Schlagwort-Archive: message

Designer Craig Native in interview

The world doesn´t need more glamour brands if there are children living on the streets

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Craig Native ist ein Modedesigner mit internationalem Ruf. Dem in absoluter Armut aufgewachsenen Modefan ist es gelungen, sich kreativ zu entfalten  und zur südafrikanischen Identität beizusteuern. Anfänglich interessierte sich dieser als Kind für Gebäude, Autos und Menschen, die er in eigene Zeichnungen untergebracht hatte. Mit zunehmendem Alter entwickelte sich seine Vorliebe für die Mode, welche mittlerweile verbunden mit südafrikanischen Elementen einen besonderen und vor allem einmaligen Touch erhalten hat. Mit der Kollektion „Native Clothing“ verfolgt der Designer einen sportlich-afrikanischen Style, welcher in der Zielgruppe der 18 bis 38-jährigen Südafrikaner große Resonanz erfährt. Glamour und Eleganz, welche vom renommierten Johannesburger Modelabel „Black Coffee“ vordergründig verfolgt werden, lehnt Craig Native vehement ab. Er untermauert, dass Eleganz immer dann überflüssig ist, solange Kinder in ärmlichen Verhältnissen auf den Straßen leben müssen. Mit dem deutschen Modeunternehmen OTTO konnte Native bereits zusammenarbeiten, indem seine Klamotten auch in Deutschland erhältlich sind. Grundsätzlich verbindet er die deutsche Mode mit Individualität und Kreativität. Sein größter  Traum wäre es, wenn er mittels seiner Fashionkreationen zum Wohlstand auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent beitragen könnte.

© South African street style by fashion designer Craig Native

© Craig Native, one of the most popular fashion designers from South Africa

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German Gateway to South Africa, the fashion designer from Cape Town, Craig Native. Mr. Native, you are originally from Cape Flats, the poor side of Cape Town. How did you come up with fashion?

Answer: I drew or sketched pictures to keep me occupied at home. It was not fashion but buildings, cars and sports people. In my teen years when you got more fashion conscious clothing design became interesting, especially sportswear.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: „Native Clothing“ is your fashion label, that was launched in 2000. Your collection is combining African elements, socio-political messages and sportive attributes. Who is your target group, what is „Native Clothing“ standing for and how many creations do you have realized this day?

Answer: Target group is 18- 38 years predominantly but it has not been a rule. I like making clothes for those who want to spend time thinking about their world around them being more conscious rather than not questioning choices one makes.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In the past, we have interviewed the designers from Johannesburg label „Black Coffee“, who are working very striktly on the basis of fashionableness. Do you think, that elegance could take a bigger emphasis in your style?

Answer: Growing up in poorer areas in Africa, makes me not worry about glamour and elegance. Fashion is not only about that. I would rather use fashion as a avenue to spread messages of social and environmental development of 3rs world countries. The world doesnt need another glamour brand if there are children starving and living on the street .

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known for your interest in political matters. The African National Congress (ANC) celebrated his centenary on 8th January 2012. The ANC has been criticized many times by media. What do you think about the current developments in South Africa?

Answer: The world loves negative press it causes more sensation.  Any one who runs South Africa will have a difficult time because you cant wipe away 40 years of negative history is just over a decade. Every country will have their issues. It could be a lot worse in South Africa so I choose to look at what our government are getting right rather than what they getting wrong. The future generations I believe will help paint a different picture for South Africa.

© A model is wearing clothes designed by Craig Native

© A model is wearing clothes designed by Craig Native

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: „46664Fashion“ is a brand, which has been designed by you and your South African colleagues Chris Vogelpoel and Barbara Tosalli. 46664 was the prison number of Nelson Mandela.
What would you say to people, who are expressing their discomfort, that Nelson Mandela´s life could be commercialised by this brand?

Answer: 46664 has been endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It would not exist without their approval. Its a legacy of that represents itself through cloth.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which designers are your role models?

Answer: I dont really have favorites and many of them aren’t world famous. I admire creatives like artists, interior designers, african crafters.

