Voter registration, Khayelitsha

Voter registration, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa, April 1994, during the lead-up to South Africa’s first democratic election when Nelson Mandela became president ... ‘Suburbs’ series ... the complete series is in the collection of the Dowse Art Museum, New Zealand.


... an excerpt from my essay for the exhibition cataloge (1995):

“Obed needs to register to vote, so we head off by car to Khaylitsha’s community building and a queue a kilometre long. People wait patiently to be fingerprinted, hot from the sun, standing alone, silent or in groups, chattering and laughing. The entire black nation—voting for the first time, it is they who need to register—are required to be fingerprinted. Millions upon millions. It’s extraordinary. On a yellow A4 sheet of light card, they place each finger in turn and then the thumb, both hands and then a paw print of the four fingers of each hand together. It’s thorough. There is a bucket off to the side where you can wash the ink from your hands” ... /complete text