New publication by Kylie Thomas, EURIAS Fellow 2017-2018


"Decolonisation is now: photography and student-social movements in South Africa"

Kylie Thomas

Visual Studies, vol. 33, no. 1, Special Issue: Photography and African Futures, pp. 98-110, 2018.

DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2018.1426251



The 2015–2016 student protest movements to decolonise universities and to bring about free education in South Africa have been accompanied by striking images that capture the Zeitgeist of the post-apartheid state. This paper focuses on photographs taken by students who also took part in the protests and argues that a new iconography has emerged that references the past but that also breaks away from the social documentary forms of representation that characterised the struggle against apartheid. I explore how the resurgence of black consciousness is made manifest in visual images and argue for reading photographs by student-protestor-photographers as tangible signs of the emerging ‘woke’ subjectivities of young black people in South Africa today.