Afrapix timeline 1978 - 1991

1978/9
Exiled artists, members of the African National Congress (ANC) and other liberation movements in Botswana, establish cultural organisations such as MEDU.
Immediately after the publication of a book of photographs to celebrate the International Year of the Child, Letter to Farzanah, by Omar Badsha, the state promptly banned the book for distribution.
Founding of the Johannesburg based arts and culture magazine "Staffrider".
1980
The 1980s saw a growth in grassroots community groups, the independent, non-racial labour movement, student organisatons, NGOs, religious bodies and independent and commercial newspapers. The Independent or Alternative Press provided both black and white photographers employment. Almost all the founding members of Afrapix, Omar Badsha, Lesley Lawson, Paul Weinberg, and Biddy Partridge, Mxolise Mayo worked for organisations such as South African Council for Higher Education (SACHED), the South African Council of Churches (SACC and the  South African Institute of Race Relations. They also freelanced for the commercial press as well as covered rent, labour and community issues.
Omar Badsha and Heather Hughes ,a lecturer at the then Natal University, compile a travelling exhibition to mark the first August 9th Women's Day Celebrations held in the country since the early sixties.

High schools students in the Western Cape initiate a widespread boycott of classes to highlight educational issues. Photographer Rashid Lombard covered these strikes in the Western Cape. The strike spread to Durban's Coloured, Indian and African townships. The University of Durban Westville students go on strike. Omar Badsha covered the University students' strike extensively.

