"When I arrived in South Africa in 1950 from Germany I found two societies running in parallel with each other without any communication whatsoever. There was an invisible wall between the two worlds. The Black World, or "Non European World" as described by white society, was culturally and economically rejected by the White World. Only servants and menial workers could enter the White World.
In the fifties The Black World was becoming culturally and politically very dynamic, whereas the White World seemed to me to be isolated, cocooned, colonial and ignorant of the Black World. In the fifties The Black World was becoming culturally and politically very dynamic, whereas the White World seemed to me to be isolated, cocooned, colonial and ignorant of the Black World. These images from the vibrant fifties Black World, "the rejected society", have been extensively covered in South Africa because I felt it was important that both blacks and whites should see what the Verwoerdian ideology had successfully destroyed." Jurgen Schadeberg
About the photographer:
Jurgen Schadeberg was born in Berlin in 1931 and, while still in his teens, worked as an apprentice photographer for a German Press Agency in Hamburg. In 1950 he emigrated to South Africa and became Chief Photographer, Picture Editor and Art Director on Drum Magazine.
It was during this time that Jurgen photographed pivotal moments in the lives of South Africans in the fifties. These photographs represent the life and struggle of South Africans during Apartheid and include important figures in South Africa’s history such as Nelson Mandela, Moroka, Walter Sisulu, Yusuf Dadoo, Huddleston and many others who have been documented at key moments such as during The Defiance Campaign of 1952, The Treason Trial of 1958, The Sophiatown Removals and the Sharpeville Funeral in 1960.
Schadeberg's images also capture key personalities and events in the jazz and literary world such as the Sophiatown jazz scene with Dolly Rathebe, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Kippie Moeketsi.
Jurgen Schadeberg, sometimes known as “The Father of South African Photography”, is a principle figure in South African and World Photography. His major body of work, which spans 60 years and incorporates a collection of some 100,000 negatives, captures a wealth of timeless and iconic images.
|Miriam Makeba, Johannesburg 1955|