Photographing ‘the Politics of Health’ in Rural South Africa


Photos by Jo Ractliffe

South Africa’s rural North West Province does not have a medical school, a serious impediment to improving primary health care in the region. A $1.2 million grant from Atlantic Philanthropies was used to renovate the rural Zeerust-Lehurutshe District Hospital into a pilot educational campus, where the University of the Witwatersrand now operates a Clinical Associates training program that serves as a model for developing and retaining health professionals in South Africa’s most medically underserved regions.




Photographer Jo Ractliffe often examines landscapes as a means of reflecting on conflict and history. (See, for instance, the three bodies of work currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.) In Lehurutshe, her depictions of the landscape instead evoke the politics of health. Musa Nxumalo, an emerging photographer based in Soweto, most frequently photographs black urban youth culture. Here, by contrast, he looks at the very different lives of young health care professionals living and working in Lehurutshe’s extremely rural environment.





Photos by Jo Ractliffe (black and white) and Musa Nxumalo (color).

This post was originally published on January 15, 2016 on the Magnum Foundation blog.

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