States of Emergency: Photographic Archives during and after apartheid

Activiteit: Toespraak of presentatieAcademisch


This paper focuses on the photographic representation of two key events in the history of South Africa – the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 and the Marikana Massacre of 2012. In the aftermath of both these events, Commissions of Inquiry were held and in both cases, no police officers or state officials were found guilty. The paper considers how the photographic archives that document these massacres expand, disrupt and exceed the juridical frame and refuse the containment of judicial commissions.
Photographs that document the violence of the state or that are made in the aftermath of catastrophic histories cannot undo past events, nor are they sufficient in themselves to overturn systemic injustice. Rather, they make it possible for us to return to these events and quite literally to see them again, often in a different, more critical light. The photographic archives of massacres remind us of these atrocities and make it possible to contest the erasure of state-sanctioned violence. The paper situates the photographic archives of Sharpeville and Marikana in relation to the larger history of the photographic collections that document the anti-apartheid struggle. It will seek to cast light on the networks of production, collection and circulation that make it possible for photographic archives to democratise access to the forms of evidence that states seek to suppress.
Periode25 okt. 2019
Mate van erkenningInternationaal