On Thursday, 12 May, Dr Siona O’Connell’s curated exhibition of Laurie Sparham’s photographs of the ANC in exile (1989-1990, a turning point in South African history) opened at the Michaelis Galleries. This exhibition marks the first viewing of these images by award-winning reportage photographer, Laurie Sparham. O’Connell uses these photographs to open a set of questions on contemporary South Africa against the backdrop of the Freedom Charter to offer an opportunity to think about the growing chasm between the promise of freedom then and the reality of a contemporary moment marked by crisis and failure.
Ivan Pillay, former deputy Commissioner of SARS, was the guest speaker for the exhibition opening. Thamm (The Daily Maverick, 16 May 2016) writes: “Pillay generally keeps a low profile publicly, seldom speaking directly to media. When he does it is usually through a formal written statement. But on Thursday he spoke without notes to a packed audience in the gallery and under the gaze of a photograph of a very young, bearded and smiling Jacob Zuma before he turned into No 1.” See the latter half of Marianne Thamm’s recent article for the Daily Maverick which recounts Pillay’s speech – and his reflection on the current political situation, including the controversy over the “apparent imminent arrest by the Hawks of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.”
Header image: Ivan Pillay giving his speech at the Michaelis Galleries. Photographer: Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti