For the last two years, Maker design studio and Steidl publishers have been working on their latest photobook project with world-renowned Soweto-born photographer Santu Mofokeng and now it’s here.
The photobook series, Santu Mofokeng Stories: 2 – 4, contains three bound ‘chapters’ that offer readers a voyeuristic, visual experience of how the residents of Bloemhof, an agricultural town in the North West, live. Mofokeng’s years of photo-essays focus on the Maine family, with whom he stayed while working for the University of the Witwatersrand as a documentary photographer.
The first book in the series, Concert at Sewefontein (book 2), looks into how ‘Sewefontein is the place to be for anyone who’s worth his or her salt. Here people are offered the chance to sing or perform—or do both,’ explains Mofokeng. ‘Many who live in places like the sleepy, tenant labour community of Bloemhof imagine a better life elsewhere, without the endless toil and drudgery of farm life. Rarely do they get to put their talent on display.’
Book 3, Funeral, explores how residents bury their own people, and book 4, 27 April 1994, captures a pivotal day in South African history (the country’s first democratic elections), through the eyes of Bloemhof residents. ‘An uneasy sense of euphoria pervaded the atmosphere,’ writes Mofokeng of this day, having travelled to Bloemhof to watch democracy unfold. ‘A combination of anticipation and dread, excitement and anxiety. Rumours abounded.’
To read – and see – more, through the eyes of Mofokeng, visit Maker at 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg or call 011-447-6680 to arrange purchase. The photobook series is also available online through Steidl.
See our July 2016 issue to learn more about Lunetta Bartz, Steidl publisher and owner of Maker, who works very closely with Santu Mofokeng on his books.