Craig Native is participating in „Cotton Made in Africa“, an initiative to support African cotton workers. His fashion is based on African styles and identities. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are still working with German fashion retailer OTTO. What is your impression of Germany, German fashion and culture?

Answer: My impression that there is a lot of individual style. The street fashion is quite interesting. It´s certainly creative and experimental.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Mr. Native, which dreams would you like to realize in regard to your private and professional life?

Answer: If my clothing can contribute towards the development of the continent of Africa then I would be happy.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Craig Native, fashion designer, thank you very much for this interview!

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Fotograf Jürgen Schadeberg im Interview

Die Interpretation von Fotos liegt im Auge des Betrachters

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Jürgen Schadeberg ist der deutsche Top-Fotograf bei südafrikanischen Motiven schlechthin. Der Berliner wird nicht ohne Grund als „The Father of South African Photography” bezeichnet. Schon 1950 emigrierte er nach Südafrika, um den Kampf gegen die Apartheid künstlerisch zu begleiten. Er hatte bereits beeindruckende Ikonen wie Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu oder Miriam Makeba vor seiner Linse.  Vor allem die Vereidigung Mandela´s zum ersten schwarzen Präsidenten in Südafrika verbindet Schadeberg mit seinem eindrucksvollsten Erlebnis am Kap. Das Land verfüge mittlerweile über eine starke Werbefotografie, allerdings ist das Dokumentationsspektrum dessen weiterhin schwach aufgestellt. Mit seinen Fotowerken, etwa mit der Township-Fotoserie „Soweto in colour“, schnappt er gerne jene Momente ein, die alltägliche Begebenheiten darstellen. Die Interpretation seiner Bilder, so Schadeberg, überlässt er dem jeweiligen Betrachter. Die gegenwärtige Rückwärtsentwicklung Südafrikas erwidert der Fotograf mit dem Willen, niemals aufgeben zu dürfen. „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ dankt Jürgen Schadeberg für die Bereitstellung von Fotos, insbesondere aus der Kollektion „Tales from Jozi“.

Redaktioneller Hinweis: Es wird vorsorglich darauf hingewiesen, dass eine Verwendung des abgebildeten Bildmaterials ohne entsprechende Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber nicht gestattet ist!

© Jürgen Schadeberg is known as “The Father of South African Photography”

© Jürgen Schadeberg is known as “The Father of South African Photography”

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German Gateway to South Africa, Mr. Jürgen Schadeberg, photographer and film director from Berlin.

Answer: Mr. Schadeberg, you are known as a very famous photographer, who left Germany for South Africa in 1950. Which reasons had motivated you to emigrate?

I wanted to leave war-torn Germany and find some adventure in the new world.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You accompanied with your arts the struggle against Apartheid. Would you have ever imagined that apartheid will be someday over?

Answer: I believed that such an inhuman system as Apartheid could not have lasted.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You captured with your camera several South African personalities like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu or Miriam Makeba. Which has been your most impressive moment in South Africa?

Answer: When Nelson Mandela was elected President and for a time the country was united.

© Mandela's return to his Cell on Robben Island 1994/ series: Mandela (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Mandela's return to his Cell on Robben Island 1994/ series: Mandela (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Why did you used monochrome pictures in regard to Mandela & Co.?

Answer: During the fifties in SA there was very little work done in colour because the technology was not advanced enough.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In some media, you are called as “The Father of South African Photography”. Is South Africa having at all a photography industry?

Answer: Yes, there is a thriving primarily commercial photography world but documentary photography is developing well.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Your photo series „Soweto in colour“ is catching day-to-day situations of the township population. Which message would you communicate to the viewers?

Answer: The message is in the eye of the beholder.

© SOWETO TODAY/ series: Soweto in colour (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© SOWETO TODAY/ series: Soweto in colour (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South Africa is making, today, some setbacks in democracy. With corruption cases, the Secrecy Bill or hate speech by famous figures like Julius Malema, is the rainbow nation coming under pressure. Are you still following the developments in South Africa and if yes, what is your mind in this issue?

