Zanele Muholi is a South African visual activist and photographer known for their powerful and intimate portraits that explore issues of gender, race, and sexuality. Muholi was born on July 19, 1972, in Umlazi, a township near Durban, South Africa. They identify as non-binary and use the pronouns they/them.

Muholi's work primarily focuses on documenting and portraying the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community in South Africa, particularly black lesbians, transgender individuals, and queer people. They often depict their subjects in a dignified and celebratory manner, challenging stereotypes and confronting the viewer with the realities of their subjects' lives.

One of Muholi's most well-known projects is "Faces and Phases," an ongoing series of black-and-white portraits that aims to create visibility for black lesbian and transgender individuals. Through this project, Muholi captures the diverse range of identities and experiences within the LGBTQ+ community while also addressing the high rates of violence and discrimination they face.

Muholi's work has been exhibited internationally, including at prominent institutions such as the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They have received numerous awards and accolades for their contributions to art and activism, including the Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism from the International Center of Photography.

In addition to their photography, Muholi is also involved in curatorial work, writing, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. Their work has had a significant impact in promoting visibility, understanding, and acceptance of queer and transgender individuals, particularly within the African context.