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July 16 , 2010

8115: A Prisoner's Home

A Prisoner's Home


In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela describes his house at 8115 Vilakazi Street, Soweto, as '... identical to hundreds of others ... it had the same standard tin roof, the same cement floor, a narrow kitchen, and a bucket toilet at the back.' Little did Mandela know when he first moved into the house in 1946 that it would become the stage for some of the most important political events in South Africa's turbulent history and, in recent times, a cultural landmark visited by thousands of tourists each year. Renowned photographer and close family friend Alf Kumalo captured the day-to-day life of the Mandelas - the raids by the security police and intimate family moments, both of joy and sorrow, as well as Mandela's return to his home after his release from prison in 1990, twenty-eight years after he had left it. Using this unassuming house as the setting, 8115: A Prisoner's Home collects some of Kumalo's most historically important and beautiful images of the Mandela family and their home, giving us a unique insight into the life of the family who would have a profound effect on South Africa's political landscape.

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