South Africa documentary photographs collection, 1940s-circa 2013, bulk 1960-2013
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- Harris, Alex, 1949-, Weinberg, Paul, Weinberg, Paul, Weinberg, Paul, Weinberg, Paul, Weinberg, Paul, Duke University. Center for Documentary Studies, University of Cape Town. Centre for Curating the Archive, and Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
- Collection consists of over 1100 black-and-white and color exhibit prints representing the work of over 50 South African photographers who documented conditions during and after apartheid, from about the 1940s to 2013, with most dating after 1960. Arranged in five series representing projects curated by documentary photographers Alex Harris, Paul Weinberg, and others: Beyond the Barricades, The Cordoned Heart, Then and Now, Underexposed, and The Other Camera. There is also a series of work by Jeeva Rajgopaul. Set in rural and urban South Africa, the images portray political rallies; protests; forced removals; funerals; social gatherings such as dances and concerts; work and domestic life; the life of the elderly, the migrants, and the impoverished; and labor organizing and strikes. There are many portraits of individuals of all races and classes, well-known activists and politicians, as well as countless ordinary South African citizens. Many of the photographers were members of Afrapix, a collective photography agency engaged in documenting the anti-apartheid struggle. There is a small amount of printed material, as well as a selection of digital image files and a digital audio file of an exhibit talk. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- 45.0 Linear Feet
49 boxes; approximately 1133 items
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
Collection consists of over 1100 black-and-white and color exhibit prints representing the work of over 50 South African photographers who documented conditions during and after apartheid from about the 1940s to 2007, with most dating after 1960. Many of the photographers were members of Afrapix, a collective photography agency engaged in documenting the anti-apartheid struggle.
The prints are arranged in five series representing projects curated by documentary photographers Alex Harris and Paul Weinberg, and others: Beyond the Barricades, The Cordoned Heart, Then and Now, Underexposed, and The Other Camera. There is also a separate but related series of work by photographer Jeeva Rajgopaul. Each project resulted in an exhibit and four of them produced books (one is only available in online form). The series and the work of each photographer are described in full in this collection guide.
Set in rural and urban South Africa, the images document events such as rallies, protests, forced removals, funerals, social gatherings and leisure pursuits, violence between Africans, and labor strikes and meetings. There are also many portraits of individuals and families: migrant workers, farm laborers, HIV positive individuals, affluent South Africans, domestic workers, protesters, and well-known activists and politicians of all races and parties.
The images take the form of black-and-white and color prints, chiefly gelatin silver and pigmented inkjet prints, with most measuring approximately 11x14 to 16x20 inches. There is a small amount of printed material documenting the Cordoned Heart exhibit, as well as selected digital image files, and a digital audio file of exhibit opening remarks.
Among the photographers in this collection are several whose individual bodies of work are also held at Duke: David Goldblatt, Cedric Nunn, and Paul Weinberg. Details regarding all the photographers are found in a biographical section in this collection guide.
Aquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
Known photographers whose work is represented in this collection are: Paul Alberts (1946- ); Joseph Alphers (1949- ); Omar Badsha (1945- ); Rodney Barnett (1943-2000); Michael Barry (1954- ); Bee Berman (1949- ); Arthur Bolton; Basil Breakey; Julian Cobbing (1944- ); Michael Davies (1955- ); Gille de Vlieg (1940- ); Anne Fischer (1915-1986); David Goldblatt (1930- ); Jenny Gordon (1955- ); Paul Grendon (1954- ); George Hallett (1942- ); Dave Hartman; David Hemson; Steve Hilton-Barber (1962-2002); Lucky Sipho Khoza (circa 1965-1998); Paul Konings (1958- ); Lesley Lawson (1952- ); Chris Ledechowski (1956- ); Rashid Lombard (1951- ); Ben Maclennan (1956- ); William Matlala (1957- ); Jimi Matthews (1955- ); Roger Meintjies (1963- ); Gideon Mendel (1959- ); Eric Miller; Santu Mofokeng (1956- ); Daniel Morolong (1928-2012); Themba Nkosi; Cedric Nunn (1957- ); Billy Paddock; Berney Perez (1948- ); Myron Peters (1954- ); Lindeka Qampi (1969- ); Chris Qwazi; Jeeva Rajgopaul (1952- ); Wendy Schwegmann (1954- ); Guy Tillim (1962- ); Zubeida Vallie; Paul Weinberg (1956- ); Graeme Williams (1961- ); Jansje Wissema (1920-1975); and Giséle Wulfsohn (1957- ). There are also prints from an unknown photographer collected by photographer and film-maker Angus Gibson.
