Jan Greshoff was a Belgium born architect by profession but a photographer by passion. He left Europe for Cape Town, South Africa in 1939 and documented Cape Town and his environs from the early sixties to the late seventies. He is perhaps better known for his work documenting the last days of District Six. In contrast to many of his District Six pictures, the images presented here are not known. For the most part and with a few exceptions Jan occupied himself with the structures of his environment. No doubt his profession had something to do with this interest.
This series however, represents a rare and unique reversal of this approach. Here he concentrated his vision on the faces and human details of the Parade marketplace - there are very few images of the buildings and spaces surrounding the Parade in his archive and none on medium format - and in so doing was able to distil the persistence of humanity in a time of South African history that was riven with injustice and violence. It is therefore a more intimate document and the collection has a humanity and intimacy not always evident in his wider oeuvre.
Jan Greshoff died in 2007. The Parade was and still is the location of a large weekly market situated close to the heart of Cape Town. It was also where Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after his release from prison in 1990.
Café Royal Books, established in 2005, is a small family-run publisher based in England, focussing on documentary photography linked to Britain and Ireland, printed and bound locally by a small 170 year old printing company. In 2022 Café Royal Books received the Royal Photographic Society Award for Photographic Publishing.