Clint Strydom captures tormented history of prison in new exhibition

Articles, News
14 May 2017

When Port Shepstone photographer Clint Strydom started spending time at the No4 Prison at the Old Fort on Constitution Hill about six months ago, somebody suggested that he spend a night in one of the cells.


Over the 90 years of its operation, from its establishment by the Paul Kruger government in 1893 to its eventual closure in 1983, thousands of prisoners passed through the prison complex on the hill above Empire Road, Johannesburg, from Mahatma Gandhi to members of the Ossewabrandwag, and later anti-apartheid stalwarts such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Lilian Ngoyi, Joe and Ruth Slovo and Barbara Hogan.

The No4 section was built for black male prisoners and was notorious for some of the worst atrocities, deaths by torture and disease in the Old Fort's history.

"This place gets locked up at night and there's no one here," says Strydom.


"The only security guy stands outside in the front - they can't find a guy to stand inside here at night - they say you can hear the footsteps of ghosts walking past, you can hear the screams and shouting. They say that people have tried to sleep here overnight and no one's ever made it."..Click to continue reading

Author:Tymon Smith 

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