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South African Photographer Santu Mofokeng's 'Metaphorical Biography' On Display In NYC

The Walther Collection in NYC presents a solo exhibition of work by South African photographer Santu Mofokeng (January 29 to May 23, 2015).

Santu Mofokeng: A Metaphorical Biography is a forthcoming solo exhibition presented by the Walther Collection in NYC spanning three decades of Santu Mofokeng's career. The show forms part of the non-profit foundation's two-year exploration of photo and video narratives from contemporary African artists and will feature images from the award-winning South African artist's photographic essays that explore landscape, community and social identity in South Africa during and after apartheid.


Mofokeng's early series were conceived while he was a member of Afrapix, the influential anti-apartheid documentary photography collective that championed the "resistance arts" movement and called for photographers to channel their work into activism. With his 1986 project, Train ChurchMofokeng captured the devotional worship and laying of hands that occurred in makeshift religious services put on during his daily commute between Soweto and Johannesburg. A later series, Chasing Shadows (1996-2006), delved deeper into the spiritual lives of black South Africans as they held faith ceremonies at the sacred Motouleng Caves.

In addition to documenting the transformation of public spaces, Mofokeng's work also chronicled the interpersonal. Townships (1985-87) and Rumours: The Bloemhoef Portfolio (1988-1994) are two series featured in the show that portray intimate and carefree interactions among members of black township communities in order to counter the widespread images of brutality and oppression that dominated the global media's characterization of South Africa at the height of apartheid.

Born in 1956 in Soweto, Mofokeng began his career as a freelance photojournalist and darkroom printer, and it was during this period that he decided to document the minutiae of his everyday life in order to form a "metaphorical biography." His blurred black and white images transcend a purely visual appreciation in order to evoke a more spiritual atmosphere that embodies seriti (a northern Sotho word that connotes aura, presence, confidence, power, spirit, essence, status and/or wellbeing). Mofokeng was awarded the Ernest Cole Scholarship in 1991 to study at New York's International Center for Photography. His work has been featured in group shows and retrospectives around the world.

'Santu Mofokeng: A Metaphorical Biography' will run from January 29th to May 23rd at the Walther Collection Project Space (526 West 26th Street, Suite 718) in New York City.

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Black Social Photography in South Africa: Before & After

A before & after picture of South Africa, as portrayed through the photographs of some of the most influential black South African social photographers.

The earliest photography in Africa can be traced back to the colonial cultural anthropologists of the mid-nineteenth century. The intention at the time was to shock the Western world with imagery of savages. More than a century later and not much has changed.

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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.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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