- Biographical / historical:
Paul Alberts (1946- )
Alberts is a Cape Town freelance photojournalist who has served as arts editor for Die Burger magazine. He is founder and director of The Gallery Press. He has published photographs in major magazines and four photography books.
Joseph Alphers (1949- )
Alphers has worked as a commercial photographer, a photojournalist, and a photographer for the University of Bophuthatswana; his work in this collection dates from the 1970s. He was an Afrapix member.
Omar Badsha (1945- )
Badsha is a self-taught painter and photographer who became active as a photographer in the mid-1970s. He was an anti-apartheid activist, a labor organizer, and a founding member of Afrapix, as well as an editor of South Africa: The Cordoned Heart. He has published four books of photography, including one banned in South Africa, and manages the South African History Online project.
Rodney Barnett (1943-2000)
Barnett photographed in Johannesburg, elsewhere in Africa, and during world travels. He published several works of photography, and was a founder of South Africa's South Photographic Agency.
Michael Barry (1954- )
Barry spent a year as supervisor of The Haven Night Shelter in Cape Town, the site of some of his photographs. He has taught art in a Port Elizabeth high school, and was a member of the art collective Vukalisa.
Bee Berman (1949- )
Berman became a freelance news photographer in 1980. Her photographs have appeared in exhibitions and books in South Africa and elsewhere.
Arthur Bolton was a British radiologist who settled in KwaZulu Natal after the Second World War. He was a keen photographer whose work is predominantly about Zulu culture in the field as well as in the studio.
Basil Breakey's work focuses on South African jazz culture. He is best known for his photographs in Beyond The Blues: Township Jazz in the 1960s and 1970s.
Julian Cobbing (1944- )
Cobbing is a British historian of African history who has taught at Rhodes University in South Africa. He is known for his research on Zulu culture of the early 19th century.
Michael Davies (1955- )
Davies is a photographer and sculptor. As a photographer, he is known for his images of South African political struggle primarily from the 1980s. His work has been exhibited in South African group exhibitions.
Gille de Vlieg (1940- )
De Vlieg was born in England and emigrated to South Africa. She was a member of both the Black Sash movement and Afrapix. Her photographs of apartheid resistance and life under apartheid date from the 1980s.
Anne Fischer (1915-1986)
Fischer was a commercial studio photographer specializing in portraits. Her personal projects photographing rural South Africans date from approximately the 1940s.
David Goldblatt (1930- )
Goldblatt became a full-time photographer in 1963. He has worked as photography director and associate editor for Leadership S.A.. His photographs are held by numerous institutions, including the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the South African National Gallery, Cape Town. He was the founder of the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg.
Jenny Gordon (1955- )
Gordon became a freelance photojournalist in the 1980s. She also specializes in portraiture. She was the director of the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally and have been published in numerous books and periodicals.
Paul Grendon (1954- )
Grendon is a painter, curator, and freelance photographer whose photographic work dates from the 1980s. He was a member of Afrapix. His work has been exhibited in numerous venues.
George Hallett (1942- )
In the 1960s, Hallett photographed District Six in Cape Town before the neighborhood's destruction under apartheid. Between 1970 and 1995 he left South Africa for Europe, where much of his work focused on South African artists in exile. In 1994 he was one of a group of photographers documenting the first democratic election in South Africa for the Independent Electoral Commission. He was later commissioned to record the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Hartman was an Afrapix member who photographed apartheid resistance in the 1980s.
Hemson was a labor activist in Durban during the 1970s. He went on to become a sociologist and the research director of the Human Sciences Research Council in Durban.
Steve Hilton-Barber (1962-2002)
Hilton-Barber was a freelance journalist and a member of Afrapix. He was a founder of the SouthLight Photographic agency. During the 1990s he worked with several South African newspapers.
Lucky Sipho Khoza (circa 1965-1998)
Street photographer who operated in the greater Durban area with a specialty in double exposure photography. He advertised himself in the album collected by Garth Walker as a "Wedding and special occasion photographer."
