Other Lives of the Image

  • Patricia Hayes University of the Western Cape
  • Iona Gilburt University of the Western Cape


In the wake of intensifying debates on decolonisation and restitution in Africa and its francophone diaspora, a Facebook posting of 6 February 2020 gave an other life to a photographic portrait of the French-Italian explorer Savorgnan de Brazza taken in 1882.1 The uploaded digital scan of a photograph from nearly 140 years ago flashed up in a moment of contemporary hypervisibility, offering a visual pretext to denounce de Brazza and the effect of his interventions in Africa virtually and openly on a public post, pulling the image out of the academic and archival environments it had until then mostly inhabited.