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work­ing class fam­i­lies, but came to dom­i­nate and doc­u­ment so­cial and po­lit­i­cal life in the ur­ban ghet­toes of Dur­ban and other South African cities from the 1950s. Kally and his peers cut their teeth at small In­dian fam­ily-owned and Zu­l­u­lan­guage news­pa­pers in Dur­ban, and had to spend their work­ing lives in the cul­tural sec­tions of main­stream news­pa­pers. They earned a pit­tance as free­lancers, and Kally and oth­ers be­came adept at find­ing work as wed­ding or com­mer­cial pho­tog­ra­phers. I grew up know­ing Kally and GR Naidoo, the leg­endary pho­tog­ra­pher and edi­tor of Drum magazine, be­cause they were friends of my un­cle, also a pho­tog­ra­pher. They were con­sid­ered celebri­ties in our com­mu­nity; ev­ery­one knew them and they knew ev­ery­one.

In 1978, I was vis­it­ing the Sun­day Times Ex­tra news­room and Kally asked me if I wanted to take over his dark­room, and that be­came my of­fice.

Twice he vis­ited me and tipped me off that se­cu­rity po­lice were keep­ing a close eye on me. On the sec­ond oc­ca­sion he told me about an im­pend­ing raid.

In the past 12 months, Kally and I be­came very close. I would visit him in Dur­ban, or in Johannesburg when he was vis­it­ing one of his daugh­ters.

He was very con­cerned that his ar­chive find a home and be loved.

Last week he called one of my col­leagues to en­quire if I was in Johannesburg and to in­form them that he was in hos­pi­tal and that I should visit him. Un­for­tu­nately, I had bad flu and was un­able to.

Leg­endary South African pho­tog­ra­pher Ran­jith Kally was a dom­i­nant fig­ure

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