Paul Konings (1958- )
Born in New Zealand and resident of Cape Town since 1975, Konings is a freelance photographer and graphic artist. His work dates from the 1970s, and has been included in several books.
Lesley Lawson (1952- )
Lawson has been a writer and photographer for the South African Council for Higher Education. She was a member of Afrapix. During the 1970s and 1980s her work focused on labor, women, and political activism; she later was moved to focus on HIV issues. She has published two books, one on working women and one on HIV.
Chris Ledechowski (1956- )
Ledechowski is a freelance photographer who has worked on various documentary projects in South Africa, in photography and film. He was a member of Afrapix. His photographs and hand-tinted portraits have been exhibited in South Africa.
Rashid Lombard (1951- )
Lombard has worked as a freelance photographer and photojournalist. He was a founder of the Cape Town Press Centre. He has been CEO of espAFRIKA, organizer of a major South African jazz festival. His work has been exhibited in a number of group exhibitions in South Africa. He was a member of the art collective Vukalisa.
Ben Maclennan (1956- )
Maclennan was born in Scotland and grew up in South Africa. He is a press photographer, reporter, and editor whose work dates from the 1970s. He has worked for the South African Press Association. He worked as photographer on the Surplus People Project in 1982. His photographs have been shown in African group exhibitions and were published in various works during the early 1980s.
William Matlala (1957- )
A worker and a shop steward in the food industry, Willie Matlala started taking pictures for his union between 1980 and 1986. As the trade union movement became more actively embroiled in the political and economic front in South Africa, Matlala's photography gravitated from portraiture to documentary, focusing on the the labour movement activities. His training included several workshops at Photo Teach, Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, and with Afrapix. He also obtained a diploma in photography by correspondence. In 1989, he became a full-time photographer with Cosatu and later worked for the South African Labour Bulletin from 1992 to 1993. Since then, he has worked as a freelance photographer.
Jimi Matthews (1955- )
Matthews has worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for international television networks, and he has been a member of the art collective Vukalisa. His photographs have been exhibited internationally.
Roger Meintjies (1963- )
Roger Meintjes' documentary work dates from the 1980s, during which time he was a member of the Afrapix collective. In the 1990s he was employed at the Robben Island Museum. Meintjies' photographs have been published in a number of books and magazines.
Gideon Mendel (1959- )
Mendel is a photojournalist who has worked for Agence France Press Photo Service. His photographs have appeared in Time, The New York Times, and other major magazines and newspapers.
Miller was a member of Afrapix. His work appeared in the Weekly Mail, the New Nation, and other progressive publications. Since 1994, Miller has photographed throughout Africa. Much of his South African work has focused on the transformation of society, especially in respect to housing, health, education, and labor. He has published a book on the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.
Santu Mofokeng (1956- )
Mofokeng freelanced through the Afrapix Photographers Collective, and has taught at the Institute for Advanced Social Research at the University of Witwatersrand. His work has been exhibited in South Africa and at the Guggenheim Museum. He received the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Award in 1996.
Morolong was a press photographer covering social events in East London. His work dates from the 1950s and was exhibited in East London in 2003.
[No biographical information is currently available for Nkosi.]
Cedric Nunn (1957- )
Nunn's photographs date from 1981, when he began documenting apartheid issues. His photographs focused especially on rural areas. He was a founding member of Afrapix. In 1994 he was one of a group of photographers documenting the first democratic election in South Africa for the Independent Electoral Commission.
Paddock was a journalist who was active in the End Conscription Campaign, and he was a member of Afrapix. in 1982 he was imprisoned for a year for refusing military conscription. Paddock died in the early 1990s.
Berney Perez (1948- )
Perez is a freelance photographer. His work has been exhibited in group exhibitions in South Africa and elsewhere.
Myron Peters (1954- )
Peters was active in the Black Conciousness Movement and the Natal Indian Congress. While a student, he was an associate member of Afrapix. His photographs appeared in group exhibitions in South Africa and in a number of books. Peters went on to receive a Masters in Development Studies and worked in the South African government.
Lindeka Qampi (1969- )
Born on the Eastern Cape, Qampi lives and works in Khayelitsha in Cape Town. She began taking photographs in 2006, when she met members of the Iliso Labantu photo collective, that was established to provide training and opportunities for individuals to use photography as a way of documenting their lives, and those communities around them, as well improve their skills to make sustainable careers for themselves.
