Alf Khumalo: 5 decades in photos

first_img5 November 2004To take a photograph is to aspire to an art form. To have taken pictures of the most prominent South African leaders of the past five decades, from Albert Luthuli to Thabo Mbeki – that is a privilege, says internationally renowned photograher Alf Khumalo.Khumalo, recently awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest award for excellence in the creative arts, is a self-taught photographer.The essence of what attracted Khumalo to photography was and still is the visual impact of a picture. From the beginning, he says, it was always about capturing the movement – the visual impact.He even tried his hand at drawing in an attempt to capture the movement of the situations he found fascinating, but, he says, eventually realised that the camera does a better job.This he discovered when he launched his career as a journalist in the 1950s. Then, he was not only taking pictures, but writing stories as well. He was freelancing for Bantu World, a newspaper regarded as the voice of the black middle class at the time.His beat was covering court cases in Evaton. He says the magistrate so admired his accurate reporting that a special place was created for him inside the courtroom.“This is the time I met Mandela for the first time”, says Khumalo, adding that he enjoyed watching Nelson Mandela at work, drilling and questioning white people who did not want to be questioned by a black lawyer.Their relationship evolved from a professional one into a close friendship. According to Khumalo, when Mandela was in prison it became his duty to take pictures of Mandala’s family and send them to him.Photography won Khumalo his first car, in a 1963 competition run by South African Breweries. Khumalo submitted an image of mine workers, fatigued and sweaty against the background of a mine.Photography also landed him in New York, in 1971, where he tried to crack it as a freelancer. Although he did not plan to stay in the Big Apple for too long, he says he ended up spending eight months in New York.In 1980 Khumalo joined The Star as a permanent staff member. However, his freelance experience is as wide and extensive as his experience as a staff journalist.His work has appeared in international newspapers like The Observer, New York Times, New York Post, and Sunday Independent (UK). Locally, he also worked for Drum magazine and the long defunct Rand Daily Mail.In the course of a career spanning over half a century, Khumalo has documented the life and times of the evolving South Africa, both the commonplace and the historic, in the process capturing, for all time, much of the country’s collective history.He documented, inter alia, the Treason Trial, the Rivonia Trial, the resurgence of the trade unions in the 1970s, the emergence of Black Consciousness, the student uprising of 1976, the states of emergency of the 1980s, the unbanning of the liberation movements, the Codesa talks and the country’s first democratic elections.In September 2004, Khumalo was given the honour of exhibiting a collection of his life’s work at the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, an exhibition that drew much acclaim.His drive to capture the moment gave him the privilege of witnessing extraordinary moments – and forced him to endure detention, arrest and harassment at the hands of apartheid officials.Despite his age, Khumalo continues to work professionally – and to dedicate his time and effort to promoting his craft.In an effort to ensure that a new generation of South African photographers emerge, and to make sure that aspiring photographers do not face the same obstacles he did when he started out, he has opened a photographic school in Diepkloof, Soweto, which offers nine-month courses designed to train photographers from disadvantaged backgrounds.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Chief questions politics behind OPPs revelation it reviewed botched Thunder Bay police

first_img(Stacy DeBungee was pulled from a Thunder Bay river in 2015.)Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsAn Ontario First Nation leader is questioning the motivation behind the Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner’s decision to reveal the force reviewed Thunder Bay police’s botched death investigation of an Indigenous man found in one of the city’s rivers.Thunder Bay police said Tuesday it had no plans to release the OPP report.OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes on Monday issued a statement revealing his police force had “recently completed” a review of Thunder Bay police’s flawed investigation into the death of Stacy DeBungee, an Ojibway man, who was pulled from the McIntryre River at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2015.Hawkes’ statement was aimed directly at Rainy River First Nation Chief Jim Leonard, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Grand Council Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh who held a press conference last week criticizing the OPP for refusing to investigate the DeBungee case. The three leaders also called for the RCMP to step in and investigate DeBungee’s case because the region’s Indigenous communities had lost faith in the Thunder Bay police and the OPP.Leonard responded in a letter sent to Hawkes Tuesday questioning the OPP top cop’s motive in suddenly revealing the review of the case. The news came as a surprise to DeBungee’s family and to private investigator David Perry who broke open the case after finding four people who had contact with DeBungee before his death—people who were never interviewed by Thunder Bay police.“That you now announce that a review has been ‘recently’ conducted by the OPP is surprising and troubling for several reasons. Why keep this from the family or me in the face of all our requests dating back to July 2016?” said Leonard in the letter which was also carbon copied to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “Why did you announce this development publicly on June 5, 2017, without a word of notice to me or the family? Why a mere “review” of the TBPS file when what we sought was an independent investigation? What does “recent” mean? Is it coincident with our letter seeking the intervention of the RCMP?”Leonard’s letter also itemized a number of requests made by the chief, his lawyer, and the DeBungee family for the OPP to review the case. Each of those requests were met with silence from the OPP, according to the letter.In an interview Tuesday, Perry told APTN he was not contacted by the OPP in the course of their review. Perry’s own investigation revealed serious flaws in how Thunder Bay police handled DeBungee’s death. Perry, a former top Toronto police homicide detective, quickly found four people who were with DeBungee the evening before his death. Perry told APTN DeBungee’s debit card was also used after his death and that his identification cards were strewn at the scene along with identification belonging to another individual who has not yet been tracked.Thunder Bay police spokesperson Chris Adams said in an emailed statement the OPP review of the case would not be released because it “is an investigative report.”The chiefs also want the RCMP to investigate the cases of Tammy Keeash, 17, who was living in a group home and found dead in the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway on May 7 and of Josiah Begg, 14, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on May 18.Serious questions still remain around the deaths of three of seven First Nation youth who were the subject of a coroner’s inquest which ended in June 2016. Five of the seven youth died in Thunder Bay’s waterways and three of those deaths were found to be “undetermined.”Perry said there is a strong possibility foul play could be behind some of these deaths. The scenario has also been raised by lawyer Julian Falconer, who represented the Nishnawbe Aski Nation during the inquest. The prospect is additionally heightened by at least two separate cases of Indigenous men who were attacked and thrown into a city waterway.The city’s police service was recently rocked after its police chief J.P. Levesque was charged with breach of trust and obstruction of justice by the OPP for allegedly disclosing confidential information about Thunder Bay Mayor Keith [email protected]last_img read more