Tag Along With The Bang-Bang Club

From 1955, when non-white Africans were forcibly removed from suburb communities and lost their voting rights as the roots of apartheid began to take hold, the violence in South Africa has been undeniably potent and newsworthy.

In 1990, the resurgence of the previously banned African National Party made it obvious that apartheid was losing its hold on the country, and the violence intensified.

Four photojournalists, Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek, Joao Silva and Greg Marinovich, not only risked their lives by covering this violence but became famous for capturing front-line action, going above and beyond to ensure that the struggle of black Africans to reclaim their independence in their homeland was documented and broadcasted worldwide. These photographers became known as the “bang-bang club.”

The “bang-bang,” the noise of the gunfire, was one that the “club” was used to but one with which they were disgusted. “Bang-bang” meant that there were killings, many of them senseless, as a result of the white government using tribal allegiances of South Africans to kill one another.

“Bang-bang” meant that it was a day of taking pictures of murdered children, women, young men and families and knowing that they could do nothing about it.

This undoubtedly took a toll on all of the journalists. Carter committed suicide. Oosterbroek was shot and killed. They all had problems with the women in their lives.

All the fame and fortune of being prize-winning journalists could not erase the dead faces they saw in their nightmares. “I suffer depression from what I see and experience nightmares. I feel alienated from ‘normal’ people, including my family. I find myself unable to relate to or engage in frivolous conversation. The shutters come down and I recede into a dark place with dark images of blood and death in godforsaken dusty places,” Carter once wrote.

As the book develops, it becomes clear that even though these journalists become detached from the gore of the violence. They never become apathetic, the job never loses its urgency or importance.

Marinovich develops a life-long relationship with the Rapoo family after he captures the murder of Johannes Rapoo, who was wrongfully killed by corrupt policemen(

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