Mzileni has captured South Africa’s past and the music stars of South Africa

Sophie Mgcina, musician, educator and composer who, gazes at us on the page with a firm and uncompromising gaze. She’s just moved from the piano, pointing at us. Behind her, a piece of music is in the open. It’s 1993 the journalist has been narrating to Z.B. Molefe, “I had to work like 10 black women to get where I am today.” If she didn’t say it, the photographer Mike Ndumiso Mzileni’s accompanying photo would have said it in a loud and clear way.

A renowned elder statesman from the world of photographer Mzileni has passed away at 80 years old, following a series of afflictions that were debilitating however, not before his exhibit that took place in the month of January Johannesburg was the first time he had unveiled both sides of his career over the years in news photography, which captured historical moments and music photography in which artists were able to use their visuals to express who they truly were.


Mzileni was a journalist who was who was described by a reporter in the media as “one of the last of the Drum-era soldiers credited as black journalism’s pathfinders”. His work began in the 1970s in the turbulent the South African apartheid times. He documented the lives of blacks in the white majority regime. He was being among those photographers that documented his images from the Soweto Uprising of 1976.

Ndumiso Mzileni was born Stutterheim located in Eastern Cape on 16 January 1942. His work was featured in various publications like The World, Drum, the Rand Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. His longest time at City Press was City Press, which he was a part of when it was founded in 1982. He was promoted to become the chief photographer before his retirement in 2000.

The tributes began to arrive. The majority of young photographer who met him had fond memories of his support and kindness for their own professional careers of ,the high standard for newsrooms that he established, and of his unwavering Africanist policies that shaped his lens. “A camera is more powerful than an AK47,” he advised and advised to be mindful of the way you use it.

The music pictures

For those who love jazz, Mzileni’s photos are the most popular of musicians and music makers, which are collected in two books, A Common Hunger to Sing (the basis for that Mgcina photo) as well and All That Jazz, which highlights the strongest way the talent and understanding we’ve lost. Alongside his stunning performance photographs Mzileni’s jazz portraits specifically established a standard and style that influenced and influenced his younger counterparts like Siphiwe Mhlambi..

Kwela Books

The philosopher Susan Sontag asserted, “The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” That is the essence of a subject for photography is already there; the photographer’s job is to find it and then expressing it in an image to allow viewers to see it. Photographers create, not just search for the subject and “take” photographs. The choices they make regarding the subject’s setting and posture, as well as how the shot is framed and lit, can expose or conceal the subject’s true nature and even (accidentally or purposefully) communicate something totally different.

The most sloppy of music photography today – the amateur point-and-shoot fan photos, which editors frequently make use of instead of hiring specialist trained photographers – don’t provide much information other than what the artist was wearing and how big their mouths were positioned behind an instrument or how bright the stage lighting was.

Mzileni was interviewed on the uprising of 1976 in Soweto.

It was not his business. The art of photography in black and white, like his, removes the glow of stage lighting and sequins-adorned costumes that full-color images take advantage of. It also makes the right choices for lighting and framing more vital.

Jazz women

We can see how effective the choices made when we look at the portraits of female artists Mzileni designed in the project A Common Hunger to Sing.

There’s a kinship between the artist who is in front of the camera and those behind it in the way Mzileni portrays the women. Some of them have opted to dress in African exquisite clothing ( Mara Louw). Some, like the the veteran Snowy Radebe, have their best chairs and wear their finest jacket and a neat beret, a revered matriarch of the family and church. Others, such as Mgcina, Lynette LeeuwNothembi Mkhwebane, and Sathima Bea Benjamin, are able to present themselves in relation to their songs. Mgcina is playing piano; Leeuw holds her saxophone in her hands; Mkhwebane is a guitar player ahead of her. Benjamin listens to several songs from her collection. Some smile, while others appear at a thoughtful, stern, or sad.

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