Bob Gosani

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Bob Gosani (1934–1972) was a South African photographer.


Gosani started off at Drum magazine as a messenger but soon moved to the photographic department where he became Jürgen Schadeberg's darkroom assistant. He later became one of Drum's best photographers.[citation needed]

Schadeberg said that "Gosani stood out because in the early 1950s good black photographers and press photographers in particular were unheard of".[1]

Some of his pictures have become iconic images of the 1950s in South Africa e.g. the picture of Women during the Defiance Campaign in 1952,[2] Nelson Mandela sparring with his boxing club's star boxer of the time, Jerry Moloi (taken on the rooftop of the South African Associated Newspapers office in Johannesburg)[3] and Nelson Mandela outside court in 1958, (triumphant because the prosecution had withdrawn charges in the Treason Trial).[4]

Perhaps his most famous sequence of pictures was the sequence he took of the humiliating and degrading Tauza dance that naked prisoners were forced to perform in the courtyard of the notorious Johannesburg prison, The Fort, in Hillbrow. This dance was a humiliating way of ensuring that the prisoners were not smuggling any weapons or contraband into their cells after a day's hard labour. It essentially involved thrusting their rectums up into the air for inspection by the warders. Gosani managed to photograph the Tauza dance secretly from the top floor of a nurses' home overlooking the prison. As a result of the pictures being published in Drum, there was a public outcry and the apartheid government was forced to act.[5][6]


Publications by Gosani[edit]

  • Tauza - Bob Gosani's People. Bedfordview: Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust, 2005. ISBN 978-1-77007-177-3. Compiled and edited by Mothobi Mutloatse, Jacqui Masiza and Lesley Hay-Whitton.

Publications with contributions by Gosani[edit]


  1. ^ Jacqui Masiza and Mothobi Mutloatse (2005). Tauza - Bob Gosani's People. Cape Town: Struik. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-77007-177-3.
  2. ^ "Women's struggle in South Africa". SA History. South African History Online. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  3. ^ "Freedom of Joburg for Mandela". Archived from the original on 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  4. ^ Frankel, Glenn (2006-12-24). "Long Walk to Freedom". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  5. ^ "Tauza - Bob Gosani's People". Struik. Archived from the original on 2006-09-24. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  6. ^ Gevisser, Mark (2003-06-01). "Constitution Hill" (PDF). WISER newsletter. Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2007-04-23.