Parallel Perceptions

An Exhibition of Sune Jonsson and David Goldblatt

“When I began taking photographs in 1963 I had no clients. So I occupied myself with things that I knew around me. Having grown up on a mining town and having known many of the mining people in the town, I wanted to look at this more closely. So I started photographing the dying goldmines and that led to other things.” 

David Goldblatt

Mill foundations, tailings wheel and tailings dumps, Witwatersrand Deep, Germiston, Gauteng, 1966

New Modder Gold Mine, Benoni, Ekuhuleni, Gauteng, 1966
Miner's cottage and slimes dam, 1965

Miner’s bunks in the abandoned Chinese compound, so called because it probably housed indentured Chinese labourers between 1904 and 1910 after which it accommodated Black miners, Simmer and Jack Gold Mine, Germiston, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, 1965

Gang on surface work, Rustenburg Platinum Mine, Rustenberg, North West Province, 1971
'Lashing' shovels retrieved from underground. Every grain of sand in the yellow tailings dumps that made the Witwatersrand landscape and every grain of gold that made its wealth, came from a rock off a black man's shovel underground, Central Salvage Yard, Randfontein Estates, Randfontein, Gauteng, 1966
Butch Britz, Master Shaftsinker, No. 4 Shaft, President Steyn Gold Mine, Welkom, 1969
Brothers: Sinker's Helper and Sinker, President Steyn, Welkom, Free Sate, 1969

The last of the bigger rocks has just been dropped into a kibble. Now, with shovels, the team lashes (loads) the small stuff into the kibble. President Steyn No. 4 Shaft, Welkom, Orange Free State, 1969

Mineworkers in their hostel, Western Deep Levels, Carletonville, Gauteng, 1970
'Boss Boy'. The role of Boss Boy, later changed to Team Leader, was the highest then attainable by a Black man in South Africa's mines, Battery Reef, Randfontein Estates, 1966
Spanner-man at the end of the shift, Western Deep Levels, Carletonville, Gauteng, 1970

“I worked in my father’s outfitting shop for about 12 years. In that time I had to serve Afrikaners. I did not particularly like the language or Afrikaners many of whom I had seen were anti-semitic. But working in my father’s shop, I gradually learnt to appreciate the language and began to enjoy it…it has a lovely earthiness and idiom that I began to associate with this place. And many of the people were fine people.”

David Goldblatt

Oom At and his father, Oom Krisjan Geel, were captured by the British during the Anglo-Boer War, Near Nietverdiend, North West Province, 1964

Ella, daughter of Freek and Martjie Marais, in the children’s bedroom, Gamkaskloof, Western Cape, 1967

The farm Quaggasfontein in the Great Karoo on a summer afternoon. About 200 years ago, after thirteen years of work, two slaves are said to have completed the building of this wall which surrounds the farmyard, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 1966.
J G Loots of the farm Quaggasfontein where his family had farmed for more than 200 years. There were several prize ewes. He called each in turn by name, and each came to be petted, Eastern Cape, 1966.
Flip du Toit on the stoep of his farm workshop, Abjaterskop, Nietverdient, North West Province, 1964
Johannes van der Linde, farmer and major in the local army reserve, with his head labourer 'Ou Sam’, Free State, 1966
Wedding on a farm in the Barkly East district, eastern Cape, 1966
A plot holder, his wife and their eldest child at lunch, Wheatlands, Randfontein, Gauteng, South Africa, 1962
A pensioner with his wife and portrait of her first husband, Wheatlands, Randfontein, Gauteng, 1962
An elder of the Dutch Reformed Church walking home with his family after the Sunday service. George, Cape Province 1968
An elder of the Dutch Reformed Church walking home with his family after the Sunday service, Canarvon, Northern Cape, 1968
Child with a replica of a Zulu hut at the Voortrekker Monument, on the Day of the Covenant. This day commemorated the vow taken by the Voortrekkers before the Battle of Blood River, that if God gave them victory over the Zulus they would always keep it as a day of thanksgiving, Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria, Gauteng, 1962
The commando of National Party supporters that escorted the late Dr Hendrik Verwoerd to the party's 50th Anniversary celebrations. The middle horseman is Leon Wessels who later became Deputy Minister of Law and Order in the National Party Government. He was also the first senior member of that party to apologise for apartheid, De Wildt, North West Province, 1964
A protea grower and his family on their smallholding near Groot Drakenstein. They were uncertain of how long they would be able to continue there, for they feared removal under the Group Areas Act
A plot-holder who shunted trains and dreamt of growing a garden, withno bricks or concrete in it, watered by this dam, Koksoord, Randfontein, Gauteng, 1962

