Ernest Cole

“Ernest was committed all right. He was a very concerned, highly sensitive man. As a result those issues like overcrowded hospitals, or the pass laws, they bothered him. I mean these issues made him spend sleepless nights. And because of that there was a determination to document it all and actually expose it, with the hope that it would bring to the eyes of those outside the country what the country was all about. But I think the greater emphasis, and the impact he had hoped for his work, was to act as a mirror. When you browse through House of Bondage you see yourself, in the truest word. Being able to see yourself encourages you to make the right decisions. His biggest desire was to see everybody grow. He tried to inspire people in the right direction; he tried to make an input in each and every person’s life. When you look at the pictures they speak to us.” (Interview Geoff Mphakati, a relative of Ernest Cole, in Ernest Cole in the House of Bondage by Struan Robertson, in Ernest Cole, Hasselblad Foundation, Steidl)

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