Popular Resistance in South Africa
Edited by Alex Harris and Iris Tillman Hill
Published by Aperture/CDS books 1990
This book presents eloquent and searing testimony of the communal struggle for freedom as witnessed and expressed by South Africans. Their words and images take us beyond the barricades that keep most of the media from the heart of the conflict.
“This collection of photographs depicts one of the longest and bloodiest periods of political resistance to apartheid, a time of mass mobilization and brutal repression. Where did we as photographers find ourselves in this turbulent landscape? We witnessed intimately the struggle around us, both the euphoria as the popular movement gained momentum, and the tragedy as the state responded violently to this challenge. Photography took on a particular significance in this period of our h istory as it provided irrefutable documentation of popular resistance and state brutality. The camera became a voice for those denied a vote and basic human rights, and was instrumental I bringing South African struggle to the international arena. The state responded by focusing its attach on the media. The camera was accused of being an instrument of insurrection. When the State of Emergency was redeclared in June of 1986, the already existing restrictions were made even more extensive. Many of the photographs in this book could not be taken today. The camera has played a special role in these times. It has been there to record inhumanity, injustice, and exploitation. It searches for peace and hope. It is beaconed by history to take sides. The photographers in this book have.”
– The Photographers, from the foreword
“Use these photos as a means of transport. Rid on them. No passes are needed. Go close. Imprudently close. They leave every minute. Their drivers are thee on the spot – often at considerable risk to their cameras and themselves. But we how are traveling risk nothing — except a reminder that justice has to be fought for, that often it has to be fought for, generation after generation, against men armed to the teeth against men, there where the photos take us, who have even manufactured a nuclear bomb to defend their wicked white power. Go close.”
– John Berger