Answer: Yes, it’somewhat disappointing but one doesn’t give up hope.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which further dreams would you like to realize?

Answer: To leave in peace and harmony and continue my work.

© Kids on staircase/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Kids on staircase/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Malako Club/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Malako Club/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Joyce Nzama & Baby/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Joyce Nzama & Baby/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Chalsea Hotel/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Chalsea Hotel/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Rose Boys/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

© Rose Boys/ series: Tales from Jozi (Picture Source: http://www.jurgenschadeberg.com)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Jürgen Schadeberg, photographer and film director, thank you very much for this interview!

2010sdafrika-Interview mit der Fotografin Zanele Muholi:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/exklusive-interview-with-zanele-muholi/

2010sdafrika-Interview mit dem Fotografen Louis Vorster:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/multimedia-projects-by-louis-vorster/

2010sdafrika-Interview mit dem Fotografen Roger Ballen:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/photos-with-reflection-on-the-psyche-roger-ballen-in-interview/

Miss Lira in interview

„Aaaah Germany! I could live in Germany“

(Autorin/ Editor: Nadja Krupke)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Die Top-Musikerin Lira gab ihre Karriere als Wirtschaftsprüferin auf, um die südafrikanische Gesellschaft mit ihren eigenen künstlerischen Interpretationen zu bereichern und Gefühle greifbar zu gestalten. Lira sieht die Musik als Zufluchtsort, den der Mensch braucht, um Erfahrungen und Realitäten zu verarbeiten. Inspiriert wird sie zum Beispiel von Ikonen wie Nelson Mandela und Oprah Winfrey, die ein enormes soziales Engagement bewiesen haben. Ihr neues Album soll Hoffnung, Geborgenheit und Glück versprühen, sagt sie. Negative Eigenschaften, die den Alltag prägen, will sie mit ihrer Musik bekämpfen und den Seelen der Menschen eine Pause gönnen. Lira wurde in Deutschland schon mehrfach vom Publikum herzlich empfangen – ob in Stuttgart, Berlin, Würzburg, Frankfurt oder Konstanz. Die Sängerin schätzt Deutschland sehr und könnte hier sogar leben, sagt sie. Ihr großes Ziel für die Zukunft ist es aber in den USA ihren Durchbruch als Musikstar zu schaffen und anderen südafrikanischen Künstlern Hoffnung auf internationalen Erfolg zu ermöglichen.

© Miss Lira, one of the most famous singer from South Africa. She is counting to the handful of really successful musicians. A superstar, who ist using her voice to create a positive change in South African society and to be an example of possibility for all citizens.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome the singer Miss Lira on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa . You started your career towards the business world. Why did you choose to study Internal Auditing and Financial Accounting?

Answer: It came about because Accounting was my favourite subject at school. I was not allowed to study music as my parents felt that it would be wiser to have something more “solid” to fall back on. A career in finance seemed logical because I enjoyed accounting and Business studies as subjects.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff:  When first did you realize that you were born to sing and not sit behind a desk and what was the essential reason for you to give up everything you knew and to go in a completely different direction?

Answer: Growing up I saw the power of music at work among my family members and within my South African community. The elders would play music night and day and I observed what it could do to a people, but did not understand how. There were songs of struggle that seemed to give words to what people were feeling but could not articulate. It seemed to comfort those who could not express their pain. It seemed to give people an escape from their undesired reality. I was intrigued by this and wanted to be able to do the same – – make people feel that they could express their emotions when my music played.

When I was an undergraduate student, studying accounting I used my skills to exchange for recording time at a local studio. I had my first demo at the age of 18. When I graduated, I continued in accounting for a couple years. But soon turned in my letter of resignation and created a five-year plan for my music career. My mother made it kind of easy for me because she said “well since you have something to fall back on I’d rather have you happy”. So in those initial days, my mother was the motivation I needed. It helps when a parent is open to the idea of you pursuing your dreams.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Since you have devoted your life to music, you have been extremely successful, where do you get your inspiration?

