Living Apart. Photographs of apartheid. by Ian Berry.

Venue:- Merseyside Maritime Museum/ International Slavery Museum.  Albert Dock.   8 April to 6 November.  Quote:- Taken over a 40 year period, Berry’s images capture some of South Africa,s most dramatic moments. Documentary evidence of the horrific Sharpeville massacre in 1960. At least 69 people killed , 180 injured.  Later images of the collapse of apartheid and the emergence of Nelson Mandella as a political force and symbol of  the republic’s liberation.    A  description  that does not begin to describe the images in this exhibition. This must be seen to have meaning to anyone who has not experienced personally the cruel dehumanizing system of apartheid.   I had second-hand experience of this class system. As a teenager (many many moons ago)  when my Aunt (Liverpool born) and cousin Chris age 14 came home to Liverpool for a family holiday. I remember being appalled at the things I heard, I was horrified to find that they both carried guns at all times even in their home and had shooting practice regularly .    It was ” an absolute necessity ” , I was told, this was long before the collapse of apartheid.    Years later other family members went to work in S.A for 3 years. They at one time were invited to a colleagues wedding but advised not to go. Why?  because he was ‘coloured’  and lived in a ‘  coloured only ‘ district such was the divisiveness of the system .  They went – but had to stay the night because of the ‘curfew’ . No one was allowed IN or OUT after dark.      Apartheid has officially ended but a new class of poor has emerged, ‘poor’ white  farmers stripped of their land. A new system of employment in place, black people to be employed in preference to white people regardless of whether they were S.A. born, ability experience or talent. The later photos document all of this change.  The question is how have’ the people ‘  benefitted there is still much poverty and division.  A chance to start again I feel has been lost. My father taught us ” All people are equal no matter what colour or  creed ”  He practiced this .     Why then 60 + years later does it take a photo exhibition to bring home this fact?  Politics seem to widen the gap. Art, Music , Education and Culture exchange seem to be the future and the way forward……. A Magnum Photos Touring Exhibition.    LOOK.  Liverpool International Photography  Festival.

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