People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited offers a rich and fascinating insight into South Africa at the brink of the apartheid through Bryan Heseltine's previously unpublished photography of the 1940s and 50s. The photographs offer a unique glimpse into the lives of South Africans who would feel the full force of apartheid through the 1950s and beyond, showing some of the dreadful housing conditions that existed on the periphery of the city, but also testifying to the vibrancy of social and cultural life, including the work of street craftsmen, beer brewing, music and dance. People Apart offers an intimate insight into the diverse styles and identities of Cape Town's inhabitants during this period, both through intimate portraits as well as unique documentations of the shack dwellings, which dominated the urban landscape. The collection also significantly demonstrates an early attempt to find a visual language with which to represent apartheid South Africa to a British Public. Author Darren Newbury contextualizes Heseltine's photographs through extensive biographical, and socio-historical research and views this body of work both within its contemporary context as well as asking what these images offer today, in the post-apartheid era. Contributions from Vivian Bickford-Smith and Sean Field probe questions such as the nature of memory and identity, as well as the place of photography in the documentation and the active 'making' of history.
Darren Newbury is Professor of Photography at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University. He has published widely on photography, photographic education and visual research. He is the author of Defiant Images: Photography and Apartheid South Africa (published by University of South Africa Press, 2009). He is also editor of the international journal Visual Studies. Vivian Bickford-Smith is Professor of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town and visiting Professor of Comparative Metropolitan History at the Institute of Historical Studies, London University. He has published extensively on the area of 19th and 20th Century South African history, particularly within the areas of race, ethnicity and nationalism and urban history. Sean Field is Director of the Centre for Popular Memory at the University of Cape Town. He was a founder member of the Oral History Association of South Africa and is author of Oral History, Community and Displacement: Imagining Memories in Post-apartheid Cape Town (published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).