1. Photography and The Disappeared

    On the East Wing of Museum Africa, opposite Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, two Argentinian photographic shows open on Thursday 24th at 12h30. 

    Ausencias, (Absences) is the title of the second featured exhibition by photographer Gustavo Germano. The concept and the works are a heartbreaking focus on the people who ‘were disappeared’ during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War. Gustavo’s own brother, Eduardo, was one of the many thousands of people taken by the then-dictatorship’s brutal thugs, never to return. His own and his family’s personal experience of their loss motivated Germano to find other families like his own, and to work with them to produce a series of devastatingly brilliant images that force the viewer to feel 'the chasm of absence.'

    These images are from the exhibition catalogue for Ausencias. This one above features the photographer’s own brothers.

    Adriana Lestido’s exhibition, Lo Que Se Ve (What Can Be Seen) focuses intensely on love, the beauty, difficulty and complexity of it, through images, mostly of women, with children, in hospital, in prison and in the everyday. Adriana’s work is shown together with texts from writers, including the Latin American poet Pedro Salinas.

    In a review of her show in Argentina last year, Emily Tarbuck writes, “Born in Buenos Aires, Lestido was the first Argentine photographer to win the Guggenheim fellowship. She captured her first images on her father’s camera when she was only four or five years old, but it was her homeland’s last dictatorship that sparked her compulsion to capture something bigger. The period saw the disappearance of her friend Willy in 1979, a figure paramount in her political awakening and joining of the Communist Vanguard. Lestido recalled that "his absence had somehow shaped my work. The need to record things in images, I suppose. To put an image in front of the absence.”

    There is a stark resonance between both Lestido and Germano’s exhibitions and what is perhaps one of the saddest legacies of apartheid - many South Africans who still experience the loss of members of their family here who never came home. One such story is that of the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) operative Nokathula Simelane which you can read about here in City Press.

    Late in June this year, just before Gustavo Germano came to South Africa for his show, the Germano family announced that the remains of his brother Eduardo had finally been found. He was laid to rest at a family funeral on the 17th of July 2014.


  2. "The apartheid state was first and foremost a psychotic state."

    What is bureaucracy and everyday life? This britishpathe video of South Africa’s propaganda welcome for Polish refugee children appears to have happened in a country where there were no black people. Indeed, there is no world represented in this video that acknowledges the wholesale displacement of black people and their children, since the first white humans ‘discovered’ the tip of the dark continent. 

    In his essay in Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, Achille Mbembe writes: “But the law of race under apartheid should also be understood as a constellation of imaginary identifications, an economy of denial and displacement, beginning with the settler’s denial of a common origin or destiny between them and the natives. This series of denials and displacements was converted into emotions and passions, affects, laws, and institutions. Indeed the existence of a void in the symbolic structure is the precondition for the racist drive to emerge. For any form of racism to operate at all, “what is foreclosed in the Symbolic must reappear in the Real” in a delirious, hallucinatory form. This is why the apartheid state was first and foremost a psychotic state. Delirium was expressed in the form of a primal repression at once political and psychic.”


  3. David Goldblatt, Neelika Jayawardane and the audience - in ‘a good conversation’ about Rise and Fall of Apartheid at Museum Africa in Newtown - on 24 June 2014.


  4. Here’s the trailer for the @City_Press ‘Good Conversation’ between David Goldblatt and @Sugarintheplum at @RNF_Apartheid on Tuesday.


  5. Children from inner city schools in Johannesburg who participate in the FILM + SCHOOL project, a cinema for young people initiative, by the Goethe-Institut and The Bioscope Independent Cinema - at Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life.

    The purpose of the project is to introduce young learners to the cinema, provide entertaining educational experiences and explore diverse social issues. The programme includes primary and secondary school children from under-resourced schools in Joburg’s inner city.

    The central focus of the 2014 FILM + SCHOOL Cinema Education Project is 20 Years of Democracy in South Africa, including a range of themes, from campaigning, democracy in developing nations, women and democracy to human rights. 

