In July 2011 while I was in Cape Town working on Love From Manenberg and researching apartheid-era portraiture at UCT, I had the opportunity to interview David Goldblatt. David’s responses to my questions concerning photography and Apartheid were thoughtful and, in my opinion, brilliant. I’ve spent many hours reflecting on his words and his generous spirit in the time since this interview took place. Below is an excerpt from our conversation. Additional excerpts will be published in the coming weeks.
Images ©David Goldblatt
Interview ©David Goldblatt, ©Sarah Stacke
Woman in her mother’s home, Soweto, Johannesburg, 1972.
Afrikaner boy, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, 1972.
In late March I was invited to speak about my work in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade French classes at a middle school in Hillsborough, NC. The goal was to give the students an idea how French can be used in careers, and in countries other than France. I tried, through the pictures I showed and my words, to introduce the students to the uniqueness of DRC while at the same time highlighting what Congolese youth might have in common with American youth. When I had some time to reflect after the two days of presentations, I was–perhaps naively–surprised that the overwhelming impression of Africa existing in the students’ heads was one of a rural, technologically lacking lifestyle. Very few of the students thought of Africa as a place they would like to visit. This leads to me believe that little has changed in the perception of Africa between this young generation and the one before it.
I hope my images, at the very least, caused the students to question the ideas of Africa that they held. They certainly asked me a lot of wonderful and questions about food, education, jobs, safety and housing. A good start, I think. Below are a few of letters of thanks I received following the visit. It was an absolute pleasure to show my images to such a curious crowd.
A6 to Bulawayo is a work in progress. The pictures in this series were made during my first visit to Zimbabwe in July 2011. For more images from A6 to Bulawayo, click here.
Matabeleland Produce Auctions.
Ishmael Sondag on the Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town, South Africa. This picture was taken in June 2011, about one month before Ishmael disappeared from the streets. Naomi and I believe he gave a false name when arrested for tik and is subsequently lost in the system at Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison or has returned to his family in Bloemfontein. Read more about this project here.
Studio Photo LESS
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo c. 1975.
© Lema Mpeve Mervil
Read more about this project here.
Maggie Valley TBD is a project I recently began in the western hills of North Carolina. This working title suggests that the direction and scope of this project is yet To Be Determined (TBD). Maggie Valley was was named after Maggie Mae Setzer Pylant, who was born in 1890 when Maggie Valley was still an isolated settlement in the wilderness. Today it is a tourist attraction for those visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino on the nearby Cherokee Reservation. This intersection, both geographic and cultural, between Maggie Valley and Cherokee is where my curiosity rests.