’ is a myth. We suffer from a lot of anxiety and depression which takes a while to overcome. Our minds are working, thinking and coming up with new idea’s 24/7. We also tend to overthink every situation and we do this because we are passionate. We give every fiber of our being with everything that we do. Sometimes we need to step back, just for a while and put everything into perspective so that we are content and so that we can start again.

The image of a broken artist is never beautiful.

Mental health/wellness in the creative industry has always been an issue. It just bothers me that when spoken about, people really never acted on it but now that celebrities and influencers, popular people in general, bring up the subject and then everyone seems to indulge in it than when we’ve BEEN speaking about it and no one listened.

4. What dream work would you like to do or accomplish in the near future?

I would really love to start shooting magazine editorials. 

Take a look at some of Zaahid’s creative photography work;

Karabo Maseko

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