ZAM Reporter

10.12.18 – 15.02.19, Durban | A proclamation of madness

Image: Rafs Mayet from 'Proclamation 73'

The system of racial segregation in South Africa wasn’t simply black and white. There were more categories and subdivisions. In 1951, the Apartheid authorities issued Proclamation 73. It categorised Indians as a subdivision of people racialised as coloured. This further complicates the assigning of racial categories under the white minority regime.

Inspired by their own family histories, Zara Julius and Chandra Frank set out to collect family photographs of everyday, lived experience. These are showcased in an exhibition in Durban, named after the proclamation. The images represent a narrative on the meaning of loss, kinship and home in the coloured and Indian communities in Durban under Apartheid.

Image: Lorin Sookool

In the exhibition we see snapshots of weddings, beach days and ballroom dance contests. The family archives, opened up for this remarkable exhibition, became part of an investigation on how different racial histories and segregation continue to operate within Durban and its surroundings. Through weaving the imagery of the everyday, together with photographs of the aftermath of forced removals, Proclamation 73 seeks to disrupt static racial categories, taking into account how classifications of ‘Coloured’ and ‘Indian’ were used as tools of anti-blackness. 

The exhibition covers a large time period and takes a non-linear approach to the fragmented narratives and histories that emerge out of this process, working with archives that are seldom viewed alongside each other. Portraying a wide variety of images, archival material and selected work from from the collection of documentary Afrapix photographer’s Peter McKenzie and Rafs Mayet, the exhibition invites viewers to think through questions of representation, erasure, and intimacy.

There are three public events scheduled for the exhibition.

10 December 2018, 6pm: Exhibition opening with Afrapix photographer’s Jeeva Ragjopaul and Rafs Mayet in conversation with UZKN senior lecturer in education and gender, Dr Bronwyn Anderson.

11 December 2018, 10am: A public walkabout of the exhibition with the curators Zara Julius and Chandra Frank.

15 February 2019: Contemporary perspectives and responses to the exhibition in collaboration with DUT students. Time to be confirmed.

Address and opening hours: Durban Art Gallery Monday – Saturday | 8am – 6pm, Smith Street, 2nd Floor Smith Street, City Hall, Durban, 4001 South Africa.