The Fight against Apartheid!


The Fight against Apartheid!


The Fight against Apartheid! is, as its cover explains, “an album of exhibition photographs showing life under apartheid and depicting the struggle of the South African people for their liberation under the banner of the African National Congress.” The photographs gathered here call attention to the role of documentary photography in political activism, and are related to the tradition of social documentary photographs published in twentieth-century magazines like Life. At the time of this album’s publication, apartheid was still a reality in South Africa, and the fight referenced in the title was an urgent one. 

These photographs provide one example of photography's
potential to prompt action by establishing a “civil contract” (Azoulay) between the people photographed and the viewer. However, given that apartheid in South Africa continued well beyond the publication of these photographs, the album also points toward the limitations of documentary photography

A related photograph, taken in 1976, is Sam Nzima’s “Soweto Uprising,” which is sometimes credited with bringing international attention to apartheid. To learn more about apartheid in South Africa, visit South African History Online.


African National Congress (author)
photographers unknown


29.5 x 41 cm
DT 763.6 A25 1969 folio


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African National Congress (author) photographers unknown, “The Fight against Apartheid!,” Bruce Peel Special Collections Library Online Exhibits, accessed June 25, 2024,

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