Pettersson's Rainbow Transit

By Peggy Roalf   Friday September 27, 2013

Per-Anders Pettersson went to South Africa in 1994 to cover the first democratic elections after the fall of apartheid. He says, “Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. He had been free for four years and had toured the world like a rock star. The election was one of the most significant events in recent history; from the ashes of a repressive, segregated and racist state emerged miraculously a multi-racial nation and one of the greatest success stories on the African continent.”

Pettersson continued to document post-apartheid South Africa, eventually making Cape Town his home. His new book, Rainbow Transit (Dewi Lewis) will be released in October. On receiving his email today about an interview in Italian Vogue, I looked around to see what else was online, and found this trail of events and interviews. Be inspired.

In November 2012, he raised over $10,000 through an Emphasis campaign, with rewards to big investors that included a photo workshop in Cape Town and a signed limited edition print. This campaign got the attention of This is The What.

Fast forward to Visa Pour L’Image 2013; in September, Petersson had a book signing for Rainbow Transit. Since then, features and interviews have appeared in major media, offering another view of South Africa, a country that makes the news more for its problems than for its achievements. Pettersson, as it happens, has an eye for fashion. Here are a few examples; Interview, Italian Vogue; Interview, Visura; Slideshow, Time Lightbox.

African Fashion Week:


Slideshow, The Guardian: 

Izikhothane” is a Zulu word meaning “to lick”, but it has now become street slang for “bragging”. It has its roots in the early days of the movement, which first emerged around 2010, when “izis” would deliberately spill packets of custard, considered a treat by many poor black South Africans, and then ostentatiously lick it off their hands and clothes as impoverished onlookers urge them on. They quickly graduated from custard to Johnnie Walker Blue Label and even Moët & Chandon, which they spill rather than drink,