These photographs are about life in Boksburg, a small-town, middle-class, white community near Johannesburg, in 1979-1980. I come from such a place: Randfontein, on the West Rand, is quite similar to Boksburg, which is on the East Rand. My roots are in places like Randfontein and Boksburg. It was as though I had known Boksburg for a long time yet was discovering it for the first. I stood on street corners, wholly engaged by what I tried to hold of the flow of orderly life. Spaces, roads, lines painted on them, low buildings, sky, veld; the people, white and black, moving in their separate but tangled ways; all to be seen in the sharpness of the Highveld light. Like Randfontein, Boksburg was nondescript and elusive, yet strongly drawn and pungent. It was shaped by white dreams and proprieties. Most pursued the family, social and civic concerns of respectable burghers anywhere, some with compassion, yet all drawn into a seemingly immutable fixity of self-elected, legislated whiteness.

Black South Africans were not of this town. They served it, traded with it, received charity from it, and were ruled, rewarded and punished by its precepts. Some, on occasion, were its privileged guests. But all who went there did so by permit or invitation, never by right. White and Black: locked into a system of manic control and profound immorality. To draw breath there was to be complicit.

That’s how it was and is no longer.

Saturday afternoon in Sunward Park, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
'Spec' housing and children on the veld at Parkrand, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
Girl in her new tutu on the stoep of her parents' house, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1980
Saturday morning at the Hypermarket, Semi-final of the Miss Lovely Legs Competition, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1980
Before the fight, amateur boxing at the Town Hall, Boksburg, Town Hall, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
Before the fight, amateur boxing at the Town Hall, Boksburg, Town Hall, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
Funeral with military honours, Boksburg Cemetry Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
Dominee SM van Vuuren of the Dutch Reformed Church, Whitfield, at prayer with a family during a pastoral call, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
At a rehearsal of the Madrigal Choir in a member's house, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979

At a meeting of the Voortrekkers, an Afrikaner youth movement, Whitfield, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979

Dancing-master Ted van Rensburg watches two of his ballroom pupils, swinging to a record of Victor Sylvester and his Orchestra, in the MOTHS' Hall at the old Court House, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1980
Dancing-master Ted van Rensburg watches two of his ballroom pupils, swinging to a record of Victor Sylvester and his Orchestra, in the MOTHS' Hall at the old Court House, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1980
Saturday afternoon bowls on the green of the East Rand Propietary Mines, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
Monthly meeting of the Afrikaans Women's Federation, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979
Sewing class given by white women to black women, at the Centre of Concern, in the Methodist Church Hall, Boksburg
Sewing class given by white women to black women, at the Centre of Concern, in the Methodist Church Hall, Boksburg

In 1956, Pageview/Fietas was declared a White Group Area. The Indians were to be removed to Lenasia, a Group Area reserved for them 40 kilometres beyond the city. Fietas was a small place with narrow streets and compact houses, heavily overcrowded but with a strong sense of community. Three generations had grown and lived there. Rich and poor, Black and White would come from many miles to shop there.

After the forced closure of subway grocers under the Group Areas Act, Asiya Docrat helps her father, Ozzie Docrat, remove his shop-fittings. Delarey Street 1977
Dawood Fakir Surtee in his shop, Mayibuye Store, on De La Rey Street, before the destruction of Fietas under the Group Areas Act, 1976
Dawood Fakir Surtee in his shop, Mayibuye Store, on De La Rey Street, before the destruction of Fietas under the Group Areas Act, 1976
Yusuf and Ayesha Rajah at home with their baby before the destruction of fietas under the Group Areas Act
Goolam Mehmood Mia, Mehmood Mia and, in front, Iqbai Abdullah. on 14th street before its destruction under the Group Areas Act
Yaksha Modi, daughter of Chagan Modi, in her father's shop before its destruction under the Group Areas Act, 17th Street, Fietas, Johannesburg
Ozzie Docrat with his daughter Nassima in his shop before its destruction under the Group Areas Act, Fietas, Johannesburg
Pictures for sale, woman and baby, Boksburg, Gauteng, 1979

“Something in reality takes me. It arouses, irritates, beguils. I want to approach, explore, see it with all the intensity and clarity that I can. Not to purchase, colonise or appropriate, but to experience its isness and distil this in photographs.”

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