Mr Mkhize's Portrait

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9781904563310: Mr Mkhize's Portrait

"We met Mr. Mkhize in a migrant worker's hostel in a township outside Johannesburg, South Africa. He told us that he had been photographed twice before in his life. The first was for his Passbook, a document which allowed the apartheid government to control his movements. The second was for his ID book, which allowed him to vote in the country's first democratic elections. Ten years later we met him and took his picture." -Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin Photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin were recently commissioned to return to their homeland of South Africa to document life there 10 years after the end of apartheid. For three months they traversed the country, examining the way people live, how they work, how they love, and how they die. Through their work we learn of individuals' aspirations and fears, such as Matapa Maila, a contestant in Miss Teen South Africa who has no memory of apartheid; Mandllenkosi Noqhayi, a circumcision initiate who is studying to become an accountant; and Mishack Masilela, a contestant at the Miss Gay Soweto competition, who wants to be able to marry the man that he loves. Threaded through these personal tales and glimpses of everyday life we gain an understanding of the wider issues facing South Africa today, such as the housing shortage, high unemployment, widespread violent crime, the impact of economic migrants, and, perhaps most significant of all, the widespread effect of the AIDS epidemic. But it is also a story of optimism and empowerment. After 10 years of freedom, South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and the strongest economies in Africa. These photographs were recently displayed in Johannesburg at the new Constitutional Court, built on the site of The Fort, the infamous jail used by the apartheid government to imprison activists such as Ghandi and Mandela.

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About the Author:

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are a photographic team based in London. Together they have produced three photographic books: Trust (2000) which accompanied their solo-show at The Hasselblad Center, Ghetto (2003) a collection of their work as editors and principal photographers of Colors magazine and Mr Mkhize's Portrait (2004) which documented South Africa ten years after apartheid and accompanied their solo show at The Photographers' Gallery.

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