Title

Nontsikelelo Veleko: Capturing South African Identity

Abstract

Apartheid may have ended in South Africa in 1991, but the people still struggle with the effects and memories of this horrible period in their country’s history. Issues that many face today because of the segregated past include struggles with personal identity and racial discrimination. Great efforts have been made to move past this moment in time, including contemporary South African photographer Nontsikelelo Veleko. Veleko photographs youths living in Johannesburg as she approaches them when walking along the city streets. She captures real people, unaltered and unaffected. I will argue that Veleko’s subjects display politically charged fashion, bodily gestures, and facial expressions, which I will analyze to be found as unashamed and powerful.

I will contrast Veleko’s work from the series Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, which began in 2004, with examples of photography of South African people during Apartheid to demonstrate a shift from vanquish to strength and power. Ultimately, I will argue in this paper that Veleko’s photographs draw upon the past through the memory of Apartheid as a means to create a new collective identity for Johannesburg youths.

Start Date

15-3-2013 1:30 PM

End Date

15-3-2013 2:45 PM

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Mar 15th, 1:30 PM Mar 15th, 2:45 PM

Nontsikelelo Veleko: Capturing South African Identity

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Apartheid may have ended in South Africa in 1991, but the people still struggle with the effects and memories of this horrible period in their country’s history. Issues that many face today because of the segregated past include struggles with personal identity and racial discrimination. Great efforts have been made to move past this moment in time, including contemporary South African photographer Nontsikelelo Veleko. Veleko photographs youths living in Johannesburg as she approaches them when walking along the city streets. She captures real people, unaltered and unaffected. I will argue that Veleko’s subjects display politically charged fashion, bodily gestures, and facial expressions, which I will analyze to be found as unashamed and powerful.

I will contrast Veleko’s work from the series Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, which began in 2004, with examples of photography of South African people during Apartheid to demonstrate a shift from vanquish to strength and power. Ultimately, I will argue in this paper that Veleko’s photographs draw upon the past through the memory of Apartheid as a means to create a new collective identity for Johannesburg youths.