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The Afrapix Digital Consolidation Project was established in 2019, resulting from a project proposal, which was submitted by Paul Weinberg to the African Digital Humanities Project, a supra-institutional project involving various South African Universities, and funded by the Mellon Foundation. The project set out to locate the many scattered Afrapix photographs, digitise them, further identify material to be digitised, and also link to Afrapix images held in various other existing collections. This was done with the aim of creating one access point for this body of work, and as a non-commercial education project designed to benefit future generations with an interest in South Africa’s photographic heritage, history and memory.
AFRAPIX Consolidation Project
AFRAPIX was established in 1982 as a collective of freelance photographers committed to social documentary photography. Their photographs soon became highly political in the context of Apartheid South Africa and developed into the genre of "Resistance or Struggle Photography".
In 1986 the security police raided Afrapix and Afrascope then based in Khotso House (head quarters of the SACC), under the State of Emergency in 1986. The organisation responded by creating various outlets throughout the world who would receive monthly packages of Afrapix material . These images were scattered and were housed in various organisations and institutions – Kairos in Holland, IDAF in England and Evangilisches Missionwerk in Germany (EMW). This became Afrapix’s plan B to rescue its archive and keep its work alive throughout the world.
Afrapix dissolved in 1992 and the scattered collections of Afrapix came back to various institutions throughout the 1990s.
Afrapix photographs were deposited with these various movements, organisations and institutions, listed here in no particular order:
1) IDAF material was placed with Mayibuye Centre, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
2) The Julie Frederickse Collection was placed with the South African History Archive, South Africa
3) The images deposited with KAIROS went to the International Institute for Social History (IISH) Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4) The KAIROS collection is held at Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
5) Cordoned Heart, Beyond the Barricades, and the Staffrider exhibitions came from SALDRU, University of Cape Town, Library Special Collections, South Africa
6) National Progressive Primary Health Care Network, held at Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
7) Mark Heywood Papers, held at Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
8) William Matlala, Photographic collection, held at Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
9) Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR), Photographs, held at Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
This list might not be complete, and any additions are most appreciated and will be included here.
The archive of Afrapix is comprised of photographs which are geographically fragmented, in digital and physical format, and located in several national and international archives. The mandate of this project is solely dedicated to the consolidation of the Afrapix photographs through this digital platform.
All rights to the various images remain with the individual photographers, and copyright permission has to be obtained in writing before any digital copy is made available for publication. Please contact the Historical Papers Research Archive for contact details.