After Apartheid: Reflecting on South Africa 20 Years Later

Per-Anders Pettersson
Per-Anders Pettersson
A mans cuts his beard outside his home in Khayelitsha, the biggest black township outside, Cape Town, South Africa, 2002.

Per-Anders Pettersson began documenting South Africa in 1994 when the country entered its first free elections that made Nelson Mandela its president. His Latest book Rainbow Transit (Dewi Lewis, 2013) looks back at the hopeful yet turbulent times of a country undergoing an epic transition. Pettersson’s work will appear in TIME’s commemorative edition celebrating Mandela and here, the photographer shares about the work in his own words:

For South Africa, democracy was a hard-won freedom. Its rewards came alongside a soaring violent-crime rate, disease, poverty and massive unemployment. I first went to South Africa in the spring of 1994 to cover the election won by Nelson Mandela; I stayed for two decades to document a nation in transition.

Places like Soweto are changing rapidly because of massive investments through private and public funding. Its residents travel to and from work via upgraded taxi stations. They shop in upmarket malls, go to the movies, visit world-class theaters. South Africa’s policies of black economic empowerment reaped astonishing wealth for a new black elite and saw the rapid emergence of a black middle class.

But during the second decade, greed and disillusion began to smother this hope. In these photographs, I sought to portray the heady sense I felt of a latter-day gold rush, the energy and the optimism often forgotten.


Per-Anders Pettersson, born in Sweden, is an award-winning photojournalist based in South Africa.

Rainbow Transit was published by Dewi Lewis.


Related Topics: , , , ,

Latest Posts

Members of a burial team from the Liberian Red Cross under contract from the Liberian Ministry of Health remove the body of a man, a suspected Ebola victim from a home in Matadi on Sept. 17, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.

See How a Photographer is Covering Ebola’s Deadly Spread

In Liberia, Ebola is known as the "silent killer". For the past six weeks, photographer Daniel Beherulak has been covering the virus' deadly spread for the New York Times – an assignment fraught with danger. Berehulak and the Times' International Picture Editor tell TIME LightBox how they're working to mitigate the risks

Read More
EBOLASTAFFING

Inside the Ebola Crisis: The Images that Moved them Most

A Syrian Kurdish woman wipes her eyes during a dust storm on a hill where she and others stand watching clashes between jihadists of the Islamic State and Kurdish fighters, at Swedi village some 6 miles west of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 24, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 2, 2014

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,821 other followers