One of South Africa’s most celebrated anti-apartheid black photographers, Santu Mofokeng, has died at the age of 64, his friends said on Monday.
Mofokeng, a fierce critic of how mainstream photojournalism represented black South Africans during the apartheid struggle, died on Sunday.
He lifted the veil on the perception of black people in the white world of photography through his vivid documenting of anti-apartheid resistance.
The Soweto-born Mofokeng developed a fascination of photography in his teens and started off as a street photographer.
“Santu went on to distinguish himself in South Africa and the world as a great visionary and artist,” his friends Omar Badsha and Cedric Nunn said in a statement.
He “elevated both himself and South African photography and art globally,” they said.
The statement did not mention the cause of death.
In 1985, Mofokeng co-formed Afrapix with Badsha, then a collective agency of amateur and professional anti-apartheid photographers, producing pioneering work that revealed the social conditions of South Africa’s black population.
He was a contemporary of other masters of photography in South Africa, such as Alf Khumalo, David Goldblatt and Peter Magubane.
He won many awards and was offered numerous scholarships including the Ernest Cole Scholarship, to study at the International Center of Photography in New York.
He curated several photographic exhibitions in France, Mali and at home.
In 2012, he took part in the Venice Biennale international art exhibition, alongside Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who at the time represented Germany.