Answer: I’m inspired by so much – Nelson Mandela and Oprah are at the top of my list. I am inspired by the fact that these two individuals have done so much with their lives and impacted so many. I recently was moved by Steve Jobs achievements in a similar way. I’m also inspired by observing people going about their lives and by my own life experiences.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What are your messages you wish to utter through your music?

Answer: The music upbeat, it’s a real feel good album. I want listeners to feel great when listening to it. I know life is tough and the global economy places people is an uneasy space… my music brings messages of hope, comfort, celebration. It’s meant to make you feel good through all of life’s trials and tribulations. I think there’s enough negativity out there in the world and I have no desire to add to it. People seek solace in music and I want mine to be an uplifting experience. We’ve all gone through hardships and we have had to overcome a lot. My music stand’s out because it focuses on the possibilities of life.

Lira in concert during World Cup 2010: Pata Pata composed by Miriam Makeba

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Do your songs capture a certain reality that is found in South Africa ?

Answer: I’ve noticed that some of my perceptions are influenced by my South Africa upbringing, which is the experience of apartheid, the transition into a democratic government and then having to figure out what to do with our new found freedom. I was determined if nothing else to use my voice and gift to create a positive change and to be an example of possibility for South Africans. There are only a handful of really successful musicians in South Africa and there’s only so much we can do in our small territory but I’ve been fortunate to break many barriers.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How much would it mean to you, to seize the international music industrie and what do you think this would mean for South Africa?

Answer: It means that anything is truly possible for anyone who focuses on achieving a goal. South Africans know my journey and they have seen me turn my failures into a success. I have positively influenced many people by merely following my dreams – Having a successful international career I believe would boost the confidence of many South Africans. In as far as what is possible for us out there.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Have you been already in Germany and which impressions do you have from Germans?

Answer: Aaaah Germany! I could live in Germany. I have had amazing experiences over there. The people are so appreciative of African Music, they are so warm. I have been to Stuttgart, Berlin, Würzburg, Frankfurt and Konstanz. I have an appreciation for Germany!

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2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What are your ambitions, hopes and dreams for the future?

Answer: I have a very specific vision for myself because – I’m at a stage where I want to explore new markets, to see how far I can go with my career. I have the rare opportunity to enter the world’s largest music market (U.S.) and see if I can transform my appeal to a global offering. It’s a dream I’ve always had. My focus is reaching and growing my American fan base.

I would also love to do an African Tour… I have my heart set on it in 2013.

You can get up to date information on what I’m doing at my website www.misslira.com.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Miss Lira, South Africas top musician, thank you very much for this interview!

Pieter-Dirk Uys – Comedian in interview

„Freedom of speech means we have the right to opinions“

(Editor/ Autor: Serge Aka)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Als Frauen verkleidete Comedians, wie Hape Kerkeling in Deutschland, sind in fast allen westlich-orientierten Staaten vorzufinden; auch in Südafrika. Pieter-Dirk Uys ist am Kap dafür bekannt, dass er sich in die Rolle von impulsiven Damen begibt und mit Zynismus, Ironie und Provokation auf sein Gegenüber einwirkt. Insbesondere um seine Rolle als Evita Bezuidenhout/ Tannie Evita lieben ihn die Südafrikaner.  So stellte er einmal die These auf, dass Frauen zurück in die Küche müssten (siehe das unten abgebildete Video). Der in Kapstadt geborene Comedian kritisierte auf einer literarisch-künstlerischen Ebene das Apartheidregime und machte sich somit zum Gegner der weißen Minderheitsregierung.  Mit Mut und Ehrgeiz engagierte er sich als Evita immer wieder gegen die Apartheid, sodass er eines Tages sogar den  persönlichen Lob von Nelson Mandela erhielt. Mit Berlin verbindet Pieter-Dirk Uys viel Zuneigung, da ein Teil seiner Familie aus der Bundeshauptstadt stammt. Das Erlernen der deutschen Sprache, so verriet uns der Comedian während seines Berlin-Aufenthaltes exklusiv, wird angestrebt, um dessen Shows eines Tages auch in Deutsch anbieten zu können. Wir freuen uns, dass auch diese Person des öffentlichen Lebens den Fragen des Portals „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ zur Verfügung stand.

