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Doctor Peter Magubane

Artist 207

Doctor Peter Magubane Activist Photographer

Dr Peter Magubane (born 1932) is a South African journalistic photographer who worked under the repressive regime of apartheid in South Africa. He was inspired by photography after his father bought him a Kodak Brownie camera when he was a schoolboy, his photographic career began during pivotal years in South Africa’s struggle for democracy. He put his camera to good use as an opposing voice to the apartheid government’s tyranny by capturing everyday experiences and struggles of black South Africans. These images exposed the injustices and humanitarian crisis happening in the country to the world’s media. During the apartheid years, Dr Peter Magubane endured harassment, beatings, buckshot wounds, long periods of arrest and interrogation.

Dr Magubane captured various experiences throughout the apartheid years. He documented the protests against the Pass Laws, the rise of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Nelson Mandela’s arrest, the Rivonia Trial, the banning of the ANC, the Sharpeville riots, the rise of Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness Movement, and the Soweto student uprisings, where he informed rioting students that “A struggle without documentation is no struggle at all.” Following the Soweto uprisings his house was destroyed in a fire and he was detained with fellow black journalists for 123 days - one of the many ways in which he paid a price during the course of his work.

Dr Magubane’s defiance extended to his skill for creatively hiding his camera from police in a hollowed out Bible then firing with a cable release from his pocket. On other occasions he took covert shots with his camera, which was hidden beneath his jacket, inside a milk carton or half a loaf of bread, which he pretended to eat while taking images.

Dr Peter Magubane became Madiba’s official photographer from the time of his release until his early years in the Presidency. After South Africa saw its first few years of democracy, Dr Magubane turned his attentions to images of the complex tribal and territorial conflicts following the new state of the nation. #peterMagubane #photography #activism #artblog #artistoftheday #artistsoninstagram #artresearch #celebratingart #investigatingart #blog #artist #art #contemporaryart #artistbio #arthistory #artresearch

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