Bang Bang Club


The Bang Bang Club is the title of a documentary film currently in production that examines South Africa during the last days of apartheid, and the impact that violence had on four photojournalists covering the conflict.

The movie is based on The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War (2000), a book documenting the lives of those four photogs: Ken Oosterbroek, Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva. The book was written by Marinovich and Silva, the two of that group who survived.

The New York Times photojournalism blog is running a series of photo/audio slideshows with the work and voices of those photographers. Today, Joao Silva retells the story of what was happening outside and within when he shot the photograph above -- a man being hacked to death by an angry mob.

Snip from series introduction:

Their bond was formed in the field, where injustice and death lurked. It was a camaraderie that came from the constant experience of mortal danger -- Mr. Oosterbroek was killed during a gun battle in April 1994. They also shared a mutual understanding of how important it was to document the tumultuous events unfolding in front of them as apartheid gave way and South Africans struggled to form a new government. It was a battle most brutally waged in townships populated mainly by poor blacks.

(...) Mr. Marinovich was fairly new to photojournalism in 1991 when he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of photographs of supporters of South Africa's African National Congress burning alive a man they believed to be a Zulu spy. "I had been too scared to say anything to try to stop it," Mr. Marinovich said, "and so that really disturbed me about myself and who I thought I was at the moment."

Showcase: The Bang Bang Club (Part 1 of 2) (New York Times, Thanks, Reverse Cowgirl)


  1. I read this book years ago and it is truly one of the most powerful stories I have ever read. These guys took great risks to show the world what was unfolding in South Africa at the time and deserve our thanks for that.

  2. Yeah, I’m finding this evening heading into the goddamn toilet real fucking fast. From Reddit’s Mentally-Challenged Man Beaten to Death to this.

    Christ, the heart of this planet has to bleed a rich broth of pure pain knowing that it breeds such deep evils.

  3. Don’t want to be a killjoy here, and I’m sure you have a righteous justification for it, but I really wasn’t planning on looking at a graphic photograph of a man being murdered quite so early in the morning.

    I’m not sure where I would file this in my directory of wonderful things, but well done for finding a place for it in yours.

  4. Having read the book I am curious as to how they are going to pull this one off. The book was gory and harrowing – describing in detail situations the group of photographers found themselves in and what can and did go wrong.

    I must admit that when much younger I had some dreams of being a ‘war-photographer’ but having read the book I am not certain that I would have had the courage or mental strength to do the job.

    Let’s just hope that they do it justice, especially to the memory of Kevin Carter.

  5. @ #15 Mojave,
    Dude you are not the only one that noticed this.
    What a FAIL for placement of the article!
    That just made my stomach churn.

  6. While looking through the photos, an ad to come up to visit South Africa “no visa, no fee!”. Yeah, this may have been a long time ago but…still fail…

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