HOUSE OF BONDAGE


Title : HOUSE OF BONDAGE

Photographer(s) : Ernest Cole

Writer(s) : Joseph Lelyveld, Thomas Flaherty

Designer(s):

Publisher(s): Random house, New York, U.S.A.

Year : 1967

Print run :

Language(s) : English

Pages : 193

Size : 22 x 30 cm

Binding : Hardcover

Edition : 2nd 1968

Print: Printed in Italy by Mondadori Editore

Nation(s) and year(s) of Protest : South Africa, 1966

ISBN :













First published in the US in 1967 and in Britain in 1968, House of Bondage presented images from South Africa that shocked the world. The young African photographer Ernest Cole had left his country at 26 to find an audience for his stunning exposure of the system of racial dominance known as apartheid. In 185 photographs, Cole’s book showed from the vantage point of the oppressed how the system closely regulated and controlled the lives of the black majority. He saw every aspect of this oppression with a searching eye and a passionate heart.


Cole was able to tell what was happening in South Africa as he was able to convince the Afrikaner authorities that he was documenting the criminal activities involving black youths against whites in the city streets. This ploy allowed him to leave the country and go to America to publish this book. While the publication of the book brought him to the fore and made him a hero for minorities, on the other hand it precludes him from returning to his homeland for the rest of his life.


House of Bondage is a milestone in the history of documentary photography, even though it was immediately banned in South Africa. In a Chicago Tribunereview, Robert Cromie described it as “one of the frankest books ever done on South Africa—with photographs by a native of that country who would be most unwise to attempt to return for some years.” Cole died in exile in 1990 as the regime was collapsing, never knowing when his portrait of his homeland would finally find its way home. Not until the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg mounted enlarged pages of the book on its walls in 2001 were his people able to view these pictures, which are as powerful and provocative today as they were 50 years ago.

























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