1981
Organising for the Culture and Resistance Conference in Botswana begins.
Omar Badsha, meets a group of photographers in the Raven Press offices in Johannesburg, where the idea of establishing a photographers' collective is mooted. This collective would establish and operate a library, a photographic agency, organise exhibitions and conduct training programmes for young photographers. These ideas were discussed and agreed upon at this meeting which was attended by Omar Badsha, Lesley Lawson, Paul Weinberg, Mxolise Mayo and Biddy Partridge.
1982
January, Paul Weinberg and Lesley Lawson approach Bernard Spong, the head of the Inter Church Media Project, a division of the South African Council of Churches to secure an office in Khotso House, Johannesburg. An agreement is reached with Spong and Afrapix begins operating as an agency. Omar Badsha's photographic darkroom in Good Hope Centre, Queen (now Dennis Hurley) Street, becomes the Afrapix's Durban offices.
Durban based photographer Peter McKenzie is invited by Omar Badsha to join Afrapix. McKenzie moves to Johannesburg and becomes the first Afrapix coordinator / administrator.
Wendy Schewegmann the Reuter's news agency's Johannesburg photographer joins Afrapix. Jeeva Rajgopaul and Myron Peters Durban based community activists and photographers join Afrapix.
July, The Culture and Resistance Cultural Conference is held in Botswana. Paul Weinberg is the national coordinator of the photographic section of the festival. Peter Mackenzie delivers a paper on photography at this conference.
April, The establishment of the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in South Africa is announced by Professor Francis Wilson. Badsha is appointed the national photographic coordinator for this project. He travels around South Africa meeting with photographers, requesting them to submit essays and to undertake new photographic projects for the exhibition on Poverty and Development. This, together with the Culture and Resistance Conference (Botswana) and Staffrider exhibitions, that were to follow, firmly establishes Afrapix and creates a new informal network of documentary photographers in South Africa.
Jimi Matthews, a Cape Town born photographer, returns from London having studied film making there. He becomes a member of Afrapix.
Early in 1982, Paul Weinberg and Orde Allison Eliason travel to Namibia to photograph the indigenous San communities. An exhibition, "The Shaken Roots", which also included the work of JÁ¼rgen Schadeberg's photographic essay on the San done in the 1950s, is exhibited at the Market Photo Gallery in Johannesburg. Following this showing, the exhibition also travelled to the University of Cape Town.
Afrapix enters into a partnership with the United Kingdom based Link Picture Library run by Orde Eliason to distribute there work internationally.
1983
The first Staffrider photographic exhibition, a joint Afrapix- Staffrider magazine project, "South Africa through the Lens," edited by Omar Badsha and Paul Weinberg opens at the Market Photo Gallery. A catalogue of this exhibition, is published by Staffrider magazine.
Formation of Afroscope - an independent film and video unit is established by activists, with its offices at the South African Council of Churches building, Khotso House.
Cedric Nunn, a Natal born photographer, returns to South Africa after travelling abroad. He joins Afrapix and embarks on his career as a professional photographer.
United Democratic Front (UDF) is formed. Jimi Matthews resigns from Afrapix just before the launch of the UDF. He begins work as a fulltime news video cameraman. Afrapix photographers from Durban and Johannesburg travel to Cape Town to cover the UDF launch.
Omar Badsha and Paul Weinberg photograph the clashes between students and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members at Ngoyi University, Zululand, Natal. The photographs, were prominently published in City Press. The IFP sues City Press, Omar Badsha and Paul Weinberg but nothing comes of the IFP's litigation.
Peter Mackenzie takes over Paul Weinberg's position as a stringer for the Sunday Tribune and leaves Afrapix.
Afrapix photographers assist the German photographer, Tim Besserer, who was compiling an exhibition on South African Photography for Germany. The exhibition and publication titled Nichts Wird Uns Trennen (Nothing Will Separate Us) by Dieter Koeve and Tim Besserer is launched in Germany.
Peter Mackenzie and Omar Badsha hold a joint photographic exhibition at the Botswana National Gallery.
1984
In January 1984 Gille De Vlieg, a member of The Black Sash, which also had its offices in Khotso House, joins Afrapix.
1June, the Second Staffrider photographic exhibition opens at the Market Photo Gallery. It runs until 21 June.
10 April, the seminal Carnegie Conference into Poverty and Development and the photographic exhibition "South Africa: The Cordoned Heart" opens at the University of Cape Town.
90 Fighting Years - a photographic history of the Natal Indian Congress is compiled by Omar Badsha and Roy Padayachee and published by the Natal Indian Congress to mark its 90th birthday celebrations.
24 July, Omar Badsha and Paul Weinberg hold a joint exhibition at the Natal Society of Arts Gallery, Overport. Billy Nair, South African Communist Party activist and ex-Robben Island prisoner, opens the exhibition.
Reuters photographer and Afrapix member, Wendy Schewegman, leaves South Africa to work for Reuters in the United Kingdom
July/ August, issue of Creative Camera carries a special feature on South Africa and an article on Afrapix entitled, "Going beyond the Image," which includes photo-essays by Paul Weinberg and Omar Badsha.
Afrapix put together an exhibition at Domestic Workers.
1985
Santu Mofokeng becomes a member of Afrapix
8 January, a notice is sent out inviting photographers to submit work for the Annual Staffrider Photographic Exhibition. The theme was The Year of the Youth which was also the ANC's theme for 1985.
Afrapix also produces a calendar titled the "Year of the Youth"
Omar Badsha's book, Imijondolo - A Photographic Essay on Forced Removals in Inanda, Natal is published. It is the first Afrapix publication.
14 June, the South African Defence Force (SADF) conducts a raid in Gaborone, Botswana. Artist Thami Mnyele and Mike Hamlyn, both MEDU members are killed by South African soldiers.
Security police raid Afrapix offices in Khotso House and scores of other anti apartheid organisations premises around the country.
