Letter to Farzanah

Omar Badsha's first book of photographs, Letter to Farzanah was published in 1979 in commemoration of the United Nations declared International Year of the Child. The book, consisting of sixty-seven images and twenty- seven newspaper articles, focuses on the lives of both Black and White South African children. Through Badsha's social documentary approach to photography, Farzanah depicts in vivid strokes the reality of life for the average South African child at that time.

While there are some images that show children relaxing, playing and being what we generally consider 'children', upon closer inspection of the same images a deeper message is revealed. Images of children working and surviving in squatter camps juxtaposed with images of wealthier children, exposes the incredible disparity amongst people that continues to exist in the country to this day.

This honesty in the images, along with the preface letter written by Badsha to his infant daughter, Farzanah, in which he sincerely speaks of the daily challenge of living with dignity and integrity in Apartheid South Africa, caused the Apartheid government to ban the book within a year of it being published.

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