Myron Peter was born in 1954 in Durban, Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal - KZN).
He studied at the University of Durban-Westville (UDW) [now University of KwaZulu-Natal - UKZN]. Following the student boycotts in the 1970s, and upon learning that his name was on a list of 41 students to be expelled, Peter left university and studied through correspondence via the University of South Africa (UNISA).
He became actively involved in the Association for Self-Help (ASH), a progressive community development NPO based in Merebank, south of Durban, where he lived at the time. This NPO also carried out community programmes in the nearby coloured township of Wentworth. The ASH was part of the county wide initiative of black activists in the 1970s undertaking self-reliance programmes spearheaded by the Black Community Programmes (BCP). As part of the BCP’s empowerment efforts, he received training from student leader, Jeff Baqwa, to conduct literacy training based on the radical Paolo Frere method for political conscientisation in his community. While in the ASH he also worked on a community bulk buying scheme, and supported early education development (ECD) projects in both Merebank and Wentworth.
During the 1970s, he was engaged in anti-apartheid activities in the Black Consciousness Movement and the Natal Indian Congress (NIC). While working as a librarian and an active documentary photographer, Peter contributed to the work of local community and civic organisations, and rendered support to labour movements based in Durban. This included maintaining links with other activists and progressive organisations based in other provinces.
In the 1980s, he worked for a group of progressive NGOs at the Department of Sociology, University of Natal (now UKZN) that supported the affiliates of the labour federation, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) – servicing unions on industrial health and safety issues. During this period, he also contributed to several progressive media, cultural and civic formations and was active in the United Democratic Front (UDF). As a community development and political activist, he actively supported several progressive youth formations in the Natal region, encouraging the formation of Natal Youth Congress (NAYCO) and was strongly linked with activists in the Western Cape Province.
Peter also served as the founding member of the Natal Organisation of Video and Allied Workers which led to the establishment of an interim national committee to set up and launch a Film and Allied Workers Organisation (FAWO) for South Africa. From 1990-1991, he was the convenor of the Natal Culture Congress and was elected its first Chairperson.
From 1990 to 1993, he participated in the Durban regional African National Congress (ANC), and was the first Secretary of the ANC’s Overport Branch working under the Chairperson, Ismail Chota (IC) Meer. As a branch representative of the ANC Western Areas Zone, he worked under the Chairperson, M.D. Naidoo, who had returned from exile. He 1996, he worked as a Director for the Institute for African Alternatives (IFAA) under the Board Chairperson, Prof. Ben Turok. Peter attended the first ANC National Conference in Durban as a delegate of his branch.
He went to Holland in 1993 and studied for his Masters (MA) in Development Studies (focusing on Alternative Development Country Strategies).
In the 1980s, he became a Durban based associate member of the progressive photo agency Afrapix which primarily focussed on documenting the anti-apartheid struggle in South Arica and related socio-political community issues. Peter's photographs were used by the alternative press.
His photographs were published in Fatima Meer's, Factory and Family: The Divided Lives of South Africa's Women Workers in 1984.
He contributed to the "Culture and Resistance" Conference in Botswana, 1982, Staffrider Magazine exhibitions of 1983 and 1984, and to an exhibition in Europe which was published as a book, Nicht Wird Uns Trennen (Nothing Will Separate Us) in 1983.
With the advent of South Africa’s newly established democracy, Peter worked 20 years (1998-2019) in various national government departments, viz., the Department of Local and Provincial Government (DPLG); the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC - a statutory body established by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa) under the leadership of Chairperson, Murphy Morobe; the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA); and the National Department of Tourism.
Works featured in publications:
- Nicht Wird Uns Trennen (Nothing Will Separate Us), Benteli Verlang, Bern, 1983
- Factory and Family: The Divided Lives of South Africa's Women Workers, Institute for Black Research, Durban, 1984.
- South Africa: The Cordoned Heart, The Gallery Press, Cape Town, 1986.
- Speak Collective No. 10 Feb - Apr, 1986.
- Published photographs in the book “Organize and Act” by Astrid Kotze. The book outlined the development of worker plays in the Natal (KZN) region. (circa mid-1980s).
- Speak Collective No. 16 Aug - Oct, 1987.
- Beyond the Barricades: Popular Resistance in South Africa in the 1980s, Aperture, 1989.
- Solo exhibition of photographs at the 25th Anniversary of the Matola Raid (Maputo, Mozambique) in the Merebank Community Hall, 2006. The exhibition portrayed the damage done to the houses attacked by the then South African Defence Force (SADF), the Krish Rabilal Memorial Meeting in 1984, held in memoriam of the ANC cadres killed by the SADF during the Matola Raid, Maputo, Mozambique, 1981.
- Culture and Resistance Conference exhibition held in Botswana, 1982.
- Nicht Wird Uns Trennen (Nothing Will Separate Us), Benteli Verlang, Bern, 1983.
- South Africa: The Cordoned Heart, UCT, Cape Town, 1984.
- Beyond the Barricades: Popular Resistance in South Africa in the 1980s, 1989.