Attorney Christine Berger, Colleen Lombard and (unknown) outside the High Court during the Yengeni Trial wearing ANC Women's League uniforms.
Photo: Zubeida Vallie
‘This is one of my favourite photographs. Yengeni is now synonymous with drunk driving and Mercedes Benzes, but the original Yengeni trial was on charges of treason. [Yengeni was Umkhonto weSizwe leader in the Western Cape in the late 1980s. In 1987, he was arrested, and his trial charges of terrorism began in 1989. The case against Yengeni and 13 other accused dragged on for 269 days and apparently cost the state around R5-million at the time.]
‘While researching the Martyrs, Saints & Sellouts exhibition (2013), I was drawn to Colleen’s story. She speaks about what it was like to be in solitary confinement for all those months, away from her daughter and she writes this piece that struck me enormously. You don’t see that separation here. But what you see are these women who are confident, striding. There’s no sense of victimhood. And that is what I appreciate about Zubeida’s images. The way she photographs discounts the idea of the apartheid subject as victim and the whole idea of black victimhood. None of her pictures show that.
‘I see these two women impeccably dressed in ANC Women’s League uniform. If they weren’t outside the High Court, one could imagine them going to town or going out. I see this Women’s League uniform that they are wearing and I think about how seemingly silent the Women’s League is today – not taking the kinds of personal risks that were taken in the past and staying silent on matters that they should not be silent on.’ – Siona O’ Connell