Apartheid, Struggle & Freedom – South African Photography 1950 – 2010

By Novell Zwange  – JOHANNESBURG – Dr. Ralf-P. Seippel, an art historian, has curated a historic photographic overview of South African culture and lifestyle from the 1950’s to the present day. Comprising mostly of black and white photography, this extensive touring exhibition gives insight into South Africa’s social, political and cultural aspects, as well as the economic situation and the struggle for survival in the mega-cities. It shows how South Africa has evolved into the modern nation we know today.

The exhibition which opens on 3 October 2010 – 11 January 2011at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, shows how South Africa is divided chronologically into three main time periods: 1950-1976 Apartheid, 1976-1994 Struggle and 1994-2010 Freedom.

Images by photographers including Bonile Bam, Jodi Bieber, Pierre Crocquet, David Goldblatt, Bob Gosani, George Hallett, Alf Kumalo, Ranjith Kally, Peter Magubane, Gideon Mendel, Santu Mofokeng, G.R. Naidoo, Cedric Nunn, Mikhael Subotzky, Andrew Tshabangu, Paul Weinberg and Gille de Vlieg, as well as those from DRUM Magazine whose names are today unknown, provide us with individual insights into life in South Africa over the past 60 years.

Photographs from the 50s and 60s published in DRUM tell the story of life in the period of Apartheid and reveal the naked truth of segregation, as well as documenting sports events, football stars and a night life full of jazz and dancing. Images from the 80s and 90s highlight brutal murders, demonstrations, the violence and brutality of imprisonment and the fight for freedom. Finally, photographers working in the 21st Century show a South Africa of recovery and immense development, democracy and freedom, alongside an understanding of the work still to be done and the inequalities that remain. In this new South Africa everyone can vote, there is freedom of speech and gender equality allows women to show their strengths.

Working in close co-operation with the BAHA Archive and South African Photographers, the exhibition opened in Germany at the Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin and the Museum Goch in May, and the Stadthaus, Ulm in June 2010.  In South Africa, as well as showing at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the exhibition will be on at the Pretoria Art Museum in March/April 2011.

The exhibition is accompanied by a German/English catalogue (160 pages) published by Hatje Cantz and edited by Delia Klask and Ralf Seippel. It features articles by Andries Oliphant, Luli Callinicos and Wiebke Ratzeburg.

The exhibition, sponsored by Daimler AG, will be opened by the Ambassador of Germany, Mr. Dieter W. Haller at the Johannesburg Art Gallery on Sunday 3 Oct at 4 pm.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is located in Joubert Park with the entrance in King George Street (off Wolmarans or Smith depending on the direction that you are coming from).