In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela describes his house at 8115 Vilikazi Street, Soweto, as ' ...identical to hundreds of others ...it had the same standard tin roof, the same cement floor, a narrow kitchen, and a bucket toilet at the back.'
Little did Mandela know when he first moved into the house in 1946 that it would become the stage for some of the most important political events in South Africa's turbulent history and, in recent times, a cultural landmark visited by thousands of tourists each year.
Renowned photographer and close family friend Alf Kumalo captured the day-to-day life of the Mandelas - the raids by the security police and intimate family moments, both of joy and sorrow, as well as Mandela's return to his home after his release from prison in 1990, twenty-eight years after he had left it. Using this unassuming house as the setting, 8115: A Prisoner's Home collects some of Kumalo's most historically important and beautiful images of the Mandela family and their home, giving us a unique insight into the life of the family who would have a profound effect on South Africa's political landscape.
Inarguably one of South Africa's greatest photographers, Alf Kumalo's work has been exhibited all over the world. He was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa's highest award for excellence in the creative arts.
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Alfred Kumalo was born in Johannesburg and matriculated at the Wilberforce Institute in Evaton. Kumalo began his working career as a journalist in 1951, freelancing for Bantu World, where he took photographs to illustrate his stories. In the course of an illustrious career as a documentary photographer for over fifty years, Kumalo has documented the life and times of a changing South Africa. During his time as a documentary photographer, Kumalo often documented events amongst other things. Events included the Treason Trial, the Rivonia Trial, trade union activity in the 1970s, and the rise of the Black Consciousness Movement. Kumalo's work has been published in both local and international newspapers, for example The Observer(UK), New York Times, New York Post and the The Sunday Independent (UK).
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