Poignant images from the land

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Voices from the Land is a striking exhibition by photojournalist Jurgen Schadeberg.

It will run at the Durban Art Gallery from February 14 to March 24 as part of its national tour.

Schadeberg is a celebrated photographer whose works contributed to defining and documenting South African history during apartheid.

He moved to South Africa in 1950 from war-torn Berlin and became one of the few white photographers who documented the essentially black experience. He captured the defining moments which helped to shape our history.

Schadeberg is best known for his long and significant association with Drum magazine. He has trained a number of talented and successful black photographers.

His collection of photographs brings to life key social, cultural and political events and personalities in local history.

Some of the historic events which he covered include the 1956 Treason Trial, the Sophiatown removals of 1958, the Sophiatown jazz and social scene, the 1960 Sharpeville funeral and images of Robben Island.

He has taken pictures of Nelson Mandela in the 1960s, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Dolly Rathebe, Kippie Moeketsi, Thandi Klaasens, Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuka.

Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan said: "Like all good artists, Jurgen Schadeberg's camera continues to challenge. He employs it to probe, explore and uncover. Today it tests our notions of democracy, of human rights and of freedom."

"This exhibition, Voices from the Land, captures the living and working conditions of both the farmers and farmworkers in the new South Africa as seen through the lens. He has looked at successful farms run by black and white farmers and has rendered something poignant."