Photographer Jurgen Schadeberg during an interview about his book 'Voices from the Land'. Picture: Rogan Ward/African News Agency Archives
Photographer Jurgen Schadeberg during an interview about his book 'Voices from the Land'. Picture: Rogan Ward/African News Agency Archives

Renowned photographer Jürgen Schadeberg dead at 89

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Aug 30, 2020

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Cape Town - Jürgen Schadeberg, the photographer who took the iconic picture of former president Nelson Mandela looking through the bars of his cell on Robben Island, has died. He was 89 years old.

The Photographers Gallery in London voted that picture one of the 50 most memorable images of the 20th century.

“Sadly Jürgen passed away yesterday (Saturday) due to stroke/age related issues. He was 89, had a full life and his photos will live on,” his wife Claudia said.

Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1931, Schadeberg moved to South Africa in 1950 and took up a position at Drum magazine.

Former president Nelson Mandela looks on as then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy holds a print of a photo of Mandela taken years after his release by South African photographer Jurgen Schadeberg in 1994, into his cell at the Robben Island prison. File picture: Thomas Coex/AP

During this period, Schadeberg’s work captured pivotal events in the South African anti-apartheid struggle. Among the biggest of these were the Defiance Campaign in 1952, the Sophiatown forced removals and the funeral of the Sharpeville massacre victims in 1960.

He also captured fabulous images of the vibrant Sophiatown jazz scene, with Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba being among the big names he photographed.

During the 60s and 70s Schadeberg freelanced in Europe and the United States and his photographs graced the pages of many prestigious publications.

Schadeberg and his wife produced 15 documentaries about South Africa’s history, incorporating politics, culture and society.

He also published a number of books, including “The Fifties People of South Africa”, “Mandela & The Rise of the ANC” and “Voices from Robben Island”.

IOL

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