Events & Programs
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on September 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. During the event, curator Alex Lichtenstein will speak on his work in South Africa, and will be joined by South African photographer Cedric Nunn, who will speak on contemporary photography in South Africa, and Dudu Madonsela, Head Curator, Bensusan Museum of Photography at Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa.
IU Cinema Film Series: “South Africa: Apartheid and After”
An IU Cinema film series –“South Africa: Apartheid and After”—will be presented in conjunction with exhibition. Between 1948 and 1994, South Africa stood out as a defiant last redoubt of official white supremacy and extreme racial segregation. Though profoundly isolated and defensive, the apartheid state was still the subject of myriad cinematic explorations that tried to peer into the hidden lives of its people, black and white alike. This series consists of three films, two made during the years of apartheid and one after, that offer a wide range of visual and narrative treatments of the problems of political repression, racial discrimination, the peculiarities of life under apartheid, and the persistent links between the U.S. and South Africa. The films will be free and open to the public and include:
Cry, the Beloved Country–Directed by Zoltan Korda (1951)
Tuesday, October 22, 7 p.m.
Based on Alan Paton’s famous novel illustrating racial divisions in post-World War Two South Africa, Cry, the Beloved Country, was filmed on location in 1949-1950, during the first years of apartheid. The film dramatizes the collision of African rural and urban cultures. American actors Sidney Poitier and Canada Lee star, and themselves had to negotiate South Africa’s complex racial terrain while shooting the film. Although critical of South African racism, the film also represents Paton’s view that black South Africans proved poorly adaptable to modern urban industrial life.
Come Back, Africa–Directed by Lionel Rogosin (1959)
Saturday, November 2, 7 p.m.
Come Back Africa remains one of the most famous—and yet, rarely seen—visual records of black urban life under apartheid. Shot clandestinely in a cinema-verité style, it recounts the story of a black migrant worker making his way through the workplaces, white homes, and black leisure spaces of segregated Johannesburg. The recently released 35mm print restored by Milestone provides an unparalleled glimpse of black life under apartheid in the 1950s, illustrating the new urban black culture that blossomed in Johannesburg’s thriving Sophiatown, shortly before the vibrant neighborhood was razed by the government. Politically and aesthetically this is probably the most important film ever made about black life under apartheid.
Searching for Sugar Man–Directed by Malik Bendjelloul (2011)
Sunday, November 10, 6:30 p.m.
This inspiring documentary won an Oscar in 2012 for its representation of the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a Detroit singer who cut two albums in the early 1970s and was then quickly forgotten in the U.S. His producers’ ambitions to make him as big as Dylan fell flat and instead he found work in the auto industry and as a construction worker. A bootlegged copy of one of his albums made it to apartheid South Africa where, unbeknownst to him, his socially engaged music became a huge hit among the white liberal population during the 1980s. In 1997, three years after the end of apartheid, two South African fans (a music store owner and a music journalist) set up a website hunt for him. They found him: just getting by and nearly forgotten in Detroit. They brought him on tour to post-apartheid South Africa, creating a revival of his music there and in the U.S.
Symposium: “Documentary Photography and the South African Experience
October 31, 9 a.m. to Noon (at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures)
The symposium will bring together Santu Mofokeng, a major contemporary South African photographer; John Edwin Mason, a historian of South African and U.S. photography at the University of Virginia; and Claude Cookman from the IU School of Journalism, who has written about Margaret Bourke-White to discuss Bourke-White, South Africa, photojournalism, and their transnational intersections with Life magazine. Beth Buggenhagen, Associate Professor of Anthropology/Faculty Research Curator, Mathers Museum, will chair the symposium, which will be free and open to the public.