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Mandela's People

Photographer: Kim Ludbrook

 

On 05 December 2013, one of the world's great leaders, former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 94 in Johannesburg. He left behind an incredible legacy for all of South Africa and the rest of the world.

 

Wanting to commemorate one year after his passing, epa photographer Kim Ludbrook traveled to Mandela's home province of the Eastern Cape to portrait the ordinary men and women that his legacy most resonates with and asked them all the same question: 'What does Nelson Mandela mean to you one year after his death?'

 

The frontier province was the birthplace to many great black anti-Apartheid leaders including South African presidents Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, and African National Congress stalwarts Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko.

 

The images where shot in the tiny rural towns of Rhodes, Coffee Bay, Hogsback and Nieu-Bethesda thus exploring the rural communities in the province that was at the heart of the fight against white minority rule in South Africa for decades.

 

From a witchdoctor to a Rasta and from the unemployed to the retired all of the people portrayed seemed to have an incredible connection to Mandela; even though none of them met him.

 

Mandela seemed to speak directly to them and all of those interviewed felt that he had helped them personally whether it was giving them freedom to vote, dignity, a voice to speak up or their independence.

 

It seems that even after his passing Mandela sits at the heart of the nation and is the moral compass that so many people looking for both guidance and inspiration as well as being the voice of togetherness that is needed in a country still struggling with barriers both economic, cultural and racial.