© Pieter-Dirk Uys - South African comedian with German ties

© Pieter-Dirk Uys – South African comedian with German ties

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ the South African comedian Pieter-Dirk Uys. Mr. Uys, how did you get in comedy? Was it a dream of your childhood or the result of a challenge?

Answer: It was more a challenge to try and fight the fear of authorities and politics, apartheid. There were various ways to fight it and I just thought to fight it with humor might involve many people because a lot of politics was very stupid and needed to be pointed out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known as a satirist, who has the gift of gab. You love to play female Characters. Your performance is inspired by desperate first ladies. How do you choose them and what message do you want to communicate?

Answer: Well there are so many interesting women in politics, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel,…I mean there is a sort of really they offer themselves as theatrical characters. I think in this case it is very interesting to look at women in politics, their strength in a world of men, how they use their body language, make-up, hair to get away I think they are very successful in politics and it is very theatrical, I think the audience finds it funny and interesting to see a man suddenly become a female character.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: With your character Evita Bezuidenhout you have criticized during Apartheid the racial segregation between white, black, colored and asiatic. How have the reactions of the government and the white public to your shows been?

Answer: You know the old days I was censored and there was a lot of police harassment to trouble which was expected. In the democracy we have freedom of speech, so within the framework of that I had a very successful career. There are some of the politicians that are uncomfortable with what I say, but that is ok I don´t mind, I don´t particularly want them to be a fan, I mean they give my material and in case they do like what I say they can resign.

Evita Bezuidenhout: „Women should be go back to the citchen“

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Don´t you fear for your life?

Answer: No no no, you know I keep on saying if you fear for anything, you can´t tell the truth. If I don´t tell the truth I am going to be fearful because a lie is serious, the truth is serious enough, you don´t have actually to lie more to make it entertain.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In the past, you interviewed the most famous hero of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. He told to you following phrase: „You are one of my heroes“. Which feelings did you have at that time?

Answer: I mean first of all I am sitting in a character as Evita, and there is Nelson Mandela talking to Evita but saying to me you are one of my heroes, I think it was wonderful, it was such a great. The man´s humanity and its humor is extraordinary and I have been blessed with my friendship with him and it is something that changed my life.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: About this friendship, can we say that it is something you have been expecting before?

Answer: Well, for most of his life he was in jail and he was away, but he used to see my videos in prison, there used to show videos on robben island and so, I used to get messages from Winnie Mandela, from Nelson through Winnie. So I was looking forward to meeting him when he came out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Mr. Uys, you know the public figure Desmond Tutu too. He is still condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine as „Apartheid“. What is your opinion in this matter?

Answer: Freedom of speech means we have the right to opinions and I think he was right to talk about that aspect, he was very verbal during Apartheid about cultural boycott. I personally was not very convinced about cultural boycott during apartheid, because the culture that was not sent to South Africa was in fact the culture that would have destroyed Apartheid. I was glad that he brought it up, so that the companies of which ninety per cent were young black people had to think about that. How do they feel about going into a place where Palestinians are not allowed to go? But Desmond Tutu always leads in its criticisms and his prayers; he is a very special human being.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What do you feel when you come to Berlin knowing that your mother is originating from this place? Do you have ties to Germany and German comedians or even a German part-identity?

Answer: I do not have ties to people here other than friends, but I feel very familiar here in Berlin. Having been here many times and doing show here makes me feel well, that is why I want to come and live here for a year and really learn the language, so that I can also perform in German language.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams would you still realize in your private and professional career?

Answer: One of my dreams is to establish my German language to the extent that I can also do a performance here. You know also the year use to have 365 days whereas my year has only two days, today and tomorrow. Today is the most important day and I do not want to look across tomorrow and ignore what today has to offer.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Does it mean you do not plan the future?

Answer: Of course I do plan years in advance but in pencil so that you can rub it out and write again. It is very important to plan but also very important to listen and to see how quickly things go. Look at Egypt, in a week has completely changed from one thing to another. It is very exciting.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: So you live the present?

