PHOTO ESSAY: Dr Cahi’s captivating journey through Lebanon and its amenities

Published Sep 8, 2023


Johannesburg – In this Saturday Star photography series, Dr Cahi Takes Joburg, we feature the work of acclaimed Johannesburg dentist Dr Norman Cahi.

Affectionately known as the “dentist to the stars”, Cahi has a quest for learning, a thirst for knowledge and a deep interest in his roots and the history of his past.

In the latest edition of the series, Cahi photographically documents his travels in Lebanon in the Middle East.

“A country of contradiction, Lebanon is both breathtaking and heartbreaking,” he explained. “These broken buildings were once Ottoman-inspired or French-built mansions and in a country where civilisation began, walking these streets are history itself.”

Cahi explained that he moved between super new and uber luxurious high-rise buildings as well as refugee camps.

“This country welcomes people in true Lebanese style but this hospitality has led to a country in fragile fragments.”

He explained that the country had juxtaposing themes running through its streets.

“Freedom and imprisonment, affluence and poverty, prosperity and stagnation, defeat and hope,” he said.

In Cahi’s images, he manages to reflect these differences. He captures Lebanon’s unique and striking historical architecture, as well as newer and more modern buildings.

He also shows street life, its food, religions and through his images, he captures ordinary citizens as they go about their daily lives.

Cahi’s photographs also reflect the beauty within the country, from its beautiful coastline, high-rise buildings, to its striking amenities.

Cahi’s passion for photography comes from his passion to capture moments in time. This journey has taken him on a journey across the globe which he shares with his hundreds of friends and followers on social media each week.

Cahi has dedicated his life to oral healthcare for 40 years and is one of the pioneers for teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry in South Africa. Together with his daughter Chelsea, and prosthodontist brother, Emile, they run the Cahi Dental & Prosthodontic Practice in Parktown North.

Most notably, the family has been working with the Miss SA Foundation for about seven years, after they were approached by beauty queen Claudia Henkel, who held the title in 2004 and has worked for the organisation to provide dental care to the finalists.

His job as a dentist is to make people smile, literally, but it is his love for photographing art, architecture and the beauty of Joburg, which he hopes will evoke a sense of nostalgia.

“I see and appreciate the beauty in everything – in nature and our environment. I admire art, architecture and getting a sense of the spirit of the community. But I feel sad and helpless when I see the homeless and hopeless. I am deeply moved when I see the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised of our society,” he added.

The Saturday Star