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Biography of Peter Sexford MAGUBANE

South Africa > Arts : Peter Sexford MAGUBANE

Peter  Sexford MAGUBANE
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Born on 18/01/1932 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Peter Sexford  Magubane (b. January 18, 1932), is South Africa's most famous photographer.

Internationally acclaimed photographer, Dr Peter Magubane, whose work has been published and exhibited all over the world, will present an exhibition entitled RITES OF PASSAGE at the UJ Art Gallery from 7 to 28 May 2008.This work will address the transition from child to adulthood in the various cultures of South Africa.

The post apartheid period has been a cultural rebirth for many South Africans, with a renewed interest in reviving their traditions. This collection of photographs portrays the initiation ceremonies of many of the cultures in South Africa.During initiation, the initiates are secluded away from their everyday life and their dress, adornment, and the teachings they receive, are reflective of the ancient dress and teachings of their ancestors.

Dr Magubane embarked on his long and distinguished career in 1955, when he joined Drum magazine.This took Magubane and his camera to the heart of the anti-apartheid defiance campaigns and treason trials.After the Drum years, he travelled and exhibited in Europe, and spent time studying in the United States and on his return in 1966 joined the Rand Daily Mail.In 1969, he was detained for 586 day in solitary confinement, and after this, he was banned as a photographer for five years.He returned to his work in time to bear witness to the uprising of young school children that began on June 16, 1976.

He resumed work for the Rand Daily Mail. Coverage of the Soweto riots of 1976 earned him worldwide acclaim (e.g. 'The coffins of thirty of the Sharpeville dead were buried side by side', see Magubane's South Africa, p. 26) and led to a number of international photographic and journalistic awards, one of which was the American National Professional Photographers Association Humanistic Award in 1986, in recognition of one of several incidents in which he put his camera aside and intervened to prevent people being killed. He also took photographs for several United Nations agencies, including the High Commission for Refugees and UNICEF, being particularly committed to exposing the plight of children and documenting traditional societies. His photographs have appeared in Life magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic and Time.

From the late 1980’s, Peter Magubane worked for Time Magazine.With his camera, he recorded the culmination of the struggle for liberation in South Africa.The dramatic images of this history are published in several of his books.

For his dedication and outstanding contribution to the world of photography, Peter Magubane has received numerous accolades, among them the Order for Meritorious Service from former President Nelson Mandela in 1999, the Mother Jones-Leica Lifetime Achievement Award; Martin Luther King Luthuli Award; Fellowship by the Tom Hopkinson School of Journalism and Cultural Studies; Honorary Doctorates from UNISA; Tshwane University of Technology; Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare.

In recent years he has become an art photographer, documenting the surviving tribal ways in post-apartheid South Africa in colour. He has stopped doing news work, and is instead concentrating on documenting post apartheid culture and publishing books on this.

Magubane has a number of books published reflecting the beauty, traditions and cultural practises of South Africans.These include Vanishing Cultures of South Africa; African Renaissance; Bantwane – Africa’s Undiscovered People; and AmaNdebele.

Last update : 01/30/2009

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