Caption: Sugarcane Harvester, Credit: Zwelethu Mthethwa, photographer
Image by: Zwelethu Mthethwa, photographer 
Sugarcane Harvester 

The Eye of Zwelethu Mthethwa

From: Sarah Lilley
Length: 06:05

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Since the 1994 demise of South Africa's apartheid system, photography in that country has taken on a new freedom, and a new meaning. It has evolved out of a milieu of censorship into a form of truthtelling and, finally, artistic expression. Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa talks about life during apartheid -- and the art that came after.

Sugarcane_harvester3-w600_small Since the 1994 demise of South Africa's apartheid system, photography in that country has taken on a new freedom, and a new meaning. It has evolved out of a milieu of censorship into a form of truthtelling and, finally, artistic expression. Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa talks about life during apartheid -- and the art that came after.

Piece Description

Broadcast History

Aired on PRI's "Studio 360" on June 25, 2010.

Transcript

ZWELETHU MTHETHWA: My name Zwelethu Mthethwa. I live in Cape Town. I'm an artist -- I do photography.

SARAH LILLEY: Zwelethu Mthethwa grew up in the town of Durban, in Eastern South Africa. His ambition was to be a painter.

ZM: A friend recommended to me that I go to the University of Cape Town, because it had the best art school at the time. But there was a catch to it, because as a black person I wasn't supposed to study in a white school.

SL: Photography was merely a loophole for Mthethwa. The black colleges didn't offer photography, so he applied to the Minister of Education to get special permission to attend the University of Cape Town. At the time -- and this was the early '80s -- the school was virtually all white, with an extremely small quota of black students.

ZM: So it was something... very surreal. It was very, very bizarre. We still had a “Group Areas Act”,...
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Timing and Cues

Piece is 5:35 in length, with a 30-second music tail for fadeout/outro by individual stations.

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Since the 1994 demise of South Africa's apartheid system, photography in that country has taken on a new freedom, and a new meaning. It has evolved out of a milieu of censorship into a form of truthtelling and, finally, artistic expression. Producer Sarah Lilley spoke with a leading South African photographer about life during apartheid -- and the art that came after.

OUTRO:

You can see some of Zwelethu Mthethwa's images at aperture.org.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Ndabaiwa Stella Chiweshe Talking Mbira: Spirits of Liberation. Piranha 2002 :00
Saor Afro Celt Sound System Volume 1: Sound Magic. Real World 1996 :00