Photos

Evocative Portraits from Apartheid South Africa on View in NYC

The Walther Collection continues its exploration of vernacular photography from the continent.

Summer exhibition Who I Am: Rediscovered Portraits from Apartheid South Africa showing at the Walther Collection Project Space in NYC presents a rare glimpse into the private lives and aspirations of Black, Indian and Coloured South Africans under Apartheid rule.


Spanning Indian photographer Singarum “Kitty” Jeevaruthnam Moodley’s portfolio from 1972 to 1984, the dynamic black-and-white photo portraits capture the experiences of the poor and working class as they experimented with traditional and modern fashion while bending societal norms of gender, ethnicity and culture.

“Some are clad in religious outfits, Zulu beadwork, or the garb of a traditional folk healer, while others are decked out in either their Sunday best or heart-wrenchingly shabby attire,” describe the exhibition's organizers. “At times, the same person shifts between worlds: in one enigmatic pair of portraits, a transgressive sitter appears in both masculine and feminine guises.”

Captured in Kitty’s studio in Pietermaritzburg, the photos offer a nostalgic, yet bracing perspective that counter the indelible and appalling images that typically dominate memories of Apartheid South Africa. The collection serves to enlarge demotic studio portraiture from the continent.

“A vibrant community institution and anti-apartheid hub, Kitty’s Studio provided a safe space for local clients to collaborate with their photographer in the construction of portraits that often overturned established conventions,” the organizers explain.

Who I Am runs from June 2 until September 3 and continues The Walther Collection’s exploration of vernacular photography. Previous exhibitions showcased the portraits of celebrated, late Malian photographers Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé and nineteenth-century African and colonial photography.

Take a look at the beautiful, provocative portraits below:

"Family Portrait" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

"Three Men Dancing In a Line" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

"Boy In a Wicker Chair" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

"Two Men With Floral Decoration" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

"Two Women Wearing Party Dresses" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

"Woman Wearing Zulu Beadwork and Holding Umbrella" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

"Woman Wearing Zulu Beadwork and Pants" Courtesy of the Walther Collection

Sports
Photo by Ned Dishman, courtesy of Pops Bonsu.

In Conversation: Meet Pops Mensah-Bonsu—the Ghanaian Former Pro Player Trailblazing the Front Desk of the NBA

We speak to the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go about his journey to professional basketball stardom, his hopes for the Basketball Africa League and more.

Nana Pops Mensah-Bonsu didn't take basketball seriously at first. For the now General Manager of the Capital City Go-Go and a former player in the NBA and European leagues, the game wasn't as exciting as other sports. "For me, I was impressionable," he says, "I was young; all my friends played soccer and ran track. That's what I really wanted to do."

Born and raised in London, England, the former pro with Ghanaian roots (whose name stems from his middle name, Papa—the equivalent to 'junior') grew up playing soccer and running track. His older brother started playing basketball, a relatively invisible sport compared to soccer, when he was about 16 in the early 90s and eventually moved to the U.S. on a scholarship. Mensah-Bonsu says that when parents witnessed his brother's experience, they took it as an opportunity for the rest of their children to do the same—allowing them to have a better opportunity to succeed.

Mensah-Bonsu's dad introduced him to basketball and took him to the other side of London where he started developing his skills. After juggling the three sports with basketball on the back burner, Mensah-Bonsu eventually realized his potential once he made the move stateside himself as a teen. Making a name for himself as a student-athlete at George Washington University, his work ethic led him to a professional career in both the NBA, playing for the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors as well as internationally—playing for clubs in Spain, France, Turkey, Russia and Italy, to name a few.

Retiring in his early 30s, Mensah-Bonsu is still a part of the game—but on the decision-making side. Currently serving as the Capital City Go-Go's general manager of the G League (the official minor league of the NBA) in Washington, D.C., he's trying to blaze a trail for more diversity and inclusion in the NBA front office. "I really want to do my best and succeed at this next level because I know how profound and impactful it can be if it's done well," he says. "I put pressure on myself to work extra hard to make sure I can get to this position where I can have that impact on these guys and show them a mirror image of themselves and show them how possible it is."

We caught up with Pops Mensah-Bonsu to learn more about his journey navigating basketball stardom to calling the shots behind the scenes, his hopes for the newly established Basketball Africa League and more in the interview below.

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25K. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

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AKA was so moved by up-and-coming Pretoria rapper and producer 25K's single "Culture Vulture," he gave him a slot on his monumental Orchestra on the Square concert in March.

"The whole process when Kiernan (AKA's real name) reached out," recalls 25K, who will later admit AKA is one of his favorite artists, "that was like a dream come true for me. We were doing a gig, when I got home, I got a text, and it said, 'Yo, this is Kiernan, hit me back.' So, I saved the number, I was like, 'Yo,' then he FaceTimed me. He was like, '25K, I just had to reach you, dawg. Your song is great,' So, I was out of words. Just listening to him talk to me. He was like, 'Bro, we need to cook up something.' But eventually, time will tell. So the people will get to hear."

Thabiso Khathi, the respected hip-hop head & record label executive popularly known as Hip-Hop Scholar, as well as the newly appointed Head of Urban at Universal Music Group South Africa, lets the cat out of the bag. "I don't know if the world knows that AKA officially jumped on the remix for 'Culture Vulture,' which we will be bringing out in the next few weeks," says Scholar. Today, him and the label have gathered journalists at the Universal Music Group headquarters in Rosebank to witness the young artist's signing.

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News Brief
Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Nigerian-British Actor Susan Wokoma's First Rom-Com Feature Film Is In the Works

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Just two months ago, we got wind of Susan Wokoma landing a series regular role in CBS' new comedy pilot, Super Simple Love Story.

The Nigerian-British actor and 2017 BAFTA Breakthrough Brit honoree continues to make power moves in entertainment, as it was recently announced that she's in the process of writing her feature debut, Three Weeks, Variety reports.

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