AFRICA IN FO­CUS

Financial Mail - - LIFE OUTBOX - Prakash Naidoo

Priya Ram­rakha was a Kenyan­born pho­to­jour­nal­ist who did some of his most pro­lific work in Africa dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s, at the height of the con­ti­nent’s independence strug­gles.

Born into an ac­tivist jour­nal­is­tic fam­ily, Ram­rakha was one of the first African pho­to­jour­nal­ists em­ployed by such pres­ti­gious ti­tles as Time and Life mag­a­zines. Among the in­flu­en­tial fig­ures he pho­tographed were Kenyan trade union­ist and independence ac­tivist Tom Mboya; Jomo Keny­atta, in­de­pen­dent Kenya’s first head of state; and Nige­rian politi­cian Odumegwu Ojukwu. He also pho­tographed a num­ber of US politi­cians and civil rights lead­ers, in­clud­ing Martin Luther King Jr, Mal­colm X, John F Kennedy,

Jackie Kennedy Onas­sis and Richard Nixon, and even the

Bri­tish royal fam­ily.

While cov­er­ing the Nige­rian civil war with CBS correspondent Mor­ley Safer in 1968, Ram­rakha was killed by Bi­afran sol­diers in an am­bush near Ow­erri.

Re­cently, a se­ries of his un­pub­lished pho­to­graphs was un­cov­ered. This forms the back­bone

Ex­hi­bi­tions turn lens on the con­ti­nent, past and present

of an ex­hi­bi­tion that opens in Jo­han­nes­burg this week. Priya Ram­rakha: A Pan-african Per­spec­tive, 1950-1968 af­fords one the op­por­tu­nity to see the work of this re­mark­able pho­to­jour­nal­ist, and re­flect on Africa’s past strug­gles while con­tem­plat­ing its many cur­rent chal­lenges.

Life on the streets

An­other pho­tog­ra­pher to cap­ture African life, this time on the streets of ma­jor cities, is Guy Til­lim, win­ner of the 2017 Henri Cartier­bres­son Award.

Til­lim started out as a re­porter in SA in the 1980s but was drawn to photography as a means of telling the story of the anti-apartheid strug­gle.

His lat­est work, Mu­seum of the Rev­o­lu­tion, for which he won the award, in­cor­po­rates pho­to­graphs shot on the streets of African cap­i­tals such as Jo­han­nes­burg, Ma­puto, Luanda, Harare, Li­bre­ville, Ad­dis Ababa and Nairobi. Thanks to the Henri Cartier-bres­son Foun­da­tion, he plans to con­tinue his pro­ject in Dakar, Ac­cra, Kam­pala and La­gos.

Steven­son Gallery, Cape Town, October 12-Novem­ber 25

Mu­seum of the Rev­o­lu­tion

Priya Ram­rakha: A Pan-african Per­spec­tive, 1950-1968 Fac­ulty of Art, De­sign & Ar­chi­tec­ture Gallery, Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg, October 5-Novem­ber 1

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