    Puleng Plessie is the coordinator of the FILM + SCHOOL project. She approaches the schools, manages the relationship between the project and the schools, and facilitates the discussions. If you want to contact her: pulengplessie@gmail.com



  7. dynamicafrica:

    Portraits taken by South African photographer Thabiso Sekgala.

    Based on the, system of homelands (from which the series takes its name) created by the apartheid government, Homeland is what Sekgala describes as a “culmination of an exploration of memory, place and interrelated self-imaging”.

    Intrigued by the feeling of ‘belonging’ linked to these geographic areas constructed by the apartheid government, Sekgala photographed peripheral communities - especially youth, in the former KwaNdebele and Bophuthatswan homelands to visually document the fading and abandonment of these landscapes.

    With the creation of a new South Africa, both geographically and socially speaking, homelands no longer have the same relevance they did during apartheid. As people begin permanently migrating away from these areas, issues arise that explore the marginal integration of these societies into a larger national culture.

    As part of a post-Apartheid photography generation, Sekgala is interested in making connections to his own past, memory and questions of belonging.

    Thabiso Sekgala is one of the few contemporary photographers featured on Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life - on at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg until 30 April 2015.


  8. Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibition extends to April 2015



    The mega-exhibition Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life is pleased to announce an extension for the show until the end of April 2015. The extension announcement by the International Center of Photography (New York) follows record-breaking attendance of the exhibition that has been on at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg, since February this year.

    Latest news is also that, the exhibition’s media partners, City Press, are set to host a public conversation between US-based writer, Associate Professor M. Neelika Jayawardane and world-renowned photographer David Goldblatt, on the 24th of June 2014.

    Mark Lubell, executive director of ICP, said, “On the historic 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, the International Center of Photography is delighted to be able to extend Rise and Fall of Apartheid at Museum Africa to give more people the opportunity to view the exceptional photographs it includes. Once again, we thank the photographers for their heroic images and express our appreciation to the Ford Foundation and all of our other partners for helping to bring this important exhibition to South Africa and contributing to its overwhelming success.”

    BOOK HERE for City Press’s Good Conversation between David Goldblatt and Neelika Jayawardene

    Exhibition Information


    13.02.2014 – 30.04.2015 / Museum Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg

    Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 09h00 – 17h00

    An exhibition organised by the International Center of Photography


    @RnF_apartheid on Twitter

    This edition of the exhibition is brought to Johannesburg by the South African Department of Arts and Culture and the Ford Foundation, supported by the City of Johannesburg, Museum Africa, the European Union, the Goethe-Institut, the Austrian Embassy, the British Council, EUNIC, the German Embassy, the French Institute of South Africa, the Swiss Embassy, and the University of the Witwatersrand.


    Okwui Enwezor is Director of Haus der Kunst, Munich and an Adjunct Curator at the International Center of Photography, and was recently named Director of the 2015 Venice Biennale. Before joining Haus der Kunst, Enwezor was Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice President at San Francisco Art Institute. He served as the Artistic Director of La Triennale 2012 at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and as the Artistic Director of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997), Documenta11 (2002), and 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008), among other international exhibitions. Enwezor was the Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. And, he is the founding publisher and editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.

    Rory Bester is an art historian and critic, as well as a curator and documentary filmmaker. Based at the  Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg, his teaching and research areas include archive and museum practice, curatorial studies, exhibition histories, migration and diaspora studies, photographic histories, post-colonialism, and post-war South African art. He regularly writes art criticism for the Mail and Guardian newspapers, as well as for Art South Africa, Camera Austria, and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.  Bester has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions in Denmark, Germany, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States. 


    For information, interviews and visual reference please contact:

    Lesley Perkes

    T: +27116145500

    C: +27836542009

    E: press@riseandfallofapartheid.org



    Facebook https://www.facebook.com/riseandfallofapartheid

    Twitter @RnF_Apartheid twitter.com/rnf_apartheid

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  9. David Goldblatt talks with Neelika Jayawardane

    A Good Conversation 

    Only 150 seats are available for audience wishing to attend the discussion hosted by our exhibition Media Partners, City Press, between M. Neelika Jayawardane and David Goldblatt - that will take place at Museum Africa at 18h30 on the 24th of June 2014.

