Peter Magubane

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Peter Magubane (1932-2024) [1] was an influential photo-journalist.


Born in Johannesburg on 18 January, 1932, he began working for Drum in 1955 as a photo-journalist, going on to become internationally acclaimed for his coverage of the 1976 student uprising (aka the 1976 Soweto riots). Worked for Drum, the Rand Daily Mail, National Geographic, Time Magazine, etc.

He was arrested a number of times and when banned in 1969, he left the country and went to the USA where he studied and worked. Returned in 1987 on assignment for Time, and remained to become Nelson Mandela's personal photographer and to document the new complexities of the "rainbow nation". He published 9 books, including Soweto: Portrait of a City (1990).

He passed away on 1 January, 2023, after a long illness.

Contribution to South African theatre, film, media and performance

His work not only provided an extensive record of the undocumented history of urban life in the country, but also contained invaluable images about the arts and performance culture in the urban townships of South Africa.

Awards, etc.

He won international and local awards for his contributions - including to the arts and culture - in his career. Among them numerous awards he received have been the South African Press Photographer of the Year (1958), the Pringle Award for Press Freedom (1995), the South African Order for (Silwer Class II) and the American National Professional Photographers Association's Humanistic Award.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Go to the ESAT Bibliography

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