At first she worked as a street photographer, photographing weddings, events and portraits. Since she joined the group she was encouraged through a series of workshops to document different communities near her home and in the Eastern Cape, which tell the stories of peoples everyday lives. Qampi sells these images as postcards for the tourist industry, and through art galleries. She is presently supported by Erdmann Contemporary Gallery, and she has expanded her work to include documentary and fashion. In a project in 2011 with master's student Shady Patterson she documented street culture in the Cape Flats, included in this exhibition.
Qwazi is a photographer whose work dates from the 1980s. His work has covered anti-apartheid struggle and has been exhibited in South Africa.
Jeeva Rajgopaul (1952- )
Rajgopaul is a freelance documentary photographer and former member of the Afrapix collective. He has been awarded the Earnest Cole Scholarship for Documentary Photography.
Wendy Schwegmann (1954- )
Schwegmann was a freelance photojournalist working for Reuters in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, and was a member of Afrapix. Her photographs are held in the South African National Gallery. Schwegmann went on to work for Reuters in London.
Guy Tillim (1962- )
Tillim began photographing professionally in 1986, and was a member of Afrapix. Since the 1990s, he has photographed throughout Africa and the world, often in war-torn areas. His work has received numerous awards, including the South African Mondi award for photojournalism, the Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award, the Daimler Chrysler Award for South African Photography, and the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.
Vallie was a member of Afrapix and one of the few women of color to document the anti-apartheid struggle in the 1980s, chiefly in the Cape Flats area. She photographed violent protests, funerals, political rallies, and politicians, but also turned her camera to shopkeepers, farmworkers, and domestic laborers.
Paul Weinberg (1956- )
Weinberg has been photographing professionally since 1978 and was a founder of the photographers' collective Afrapix. In addition to his own work which examines people, cultures, and human environments, he has photographed on assignment for newspapers, magazines, and non-governmental organizations. In 1993, Weinberg won a Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Award. He is the Senior Curator at the Centre for Curating the Archive at the University of Cape Town and was instrumental in supporting the series of projects represented in part by the photographic work in this collection.
Graeme Williams (1961- )
Williams is a freelance photographer who works on documentary projects and magazine photography. Beginning in 1988, he worked for Reuters covering the resistance to apartheid and the movement toward African National Congress rule. His more recent color work focuses on the details of people's lives as a means of exploring change and the lack of change in contemporary South African society. He has published a number of books.
Jansje Wissema (1920-1975)
Wissema was a pioneering woman photographer and documentary photographer. She was born in Holland and emigrated to South Africa. She is known for her published photographs of District Six in Cape Town before the neighborhood's destruction in the 1960s. Her work spans the 1940s through the 1970s.
Gisèle Wulfsohn (1957- )
Wulfson (1957-2011) was a freelance photographer. In the early 1980s, she worked for the Star newspaper and Style magazine. She was a member of Afrapix. In 1994, she was among the photographers commissioned by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to document the first democratic elections in South Africa. She was primarily concerned with gender issues, education, and health, and documented the manifestations of HIV/AIDS in South Africa since the late 1980s.
- Acquisition information:
- The South Africa documentary photographs collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as gifts from 1993-2014.
- Processing information:
Processed by Katherine Castles, 2009-2010.
Reprocessed and enhanced by Paula Jeannet, August 2016. "The Other Camera" addition processed and encoded by Paula Jeannet, January 2017.
Accessions represented in this collection guide: 1993-0296, 1997-0011, 2008-0042, 2009-0151, 2010-0024, 2011-0183, and 2014-0085.
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- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- Anti-apartheid movements -- South Africa
Apartheid -- South Africa -- History
Apartheid -- South Africa -- Pictorial works
Documentary photography -- South Africa
Protest movements -- South Africa
- Black-and-white photographs
Digital audio formats
Gelatin silver prints
- Duke University. Center for Documentary Studies
University of Cape Town. Centre for Curating the Archive
Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
- Cape Town (South Africa ) -- Pictorial works
South Africa -- Pictorial works
South Africa -- Politics and government
South Africa -- Race relations
South Africa -- Social conditions -- 1961-1994
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[Identification of item], South Africa documentary photographs collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library