    "Conversing with those photographs revealed the heart of Goldblatt’s work: his instinctive talent for spotting – and pinpointing – the things that make South Africans uneasy, probing the predicaments at the core of contemporary South African existence, and elaborating upon those unspeakable issues using the sharpness of an image." - from a previous conversation between Jayawardane and Goldblatt featured on the Joburg Workshop on Theory and Criticism.

    David Goldblatt was born in 1930 in South Africa and since the 1960s he has devoted all of his time to photography. In 1989, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg. In 1998 he was the first South African to be given a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2001, a retrospective of his work, David Goldblatt Fifty-One Years began a tour of galleries and museums. He was one of the few South African artists to exhibit at Documenta 11 (2002) and Documenta 12 (2007) in Kassel, Germany. He has held solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the New Museum, both in New York. His work was included in the exhibition ILLUMInations at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and has featured on shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Barbican Centre in London. He has published several books of his work. He is the recipient of the 2006 Hasselblad award, the 2009 Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, and the 2013 ICP Infinity Award.

    Here is a review of the exhibition, titled What does South Africa mean to Manhattan? by Neelika Jayawardane - from when the show was hosted in New York by the exhibition organisers, The International Center of Photography. 

    M. Neelika Jayawardane is Associate Professor of English at SUNY-Oswego. She was born in Sri Lanka, and grew up in the Copperbelt Province in Zambia; she completed her PhD at the University of Denver, Colorado. At the State University of New York-Oswego, she teaches transnational memoirs, fiction and visual art connected to immigrant experiences, including contemporary Southern African and South Asian work. Her publications explore the nexus between literature, photography, and the transnational/transhistorical implications of surveillance, colonialism and apartheid on migratory bodies. She is a senior editor and writer at Africa is a Country.

    Audience members are advised that a digital video recording of the event will be made publically available via media.

    Event Details - RSVP ESSENTIAL


    Exhibition open late for viewing


    Registration and light refreshments

    18h30 – 20h00

    M. Neelika Jayawardane and David Goldblatt in conversation


    Amy Sephton


    Images: Neelika Jayawardane by Johannes Dreyer and David Goldblatt by Lily Goldblatt.


  10. Light a candle or something - Antoinette Sithole

    "We remember Hector Pieterson – from pictures, textbooks and speeches mainly. More immediately, but already forgotten, is the six-year old boy who drowned in a pit toilet at a school in Chebeng village, Polokwane, earlier this year, the four children who got lost looking for their parents and died of starvation in Verdwaal in the North West two years ago, and the half million starry-eyed scholars who started school in 2002 and dropped out before they even reached matric." - Faranaaz Parker, Managing Editor of the The Daily Vox which launched today, June 16, 2014.

    Also on today’s Daily Vox, read why Hector Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette Sithole, does not celebrate South African Youth Day and says instead: "Those who are celebrating say it is for the victory. But for me, I would appreciate it more if people could come together and have a moment of silence, light a candle or something."

    In an extract from his essay in the catalogue accompanying Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, Khwezi Gule writes of the ‘commodification of suffering’ and, in particular, about photographer Sam Nzima’s famous 1976 image of Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu, while his traumatised sister, Antoinette Sithole, runs next to them.

    "The ubiquity and iconic status of that image cannot tell of the anguish that haunts its survivors. It can never convey the police harassment that drove Nzima to move to Bushbuck Ridge in what used to be Eastern Transvaal and to abandon photography. The same harassment by apartheid security forces that drove Mbuyisa Makhubo into exile, first in Botswana and then Nigeria, where he disappeared forever.* Somehow, ironically, the photograph that gave visibility to the brutality of the apartheid regime has had the converse effect of rendering other victims both invisible and silent.

    Implicated in the photograph are those people whose pain can never be part of the collective consciousness. Their pain remains unknown and undocumented, raising the question of whose pain is important. The pain of those who died, those who survived, the pain of those who were tortured, those who lost their livelihoods, suffered banishment and exile?”

    * Read the recent article by Kwanele Sosibo in the Mail and Guardian about the current search for Mbuyisa Makhubo