South Africa, Chromatic Existences: Guy Tillim & Thandile Zwelibanzi

  • France
  • en
  • [cc]
  • 13'
South Africa, Chromatic Existences: Guy Tillim & Thandile Zwelibanzi


From the dark years of apartheid, a rebellious, original South African documentary photography has emerged, sharply critical of our world. The first part of our South Africa series, Chromatic Portraits, presents two photographers, two origins, two takes on the sensitive neighbourhoods at the heart of Johannesburg. Guy Tillim decided to settle in the city centre. Though the only White, he feels a duty to be there, the better to explore both himself and his country's social context. Thandile Zwelibanzi wasn't born in Johannesburg but, fascinated by its effervescence, he chose to live there and share the night life of his street vendors.

What you will learn in this film…

Two photographers who dived into the sensitive neighbourhoods of Johannesburg • A human perspective on rampant urbanisation • A way to approach someone to photograph them • Two complementary viewpoints on South Africa • A thought on identity • A slice of South Africa's history • The role and the place of artists vis-à-vis their subjects • A way to photograph history • Johannesburg by night • Proximity to the street people

Photographers learn how to “be” in a place, how to fit in – we desperately want to be liked and accepted. It’s a strange moment that I always enjoyed as a photographer.
What I photograph needs to be documented because these people are also a link with our history.

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Further exploration



• JO’BURG - artist: Guy Tillim ; 2005 ;  STE Publishers ; South Africa

• MUSEUM OF THE REVOLUTION - artist: Guy Tillim ; translators: John Tittensor and Gilles Chauvin ; Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation exhibition catalogue ; 2019 ; Mack

• STILL EXISTENCES - artist: Thandile Zwelibanzi ; 2010 ; Camera Austria 

• APARTHEID & AFTER  - Exhibition catalogue ; collective work ; 2014 ; Huis Marseille 

• THE FACE OF THE COUNTRY : A SOUTH AFRICAN FAMILY ALBUM 1860-1910 - Collective work ; edited by Karel Shoeman ; 1996 ; Human and Rousseau ; Cape Town