The history of apartheid is still alive in contemporary South Africa

Startling juxtapositions show the patterns of apartheid are still alive in modern day South Africa.

On one August day in Rustenberg, 44 miners in a wildcat strike lost their lives in a hail of bullets fired by police. In the days leading up to the massacre, eight strikers, a police official, and a security guard were killed in strike related violence. While this reads like a passage out of South Africa’s apartheid struggle history, what would come to be known as the Marikana Massacre actually took place in 2012, in the democratic South Africa. These parallels are addressed in a new campaign at the Apartheid Museum that aims to illustrate how contemporary events in South Africa find an echo in some of the most iconic photographs from the Apartheid era

Designed by OpenCo - The Open Collaboration, the campaign consists of a series of photographs created by juxtaposing iconic photographs from the Apartheid-era, with eerily similar contemporary news photographs. 

“We were tasked with creating a campaign that would re-affirm the relevance of the history of Apartheid in contemporary South Africa,” says the agency.

The campaign’s creators compared the social context of Apartheid-era South Africa with the state of South Africa today. “Very quickly it became clear that the imperative to understand the history of Apartheid has never been more urgent.”

With these striking images, the campaign proves that the destructive patterns established during Apartheid continue to manifest in modern South African life: “Riot, strike, murder, mob and massacre are unfortunately still a part of the country’s lexicon.” 

Police during the Soweto Riots, 1976 juxtaposed with police during the Marikana strike, 2012.
Bodies on the ground after the Sharpville Massacre, 1960 and the bodies of dead miners in the Marikana Massacre, 2012.
Youth of Soweto protesting, 1976 compared to the youth of Orange Farm protesting in 2010.
A tribal mob attack, 1990 juxtaposed with the mob killing of a foreigner in 2015’s xenophobic violence.