Inventory prepared by Catherine Kennedy and Elizabeth Nakai Marima, July 2009
The South African History Archive (SAHA)
Approximately 10,000 negatives and slides; 5106 images have been digitised; 1 hard drive, and 1 book
Accession Number: 07-011
Only digitised images are open for research
Copyright is held by the Zenzo Nkobi's heirs for some of the images, and by Mafela Trust for images taken by Zenzo Nkobi in his official capacity as ZAPU photographer. Copyright restrictions may apply. See SAHA copyright statement for Use Restrictions.
This collection comprises approximately 10,000 negatives and slides created by Zenzo Nkobi, 5 106 of which have been digitised. These images portray the activities of Southern African liberation movements in exile from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. These images cover the African National Congress (ANC) and Zimbabwean refugee and military camps in Zambia and Botswana in the 1970s. These images also show the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) military training camps, and rare images of the Freedom Camp massacre and other destabilization raids on Zambian soil by Rhodesian and South African troops.
Zenzo Nkobi also photographed liberation movement leaders at major regional and international conferences, as well as people’s daily lives in exile, in Lusaka and Maputo. In 1980 he recorded the return of exiles and elections in the newly liberated Zimbabwe, including rare images of the Gukhurahundi (Mugabe’s repression of the population around Bulawayo in the early 1980s).
While the African National Congress (ANC) had a photography unit in the 1980s (of which Zenzo was a member), its stored images were destroyed (by water damage) in Zambia in the late 1980s. Moreover, to ensure security, photographers were generally not permitted in residences and camps unless fully vetted by the movement. Zenzo Nkobi, as the son of ANC Treasurer General, Thomas Nkobi, had complete access thus making these images both extremely rare and valuable.