Plan Your Journey

Peter Magubane was born in Johannesburg and became attracted to photography after taking pictures with a Kodak Brownie as a schoolboy

His first journalistic assignment as a field photographer was covering the 1955 ANC convention in Bloemfontein for Drum magazine. Three years later he won Best Press Picture of the year, becoming the first black South African to win a national photographic prize.

In June 1969 Mugubane was arrested while photographing protesters outside Winnie Mandela’s jail cell. Charges against Magubane were eventually dropped a year later, but the South African authorities banned him from taking any photographs for five years.

South Africa’s tribal heritage is deep-rooted and authentic communities who live a traditional way of life, like the Ndebele in Mpumalanga, still exist. The Ndebele are little influenced by Western civilisation, choosing to follow a colourful existence based around their art in the heart of Mpumalanga province. They are no tourist-friendly showcase: this is the real thing. The Ndebele interact with the outside world infrequently, but when visited by National Geographic Photographer Peter Magubane, we were able to have a unique insight into their lives.

Peter has known, lived with, and photographed these people for years, gaining their respect in the process, and so able to tell the strong family stories that keep this tradition alive in the more modern world of today.