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Nelson Mandela’s return to his cell

Nelson Mandela #welove object we love Madiba Day Jürgen Schadeberg photography photograph black and white
Nelson Mandela’s return to his cell on Robben Island IV 1994 PHOTO Jürgen Schadeberg

Jürgen Schadeberg’s photograph of Mandela looking through the bars of his Robben Island Cell in 1994 was voted as one of the 50 most memorable images of the 20th century by The Photographers’ Gallery in London.
     Jürgen Schadeberg was born in Berlin in 1931 and, while still in his teens, worked as an apprentice photographer for a German Press Agency in Hamburg. In 1950, he emigrated to South Africa and became chief photographer, picture editor and art director on Drum magazine. It was during this time that Schadeberg photographed pivotal moments in the lives of South Africans in the 1950s. These photographs represent the life and struggle of South Africans during apartheid and include important figures in South Africa’s history such as Mandela, Moroka, Walter Sisulu, Yusuf Dadoo, Huddleston and many others who have been documented at key moments such as during The Defiance Campaign of 1952, The Treason Trial of 1958, The Sophiatown Removals and the Sharpeville Funeral in 1960.
     Schadeberg’s images also capture key personalities and events in the jazz and literary world, such as the Sophiatown jazz scene with Dolly Rathebe, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Kippie Moeketsi.
     Schadeberg, sometimes known as ‘The Father of South African Photography’, is a principal figure in South African and world photography. His major body of work, which spans 70 years and incorporates a collection of some 200 000 negatives from all over the world, captures a wealth of timeless and iconic images.
     Jürgen Schadeberg photographed Nelson Mandela from 1952 to 2013 and his comprehensive archive of these South African and many other iconic images can be sourced from

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