David Goldblatt
Memorial to Abraham Esau, Calvinia, Northern Cape. 6 October 2003

Born around 1855, Abraham Esau was a respected member of the Calvinia community. He was a blacksmith and a coloured man. During the Anglo-Boer War he earned the hate of the Boers by demonstrating an active loyalty to Britain and by defiantly asserting the limited civic rights enjoyed by coloureds in the Cape. After being brutally tortured, he was executed here by the Boers on 5 February 1901. This monument was unveiled on 24 September 2003. The photograph was taken on 6 October and the monument collapsed or, as some thought, was pushed over on or about 25 October. A police forensic enquiry found that the concrete used in its construction was deficient in strength. A new hospital in Calvinia is to be called the Abraham Esau Hospital and the monument is to be re-erected there.

archival pigment ink on cotton rag paper
paper size: 112 x 133.5cm
image size: 98.5 x 124.5cm
edition of 10

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.