Jabulani Dhlamini: Gertrude Phiri with her daughter (Rebecca Phiri)
and her grandchildren, Protea South, 2020

Jabulani Dhlamini: the everyday waiting

Over the past four months of national lockdown in South Africa, Jabulani Dhlamini has been taking photographs. Titled the everyday waiting, his exhibition at Goodman Gallery London is a none-more-current document of this unprecedented time.

“Shooting my surroundings at this time led me to understand that this pandemic is starkly highlighting entrenched social and economic problems,” says Dhlamini. “After 25 years, what has changed in South Africa’s townships and rural areas? Not enough.”

Dhlamini’s contemplative approach looks to the psychological impact of COVID-19 on South Africans living in confined spaces in his community of Soweto. Radically, he pre-sents captions in equal scale, heralding all the prominence of their image. Works that are in two parts, of compelling relationship.

“Jabulani Dhlamini is drawn to peripheries,” notes the British Journal of Photography about Dhlamini’s lockdown series. “He avoids the epicentre of an event or situation and turns to its fringes: exploring impacts and effects that would otherwise remain unknown.” Back in 2018, while shooting for the Financial Times, Dhlamini captured informal street-gatherings surrounding the stadium of Soweto, rather than depicting Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s national memorial at the Orlando stadium.

“When everyone is running towards a certain event, we lose some of the meaningful narratives,” Dhlamini explained.

the everyday waiting meaningfully runs in parallel with Johannesburg 1948-2018, an exhibit of Dhlamini’s eminent mentor, David Goldblatt. Goldblatt’s show is, posthumously, his first major London solo exhibition since 1986.

Jabulani Dhlamini: the everyday waiting; 9th July – September 2020; Goodman Gallery, 26 Cork Street, London W1. Following current protocol, visits are by appointment and masks should be worn.