This essay documents the lives of surviving San (Bushman) communities in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. While some communities in Namibia and Botswana still have access to land where they are able to continue their hunter-gatherer culture, they have all been dispossessed to various degrees, and are struggling to come to terms with modern society.
This essay records the lives of traditional fishing communities at Kosi Bay on the northern Natal coast. In the late 1980s the area was declared a nature reserve, and the authorities ruled that the fisherfolk had to leave the reserve itself and live on its outskirts. Happily, after years of friction, their tenure was secured under new land and conservation policies adopted by the post-apartheid government.
In 1994 I was privileged to serve as official photographer for the Independent Electoral Commission, which managed South Africa’s first inclusive democratic elections. I witnessed – and recorded – this momentous process, up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president. My images – and those of other South African photographers – appeared in a book entitled An End to Waiting, an account of the elections and the IEC’s ground-breaking efforts, published subsequently by the IEC. I’ve borrowed its title for my essay.
For many years, I documented the forced removals – and struggles to resist removal – of rural communities under apartheid. In 1994, I was able to record happier moments when people began to return to land which they had regained under the new government’s land restitution programme. This essay chronicles that process and other, related, aspects of the South African government’s land reform programme.
The practice of creating African wildlife reserves by removing local people is a thing of the past, and the preservation of wildlife depends increasingly on a new accommodation between the animals and local communities. In this essay I travel to six countries in southern and eastern Africa to record the lives of indigenous people who, despite rapid modernisation, are still living close to the land and its natural riches, and explore how these new relationships are developing.
In this essay, I set out, after a lengthy absence, to rediscover the city of in which I spent much of my youth. Like many African cities, Durban is in a state of constant change -- it’s both first and third world, fused into one. When seeking to photograph it, one becomes even more aware of being surrounded by a continuum of contradictions. Durban buzzes with nuances and levels of unexplored humanity.
This collection traverses my personal photographic journey and professional career. Starting with images on the streets of Johannesburg in the late 1970s, it moves through images of escalating political resistance in the 1980s to contemporary urban and rural portraits and landscapes. In this way I share my travels from bush to city and all that lies between.
South Africa ethnic and cultural diversity are mirrored in a fascinating spectrum of churches and other religious or spiritual movements and institutions. In this essay I recorded religious rituals and spiritual practices in my old home city of Durban and elsewhere in South Africa.
My paternal great-grandparents, Edward and Fanny Weinberg, arrived from Riga, Latvia, in 1893, and my maternal grandfather and three brothers from Belarus in 1915. In this essay, I record a journey of remembrance and discovery to the towns where they settled, and along the routes they followed to establish themselves there. Taken with a compact camera, the photographs mimic postcards collected by my grandfather which recorded communications between family members all over the world, and which I discovered as a child in a old black trunk at home.
I have spent many years working with NGOs, including the International Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children, Oprah’s Angels, and the Ford, the Mott, Liberty Life and Princess Di Foundations. I have worked which numerous organisations active in the region and elsewhere in Africa which grapple with the vast disparities in development between the first and third worlds. After 1994, the war against apartheid changed into a war against HIV/AIDS, and I was soon back in the front line. Over the years, I have also been in countless schools and clinics in South Africa and elsewhere, using the camera to give a voice to disadvantaged learners and patients in the hope that someone is out there listening.