Answer: Of course.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Pieter-Dirk Uys, South African Comedian, thank you very much for this interview!

Reflection on the psyche – Roger Ballen in interview

„For me the dark side has always been a source of light and energy.“

(Editor: Anne Schroeter)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Roger Ballen zählt zu den bekanntesten Fotografen Südafrikas.  In New York geboren und in Johannesburg nun lebend,  begann Ballen mit dem dreizehnten Lebensjahr mit der Kunst der Fotografie. Seine Mutter arbeitete für die renommierte Fotoagentur Magnum Photos. Ballen fotografiert jene Begebenheiten, die bei den meisten Betrachtern ein beklemmendes Gefühl auslösen dürften – eine Reflektion in die dunkle Seite der eigenen Psyche. Roger Ballen ist ein Künstler, der sehr viel Anspruch an sich selbst stellt. So ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass dieser Mensch für seine Fotokollektionen meist über fünf Jahre braucht, bis diese in Form eines Bildbandes veröffentlicht werden. „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ ist überaus erfreut, diesen interessanten Top-Fotografen interviewen und darüberhinaus exklusiv einige seiner eindrucksvollen Kunstwerke im Portal abbilden zu dürfen.

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2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German gateway to South Africa – the in New York City born and in Johannesburg living photographer Roger Ballen. You are known for your impressive arts in South Africa and abroad. Why did you start to photograph and what does it mean for you to catch the reality in pictures?

Answer: I bought my first camera when I was thirteen. By that stage, in the early sixties, my mother had been working for Magnum for some years. Through her conversation, and particularly her collecting, I was exposed to the work of many photographers – some of them now considered historically important. In this milieu there was a complete belief in the value of photography; and particularly in its ability to capture and convey meaning in a socio-documentary context.

© Photographer Roger Ballen from Jo´burg

© Photographer Roger Ballen from Jo´burg

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How do you choose your themes? Do you even choose them or do they come “naturally”?

Answer: My themes are multiple and ultimately very difficult to describe in words. Most of my projects take approximately five years to complete and are then published as a book. The projects evolve over time and it is next to impossible to predict the course the images will take.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Would you approve, if I say, that your photographs are scary? And if you do, why do you still take them, rather than happy and content photographs?

Answer: I believe that if a person find my images scary then that individual has been affected in a very positive way. The images have penetrated into the ’shadow side‘ the place of the psyche that we are scared to confront, to come to grips with. Most people call it the dark side. For me the dark side has always been a source of light and energy. I often mention to people that one cannot find light without knowing the dark.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which reaction do you expect from people that look at your photographs, especially when they usually have nothing to do with arts or photography, from ordinary working class people?

Answer: It is very difficult to know exactly what anybody else feels. My intentions in taking these images are to better understand myself. I do not take photographs to mimic what other people might experience or to predict how they might react. It is just not possible  for me to understand how others will relate to my images.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which messages are you promoting in your photographs?

Answer: As I get older, the meaning of the human condition is rooted in the realization that ‚knowing more is knowing less.‘ We are doomed to leave this world without any clue as to why we were here, where we came from, and where we are going. This is a fate of utter marginalization.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You have often been accused of exploiting people for your photographs. What would you answer to people who say that?

Answer: I believe that my photographs are more psychological in meaning. The images represent a psychological culture. At the same time they emanate from my own psyche. I have never considered myself  a photo journalist or a politically orientated photographer. Many of my images represent a universal sense of marginalization, alienation and the inability to cope with the chaos around us. The reason that these images still have meaning to people who know nothing about South African history is that my viewers feel that an aspect of themselves is being reflected in the image.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In 2010, you have been in Berlin. Which impressions do you have collected from Germany and Germans?

Answer: It is always difficult to generalize about a culture. Nevertheless, I have been very impressed with the cultural dynamics of Berlin.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Roger Ballen, photographer from Johannesburg, thank you very much for this interview and for  providing of your arts!

2010sdafrika-interview with photographer Zanele Muholi:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/exklusive-interview-with-zanele-muholi/