It’s okay to show photographs of black men in their underwear with the implication that they are criminal. That they live in a single sex men’s hostel built under Apartheid for black migrant workers, has a much to do with it. No identification or context necessary in the caption.

We normally associate this with journalists and publications from Europe and North America, but this time–surprise–it is a South African newspaper.

Picture series in “The Star”.

[Thanks to Herman Wasserman to pointing me towards it]



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. Hey, when we lived in Joburg last year, one of the things that really struck us both was how 'western' the 'main' broadsheet papers were. The fact that they use a lot of western copy is just one example, but the tone and – as you've made clear here – editorial approach is very eurocentric and frankly, I think, racist.

  2. The men in the photographs may or may not even be guilty of any crime but as you say they are presented as such. There is a strong element of violence in these photos. Dignity and respect are not awarded them even though no one knows whether or not they are guilty and if they are they still should have some dignity. This is violence by the state – violence is so entrenched in SA and in my own country Nigeria. I will not excuse acts of violence against women but one can begin to see something of where this is coming from men who are stripped naked of their humanity – caged and gagged in hostels in 2009 – seems to me a breeding ground for violence.

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