Eli Weinberg

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Eli Weinberg (1906-1981) was a trade unionist and photographer.

Born in 1908 in the port of Libau in Latvia on the Baltic Sea. On 9 December 1929 he arrived in Cape Town and in 1932 joined the then legal Communist Party of South Africa and became involved in the trade union movement. From 1953 he lived under a succession of banning orders, was detained (1960) and imprisoned (1964-1970) as a member of the Central Committee of the underground SACP. In 1976 he left South Africa illegally on the instructions of the ANC and went to live in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His interest in photography started in 1926 when he worked as an assistant in a friend’s studio. He spent his first months in South Africa working as a professional photographer, and during the next twenty years he exhibited and published often, including theatre work?** . Even during the period of his house arrest he continued to run a successful studio. Unfortunately the bulk of his work was destroyed due to the fact that he was unable to take his negatives with him when he left the country. Most of Weinberg’s work was shot on assignment for New Age, an independent, and progressive weekly that supported the ANC. He was also awarded a silver medal at the New York World Fair in 1964 for a colour slide of a group of Basuto women. He was still under a banning order and was unable to attend the presentation ceremony

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