Peter Magubane (born 1932) is a South African photographer.
He was born in Vrededorp, now Pageview, a suburb in Johannesburg and grew up in Sophiatown. He started taking some photographs using a Kodak Brownie box camera as a schoolboy.
In 1954 he read a copy of Drum, a magazine known for its reporting of urban blacks and the effects of apartheid. They were dealing with social issues that affected black people in South Africa. I wanted to be part of that magazine.
He started at Drum as a driver. After six months of odd jobs, he was given a photography assignment under the mentorship of Jürgen Schadeberg, the chief photographer. He borrowed a camera and covered the 1955 ANC convention. I went back to the office with good results and never looked back.
Being on assignment in the early years wasn't easy. We were not allowed to carry a camera in the open if the police were involved, so I often had to hide my camera to get the pictures I wanted. On occasion I hid my camera in a hollowed-out Bible, firing with a cable release in my pocket. At another time, at a trial in Zeerust from which the press were banned, I hid my Leica 3G in a hollowed-out loaf of bread and pretended to eat while I was actually shooting pictures; when the bread went down, I bought milk and hid the camera in the carton. And I got away with it. You had to think fast and be fast to survive in those days.
Magubane photographed most of South Africa's historic moments e.g. Mandela's Rivonia trial in 1964 and also Sharpeville in 1960. He later recalled I had never seen so many dead people. His editor wanted to know why he hadn't taken any close-ups. Magubane then decided I was not going to get emotionally involved, or at least not until after I have done my work