South Africa, The Cordoned Heart, edited by Omar Badsha and featuring twenty South African photographers is published by Gallery Press and Aperture Books, New York.
The photography exhibition, Cordoned Heart opens in New York at the International Centre for Photography. The South African government refuses Omar Badsha a passport to travel to New York. Nasima Badsha and Paul Weinberg attend the book and exhibition launch and participate in a seminar.
April, Afrapix moves its offices from Khotso House into the same premises as the Weekly Mail in central Johannesburg, (address) which also houses other alternative media agencies and design studios. Afrapix enters into an agreement to provide the newly launched newspaper, Weekly Mail, with photographs.
13 June, the first issue of Weekly Mail appears and features the work of Afrapix photographers.
Paul Weinberg and Santu Mafokeng start work on a joint project entitled Going Home.
Cecil Sols and Vuyo Mbuli establish a branch of Afrapix in Soweto.
Lesley Lawson's book of photographs titled "Working Women" is published by Raven Press for Sached Trust.
1986
Afrapix compiles an exhibition, "Taking Sides in South Africa," commissioned by Oxfam, Canada.
Paul Weinberg and Rob Nixon publish an article on the Afrapix Collective in the August edition of Our Times magazine.
Paul Weinberg is involved in a focus to draw attention to the Bushman. A proposal is sent out to raise funds for this project.
Paul Weinberg's exhibition on the Bushman "Shaken Roots" opens at the African Studies Centre, Cape Town and Johannesburg Market Gallery.
Afrapix holds a special crisis meeting to discuss the State of Emergency and the implications for the collective, its financial position and relationship to other groups around the country.
In July Cecil Sols and Vuyo Mbuli leave Afrapix and set up Photographers For Social Documentation (Photosdoc) in Soweto.
1987
February, banning of UDF affiliates and other anti-apartheid organisations.
Omar Badsha heads the Centre for Documentary Photography established at the University of Cape Town.
14 March, Afrapix Annual General Meeting held at the Koinonia Centre - Judiths Paarl, Johannesburg. At the AGM, Guy Tillim, Giselle Wulfsohn, Santu Mofokeng and Cedric Nunn were accepted as full members of Afrapix.
18 July, Omar Badsha compiles an exhibition for the first COSATU cultural festival during the COSATU national congress held at the University of Witwatersrand .
December, the Centre for Documentary Photography produces an exhibition, "Children On the Frontline," for the Free the Children Alliance.
December, Paul Weinberg and Omar Badsha compile the exhibition and catalogue for "The Hidden Camera" held in Holland. The exhibition formed the first draft of the Beyond the Barricades exhibition and book.
December, Zubeida Vallie, Vuyo Mbali, Jeeva Rajgopaul and Paul Weinberg, as part of the South African photographic delegation, attend the Culture in another South Africa (CASA) Conference hosted by the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement and the then banned ANC in Amsterdam, Holland. Also present was Herbert Mabuza, a former member of Afrapix.
Omar Badsha moves to Cape Town to set up the Centre for Documentary Studies at the University of Cape Town. The Afrapix darkroom in Durban is taken over by Rafiq (Rafs) Mayet and the Durban Afrapix Group.
Staffrider annual exhibition - changes its format.
By 1987 the Afrapix Cape Town office is fully functional with Guy Tillim and Dave Hartmann as part of this group.
Paul Grendon, from Cape Town Afrapix, has his photographs Namaqualand published in an article in the Weekly Mail.
Santu Mofokeng is employed full-time at the New Nation newspaper. He works on the newspaper for just over a year
Afrapix compiles an exhibition edited by Omar Badsha "Children on The Frontline" -the exhibition is held at the Harare Conference, Zimbabwe. The exhibtion also showed in Cape Town under the auspices of the "Free the Children's Alliance" December 1987.
1988
October, banning of UDF and other organisations.
Cape Town branch of Afrapix rent office space in Community House, Woodstock, which also houses the UDF, Cape Media Workshop and other anti apartheid organisations.
March, Cedric Nunn, Omar Badsha, Paul Grendon, Graeme Goddard and Roger Mentjies meeting in Cape town discuss the establishment of a photographic magazine
The state imposes a clampdown on the media and the imposition of stringent censorship laws.
7 July, Omar Badsha and nine other UDF activists are detained on the night preceding the opening of the Centre for Documentary Photography's Conference 8-10 July - Centre for Documentary Photography Conference, at the University of Cape Town goes ahead in spite of Badsha's detention.
29 July, Omar Badsha holds a one person show "Prayers and Performance" at the Market Photo Gallery, Johannesburg.
ADA (Art, Design and Architecture) Magazine publishes a small feature on Afrapix.
Santu Mofokeng joins the Institute for African Studies, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg.
Proposal for the envisaged Afrapix magazine tabled in November 1988 at an Afrapix Meeting held in Johannesburg.
1989
21 April, Afrapix holds AGM in Cape Town. Omar Badsha leaves Afrapix.
Taking Sides exhibition, opens in the Netherlands.
1990
The state gives Omar Badsha a passport after 25 years to travel abroad.
The photographer Ernest Cole dies in exile in New York.
June, Afrapix publishes, Full Frame, the photographic magazine - a long over due Afrapix venture. Guy Tillim, Paul Weinberg and Steve Hilton-Barber are the co-editors of this 35-page magazine.
The Centre for Documentary Photography launches the Eli Weinberg and Ernest Cole Scholarship. Jeeva Rajgopaul (Eli Weinberg Scholarship) and Santu Mofokeng (Ernest Cole) are the first recipients.
1991
Afrapix produces a calendar.
Afrapix members Paul Weinberg, Steven Hilton-Barber, Guy Tillim, begin discussions to establish a new photographic agency.
15 June, the remaining members of Afrapix meet and decide to dissolve the organisation and close the agency and its activities by the end of July 1991.
Full Frame magazine is incorporated into Vryweekblad (13 December - 10 January 1992) with David Goldblatt, Paul Grendon, GuyTillim, Paul Weinberg as members of the Board.

Last updated : 02-Nov-2015

This article was produced for South African History Online on 21-Mar-2011