In September 2009, while seeking out images for a project, we did an ordinary thing: a Google image search. It was phrased something like: “ZCC badge”. The search brought up nothing.
ZCC is the largest ‘indigenous Christian’ church in South Africa. In 2009 there were likely about 8 million South Africans who self-identified as ZCC (and wore an associated badge). The church was started circa 1924/25 and affirms a combination of western Christian traditions combined with traditional indigenous beliefs. The church has for many years hosted the largest pilgrimages in South Africa – to Zion City in Moria, in which about 5 Million people attend each year in Easter.
The scarceness of images of the ZCC points to the problematics of the internet’s relationship to African content. While there are many who might imagine that the internet has knowledge of all, there are people and everyday experiences that the internet is still catching up with. There are many news articles about ZCC, but the lack of a single image of a ZCC badge as recently as 2009 points to the lack of ‘insiders’ producing their own content about themselves. It points to the fact that the internet is not the centre of the world, and doesn’t reach into all the corners of our private lives.