Figures & Fictions: Santu Mofokeng

Mofokeng lives in Johannesburg where he began his career as a photojournalist. But he has long been engaged with the poetic and symbolic potential of black and white photography. As he has noted: ‘My approach has always been based on poetry and philosophy, in standing back. I don’t believe in one truth: I like to look at things from many sides.’ The series Chasing Shadows documents a set of caves used both as a Christian prayer site and a place of traditional healing. Mofokeng’s concern with the rituals, costume and ceremonies is balanced with personal interest, in a portrait of his brother, seeking a cure for AIDS. Another series, Child-Headed Households, registers the blight of AIDS without depicting it directly. Here, Mofokeng frames the new reality of families formed of sibling communities who fare for themselves in impoverished circumstances. Interviewed by Tamar Garb, South Africa, 2010

Cite this page as: Victoria and Albert Museum, London, "Figures & Fictions: Santu Mofokeng," in Smarthistory, September 10, 2021, accessed June 19, 2024,