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Imonti Modern

Imonti Modern seeks to recount a previously untold narrative of East London’s Coloured and African locations after the Second World War and before these communities were ripped apart in the early 1960s by apartheid-era forced removals. Photographs, poems and oral accounts by former residents portray their public and cultural life in the city’s locations on the East and West Banks of the Buffalo River. In their own words and through their own pictures, these stories reveal how African residents created their own styles and forms of dress, music, leisure and home-making to forge a unique urban culture. How they created and occupied public spaces at the beach, in the dance hall, on the rugby pitch, in the boxing ring and at church and school. How they forged new social identities from the forms of consumption and aspiration that they found in the surrounding city. It also shows how their popular imagination was fired by the cultural and political example of black America, which offered hope for greater civic participation in a modern, developing world.

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