Workers on the Wall - Photography Exhibition Invite

We are pleased to announce another photography exhibition on the work of William Matlala, a Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP) associate. The exhibition will be at the Bensusan Museum of Photography in Johannesburg and is curated by Dudu Madonsela. For more information, please see below an invite from the City of Johannesburg and the Bensusan Museum.


Images of William Matlala

Curated by Dudu Madonsela

Exhibition opening on Sunday, 2nd June 2019 @ 15H00

Closing 7th July 2019.

Museum Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 – 17:00

The photographs of this exhibition not only document the hardships faced by workers in their respective places of employment, but also illustrate the conditions under which those workers lived outside of the workplace. What makes this series of images unique is the breadth of perspective taken by William Matlala, which extends across gender lines and locality. I believe that this finds cogent synergy with the wider issues of the development, revolution and evolution of industrialization in Johannesburg and its surroundings and, indeed, across South Africa as a whole.

It is a history captured in the centrepiece image of the exhibition, a photograph of a worker toiling on a chain: “Bathwele kanzima abasebenzi[Workers are facing hardship]

“This is a powerful exhibition, provoking an imaginative consideration of the history of Johannesburg, a city that became the stage on which the growth of South African industrialisation played out. There is an undeniable interconnection between the City, industrialisation and labour. Although these images were taken twenty or more years ago, they mirror the continuing terrible conditions experienced by some workers to this day, raising the question of when and how workers’ conditions will change for the better?”


Dudu Madonsela

Curator: Bensusan Museum of Photography

Museum Africa

Tel: 011 833 5624 X 257

Cell: 082 771 1901


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t: +27 (0) 11 717 4460   |

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