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South African Photographs: David Goldblatt

May 2, 2010 - September 19, 2010

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Galleries Early Work & Mines | Afrikaners | Bantustans | Boksburg | Structures | Johannesburg

Blacks are not of this town. They serve it, trade with it, receive charity from it and are ruled, rewarded and punished by its precepts. Some, on occasion, are its privileged
guests. But all who go there, do so by permit or invitation, never by right.

—Introduction to In Boksburg, published in 1982

This essay on life in a small-town, middle-class, White community in South Africa under apartheid posed but did not answer a conundrum: how it was possible to be, on the whole, law-abiding, decent, and even humane while being at the same time complicit in and perhaps actively supportive of a system that was fundamentally evil. There was no
standing outside the system: to draw breath here, was to be in it.