Book Review: Zanzi Bar – Africa Through the Lens

By Kirsten Harris

John Webb, a news reporter at 702 Talk Radio in Johannesburg has compiled a book documenting the personal experiences of nine photojournalists covering the Africa beat. The book takes an insightful look into the rawness of Africa. Africa Through the Lens has managed to encapsulate these experiences behind the camera. It takes an in depth personal analysis at how  these photographers slowly begin to use the camera as a barrier between themselves and the violent war zones in which they find themselves. Africa Through the Lens documents scenes out of Africa that, to some, would otherwise be inconceivable. It reviews the violent acts against humanity yet still succeeds in capturing a tender side of Africa that many people overlook. The book is host to a diverse range of characters that these journalists have met along the way, many of whom they are still in contact with. Many of the photographs on display in the book reiterate the violent and turbulent times Africa and its people have become accustomed to, yet some hold a more tender sentiment of those who have survived violent war crimes. Although this book illustrates the violence that many have become accustomed to seeing it gives a sense of hope to a beautiful continent otherwise torn apart by violence, corruption and tragedy.

With bizarre, dangerous and tragic circumstances, this photo journal includes Africa’s recent history, violence, war, poverty, and inhumanity of man in ways that has never been seen before. The disturbing portrayal of the African continent echoes a thought-provoking ideology.    

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