South Africa’s Kind of Jazz – Thirty Years of Democracy

 
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Hugh Mdlalose

 
 

To be honest, 1994 was a bloody good year . . . Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first president elected through a democratic act. We were happy to see him and many other freedom fighters freed from Robben Island and other apartheid dungeons. Exiles were back home, everywhere the Madiba magic brought so much joy, dancing, partying, and hope.

And there was jazz and popular music in these good times. I hit the road too, and continue traveling with joy and hope even in the bad times. There is light, piercing and harsh, but some days it is soft and tender.

Abaqambi Bendlela – The Pioneers celebrates South Africa’s rich and diverse lineage of musicians I have had the honor of meeting and learning from. This photographic is a way of looking back and forward. A way of hoping for better days.

 
 
 

Spring / Summer 2024



Hugh Mdlalose

I was born in 1977, in Murchison, Port Shepstone, and raised in different parts of KwaZulu-Natal. I attended primary school at Amahlongwa and eDududu, and Bhethani where I had high school education. I studied fine art in Pretoria and, later, photography at the Market Photo Workshop in downtown Johannesburg. My work is a way of making sense of life through the camera click, the haunting, black and proud songs of black affirmation and redemption. It’s an effort to forge a common human bond—love songs resonating in one beat.



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