jump to navigation

Zalmaï April 6, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in South Africa.
Tags: ,

Pretoria, South Africa, 2009

Zalmaï (b.1964, Afghanistan) fled his country at the time of the Soviet invasion in 1980 and settled in Switzerland. He studied photography at the Lausanne School of Photography  and began to work as a freelance photographer, traveling around the world and eventually returned to Afghanistan, where he continues documenting the ongoing war and sufferings of the Afghan people. His work has been published in magazines and newspapers including Time Magazine, Le Temps, Newsweek and others. He has worked for a number of International Organizations and NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Refugee Agency. His work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and universities and has earned him several international awards, including Visa D’ Or and Days Japan. Zalmaï is currently featured in Reportage by Getty Images.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken in Pretoria, South Africa, a year after the May 2008 upsurge of xenophobic attacks, which spread quickly throughout the country and resulted in 100,000 people being displaced and around sixty killed. The people mostly touched were refugees and asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe, Somalia and other African countries. I was there on assignment for the United Nations Refugee Agency. The young Zimbabwean in front of an old wire warehouse was transformed into a makeshift shelter by a group of around forty  Zimbabweans that had suffered such assaults. The last day of my stay in Pretoria I went there again to find the warehouse but it was burnt to the ground overnight by locals. Nobody was to be found. The place was empty, except for ash and debris.”