Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile pays tribute to Photographer Extraordinaire, Alf Khumalo, who passed away yesterday
22 Oct 2012
We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing away of the world renowned photographer, Alf Khumalo.
His illustrious career in photography spanned nearly six decades. He was given a permanent position at the Golden City Post in 1956 and from there he grew from strength to strength documenting watershed moments in South African history. Despite many periods of detention, arrests and police harassment, he had the courage to persevere and to pursue his craft.
He took pictures of the Treason Trial, the Rivonia Trial, the emergence of the Black Consciousness Movement, the student uprising in June 1976, Codesa Talks and the installation of the democratic government in 1994, among other milestones in our history.
His was recognised internationally with his work published in many papers such as The Observer, New York Times, New York Post and the Sunday Independent.
His great contribution through photography and a chronicler of history was recognised when he was awarded the South African Order of Ikhamanga in Silver in 2004. Through his life’s work, he has left for us with a rich and valuable tapestry of South African life with all its contradictions, sadness, endurance, hope, bravery and resilience.
He captured through photography the events that new generations have only learnt through history. Because his photographs brings to life the passion of those who committed themselves to struggle and to achieving freedom, they remain as vivid humanist accounts and interpretations of those who ultimately triumphed against a system that sought to dehumanise them.
Yet above all, these talents came from a man who was humble, modest about his achievements and approachable. He remained true to his art and truthful to his gaze and vision.
He opened a photographic school in Diepkloof, Soweto and taught many youth photography. He also set up the Khumalo Photographic Museum.
We feel Alf Khumalo’s passing even more painfully as it comes at a time when the Department of Arts and Culture is preparing to host a special two-day Indaba with stakeholders in the visual arts including the discipline of photography, where artists who have followed in Khumalo’s footsteps and those of his generation, will be participating to craft a future path for the sector.
Indeed he will be sorely missed by many. We shall remember him with great fondness and immense gratitude for his contribution to our nation.
Our sincere condolences go to the Khumalo family and to his friends.
For any enquiries please call:
Cell: 082 389 2684
Issued by: Department of Arts and Culture
22 Oct 2012
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