Tate Photography: Sabelo Mlangani


This book is not yet published, but will be available from August 2022.

ISBN: 9781849768023 Category:

Sarah Allen


‘I can’t make my work without the collaboration of the community. Their willingness to allow their story to be told is an important part of what I see.’
Sabelo Mlangeni
Many of the stories that Sabelo Mlangeni tells are of communities on theperiphery of society. Taking time to build relationships, he gains trust and, eventually, access to inner circles and sacred spaces.
Based in South Africa, he has focused on Johannesburg (Big City, 2002-15), as well as the rural areas surrounding his hometown of Driefontein (At Home, 2004-9), and the country towns that ‘freedom and opportunity have somehow skipped past'(Ghost Town, 2009-11).
People are at the heart of Mlangeni’s photography, often those who have been pushed to the so-called ‘margins’, or whose stories could have easily gone untold, such as the street-sweepers of Invisible Women (2006) and the hostel residents in Men Only (2008­-9). In My Storie (2012) and No Problem (2013) he reveals the legacy of apartheid in the stark divisions that remain between racially segregated communities; and in Country Girls (2003-9) he explores gender roles in portraits ranging from the glamorous to the tender and intimate.
Mlangeni’s work seeks to recentre themes of friendship, love and joyin the face of ever-present risk. Above all, his images tell stories of seeking out your people, choosing a family and building a home, wherever you find yourself.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 14 x 20 cm
Publisher name Tate Publishing
Publication date 18 August 2022
Number of pages 64
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 14 x 20 cm
Weight 300 g


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Sarah Allen is Head of Programme at the South London Gallery.