PHOTO ESSAY | 'Johannesburg, Joburg is not an easy city to love'

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Errol Seboledisho where he was arrested for shoplifting in 2002. Protea Glen, Soweto, 13 February 2010. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)
Errol Seboledisho where he was arrested for shoplifting in 2002. Protea Glen, Soweto, 13 February 2010. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)

When it was published in 2011, Ivan Vladislavic’s novel Double Negative was paired with David Goldblatt’s photobook, TJ: Johannesburg Photographs 1948 - 2010. Together this part-fiction part photo essay duo tells stories about Johannesburg, about life in the city, home, habit, change, memory, mortality, friendship, ghosts, gardens, walking, falling, and stealing. It is a partial account of both authors’ lives in their neighbourhoods; it is a selective self-portrait. 

Below are a selection of images from Goldblatt’s TJ: Johannesburg Photographs 1948 - 2010. 


TJ: Johannesburg Photographs 1948 - 2010
TJ: Johannesburg Photographs 1948 - 2010. (Goodman Gallery)

"Johannesburg, Joburg is not an easy city to love. From its beginnings as a mining camp in 1886, whites did not want brown and black people living among or near them and over the years pushed them further and further from the city and its white suburbs. Eventually, under Apartheid the areas were prescriptively defined by race: laws required that only a certain race – black, white, coloured, Asian – could occupy a given piece of land. Soweto and Alexandra were for blacks, Hillbrow, Houghton, Pageview for whites, Lenasia for Asians, Protea for coloureds and so on. Changes were brutally made and people mercilessly moved, invariably to suit white wishes." - David Goldblatt

11 Diagonal Street with Bantu Affairs building, Jo
11 Diagonal Street with Bantu Affairs building, Johannesburg, 19 November 1983. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery)

Cynthia Freeman: sentenced to R100 or 50 days impr
Cynthia Freeman: sentenced to R100 or 50 days imprisonment suspended for 3 years for living in this flat in a White Group Area, Ivanhoe Court, Wolmarans Street, Hillbrow, December 1981. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery)

Errol Seboledisho where he was arrested for shopli
Errol Seboledisho where he was arrested for shoplifting in 2002. Protea Glen, Soweto, 13 February 2010. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)
In Trader’s Alley, where the Diagonal Street Fruit
In Trader’s Alley, where the Diagonal Street Fruit Market used to be, Newtown. 10 August 1990. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery)

In the Sofasonke Dairy, Orlando West, Soweto, Augu
In the Sofasonke Dairy, Orlando West, Soweto, August 1972. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery)

Ephraim Zulu watering his garden, 179 Central West
Ephraim Zulu watering his garden, 179 Central Western Jabavu, Soweto, September 1972. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery)

'Highrise', Prospect Street, Hillbrow, December 19
'Highrise', Prospect Street, Hillbrow, December 1973. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery)

On Twist Street, Hillbrow, April 1962. (Courtesy T
On Twist Street, Hillbrow, April 1962. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)

A lunch-hour, Pretoria Street, Hilbrow, 1966. (Cou
A lunch-hour, Pretoria Street, Hilbrow, 1966. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)

Abraham Thipe's brick, Bree Street, 16 August, 199
Abraham Thipe's brick, Bree Street, 16 August, 1990. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)


Slegs Blankes. Europeans Only. Bus stop, Derby Roa
Slegs Blankes. Europeans Only. Bus stop, Derby Road, Lorentzville, December 1973. (Courtesy The David Goldblatt Legacy Trust and Goodman Gallery.)
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