Police Academy, Hamanskraal, South Africa, 1978. Colonel S.J. MALAN, Director of the Police School for Black people, with trainees.
Magnum / Abbas Photos Association, 2020. A Magnum square print, by Abbas Attar, better known by his mononym Abbas. Abbas was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism. This particular image came to symbolise apartheid in South Africa to audiences across the world. It shows a white colonel from the black police academy in his uniform with his trainees behind him. The trainees are lined up behind him in rows, wearing nothing but shorts and plimsols. Each year Magnum produce a limited run of photographs in this square print format. They are limited not by number, but by the length of time they are on sale. Photo in perfect condition. 150 x 150 mm (6 x 6 inches).
A note on the verso says: In 1999, I met the director of this police academy again, this time in the B&B he ran with his family in Stellenbosch. A television channel had sought him out for a program on the photos that marked our time. It was not the uniform-and-stick Colonel that I found, it was the retired police general Stephanus Jacobus Malan. "This picture was taken from my South Africa story, originally published in 1978 by newspapers and magazines around the world; it became one of the symbols of apartheid. A photographer friend informed me later that someone from the South African Embassy in Paris told him that this photo did them more harm than an armed division of enemies. It's the greatest compliment a photographer can receive. Police academy. Hamanskraal, South Africa. 1978. The man whose face had become, over the years, and defiantly, an icon of apartheid, was an affable, courteous man with exquisite hospitality. What was the moral responsibility of the photographer? I had not photographed the man in 1978, but the uniform that personified the apartheid regime." From the photographer's own notes.