In his introduction to "David Goldblatt - Some Afrikaners photographed", David writes about how the contradictory nature of his subjects influenced him and his work. “I was strangely affected by some of them, for they seemed to be imbued in great concentration with potent and often contradictory qualities that both moved and disturbed me.”
David describes how he began the process of taking the photos in a section of the book titled "Some Afrikaners Photographed and Some Afrikaners Revisited". Notes on how they came to be. “And so I began to explore working-class Afrikaner life in our district. I drove out to the kleinhoewes around the town, to Bootha Plots, Wheatlands, Koksoord – the series of smallholdings that had dev eloped around the Randfonstein gold mines. I would stop and ask people if I might do some portraits of them or spend time with them while they went about whatever they were doing. In this way I became intimate with some of the qualities of everyday Afrikaner life in these places, and with some deeply embedded contradictions.”
In an essay, art critic Ivor Powell charts the outraged reaction of the Afrikaner media towards photos that showed rural Afrikaners at a time when the Afrikaner elite was trying to establish itself on the international stage, as well as his own reaction to the original book: “It was all but incandescent with tension and revelation, with a sense of souls being held up to scrutiny, of skins being peeled away.”
More info on the book is below the photos.