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Tauza. Bob Gosani’s People

Tauza. Bob Gosani’s People

For anyone interested in a pictorial history of black South Africa in the 1950s, Tauza - Bob Gosani’s People is a must read.
Mutloatse, Mothobi; Masiza, Jacqui

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Title: Tauza - Bob Gosani’s People
Authors: Mothobi Mutloatse; Jacqui Masiza
Struik Publishers
Cape Town, South Africa 2005
ISBN 9781770071773
Hardcover, dustjacket, 26x21 cm, 116 pages, throughout bw-photos


The late Bob Gosani was one of the original Drum photographers of the 1950s, who worked with all the big names of that era: Alf Kumalo, Bessie Head, Can Themba, Peter Magubane, Jürgen Schadeberg and many others. He died in 1972 and his photographs might have died with him, had they not been “discovered” by Jacqui Masiza, curator at Bailey’s African History Archive, in April 1999.

Describing them as “out of this world, a revelation”, she felt that she had a mission to get them published. Basil ‘Doc’ Bikitsha, a former Drum writer, in his foreword says: “For the 20 years that Bob actively worked for the media, his pictures documented the social, political and economic aspects of our lives. And what shines through in his work is his love of people.”

Enoch Duma, former Drum journalist: “The pictures that really got people talking about Bob were the series he took of the humiliating and degrading ‘Tauza dance’ that prisoners were forced to perform in the courtyard of the notorious Johannesburg prison, The Fort, in Hillbrow. The ‘dance’ was a humiliating way of ensuring that the prisoners were not smuggling any weapons or contraband into their cells after a day’s hard labour.”

Gosani managed to photograph the Tauza secretly from the top floor of a nurses’ home opposite the prison. When the pictures were published in Drum, there was a public outcry and the apartheid government was forced to sit up and take notice. He lived by the maxim “live fast, die young and have a great-looking corpse” and died at the age of 37. We hope that through this book his legacy will live on.


Archivist's Visual Journey
Foreword by Doc Bikitsha
Photograph: Mr Drum - Bob Gosani
An Appreciation by Z B Molefe
Love and War
Congress Meets
The New Jake
Mpanza and Sobhuza
Bishop Limba Comes to Town
Reverend Nimrod Tantsi
Father Trevor Huddleston
The Children
A Day in the Life of a Cover Girl
Township Jazz
On the Beach
King Force
How Tough Can You Get?
Louisa Emmanuel
Henry Nxumalo
Winnie Madikizela
Struggling Women
Josiah Madzunya
Bare-Fist Fights
Traditional Beads
Prison Scenes
Striking a Blow for Freedom
Publisher's Praise Song and Forthcoming Publications

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