Arts & Culture

Creative Commons images of South Africa

Creative Commons is a licensing system that frees creative works for others to publish and transform. The commons drives some of the best projects on the internet, including Wikipedia and South African History Online. Here’s a selection of free and open images of South Africa.

 

Waterberg star trails

Star trails curve over the massif of the Waterberg Mountains in a time-lapse night shot taken from the Tlopi Tented Camp in Marakele National Park, Limpopo province. The surface of Tlopi Dam can be seen in the foreground. (Martin Heigan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.10) Martin Heigan mh@icon.co.za http:\anti-matter-3d.com http:\www.flickr.comphotosmartin_heigan

Star trails curve over the massif of the Waterberg Mountains in a time-lapse night shot taken from the Tlopi Tented Camp in Marakele National Park, Limpopo province. The surface of Tlopi Dam can be seen in the foreground. (Martin Heigan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Street art on the mountain

Graffitti captured by a trail runner on Table Mountain's Tafelberg Road, Cape Town. (JB Dodane, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Graffiti captured by a trail runner on Table Mountain’s Tafelberg Road near Cape Town. (JB Dodane, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Grootdraai Dam in torrent

Water floods through the opened sluice gates of the Grootdraai Dam near Standerton in Mpumalanga. (Jan Truter, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Water floods through the opened sluice gates of the Grootdraai Dam near Standerton in Mpumalanga. (Jan Truter, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

21 March: From Sharpeville to Langa to Human Rights Day

The coffins of those slain in the Langa Massacre of 21 March 1985. Twenty-five years to the day after the infamous Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 people were killed, police opened fire on a crowd of people on their way to attend a funeral in Langa, Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape. At least 20 people were killed. (UN Photo, CC BY-NC-ND)

The coffins of those slain in the Langa Massacre of 21 March 1985. Twenty-five years to the day after the infamous Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 people were killed, police opened fire on a crowd of people on their way to attend a funeral in Langa, Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape. At least 20 people were killed. Today the 21st of March is commemorated as Human Rights Day, a public holiday. The United Nations marks 21 March as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In Namibia, South Africa’s northern neighbour, it’s Independence Day.   (UN Photo, CC BY-NC-ND)

Regina Mundi Church in Soweto

Stained glass in the famous Regina Mundi Church in Soweto shows scenes from the township's - and South Africa's - liberation history. (Willem van Valkenburg, CC BY 2.0)

Stained glass in the famous Regina Mundi Church in Soweto shows scenes from the township’s – and South Africa’s – liberation history. (Willem van Valkenburg, CC BY 2.0)

The Cosmopolitan in Maboneng

The Cosmopolitan building and a mural of Jan van Riebeeck in the Maboneng inner-city regeneration precinct in downtown Johannesburg. The Cosmopolitan was built in 1899, when the mining town was just 13 years old. (Adamina, CC BY 2.0)

The Cosmopolitan building and a mural of Jan van Riebeeck in the Maboneng inner-city regeneration precinct in downtown Johannesburg. The Cosmopolitan was built in 1899, when the mining town was just 13 years old. (Adamina, CC BY 2.0)

Nguni cow on the Wild Coast

Nguni cow on the beach at Morgan's Bay in the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape. Ngunis, a breed of Zebu cattle, are famous for their uniquely patterned colourful hides. (Gareth Photo, CC BY-NC-ND)

An Nguni cow on the beach at Morgan’s Bay in the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape. Ngunis, a breed of Zebu cattle, are famous for their uniquely patterned colourful hides. (Gareth Photo, CC BY-NC-ND)

Quiver trees at sunrise

Quiver trees – "kokerboom" in Afrikaans – at sunrise in the Richtersveld National Park, in the far north of the Northern Cape. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is one of South Africa's nine Unesco World Heritage Sites. (Appalachian Dreamer, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Quiver trees – “kokerboom” in Afrikaans – at sunrise in the Richtersveld National Park, in the far north of the Northern Cape. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is one of South Africa’s nine Unesco World Heritage Sites. (Appalachian Dreamer, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Eastern Free State farmland

An aerial view of circular crop fields watered by centre-pivot irrigation systems near the small farming town of Jacobsdal in the eastern Free State, near the Northern Cape border. (Jean Boris Hamon, CC BY-NC-ND)

An aerial view of circular crop fields watered by centre-pivot irrigation systems near the small farming town of Jacobsdal in the western Free State, near the Northern Cape border. (Jean Boris Hamon, CC BY-NC-ND)

The San Bushman masterpiece

A section of the Linton Panel, one of the richest examples of Stone Age San Bushman rock art, in South Africa's Iziko National Museum in Cape Town. (H Bechen, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A section of the Linton Panel, one of the richest examples of Stone Age San Bushman rock art, in South Africa’s Iziko National Museum in Cape Town. (H Bechen, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Big kittens in Bloemfontein

Big cat kittens but heads over a toy at the Cheetah Experience carnivore sanctuary near Bloemfontein in the Free State. At left is a caracal kitten, and at right a leopard kitten. Things will change. Grown caracals weigh, at the most, 18 kilograms. Adult male leopards can be as large as 60 kilograms. For comparison, domestic cats weigh between four and five kilograms. (Chris Parker, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Big cat kittens but heads over a toy at the Cheetah Experience carnivore sanctuary near Bloemfontein in the Free State. At left is a caracal kitten, and at right a leopard kitten. Things will change. Grown caracals weigh, at the most, 18 kilograms. Adult male leopards can be as large as 60 kilograms. Adult domestic cats are only four to five kilograms. (Chris Parker, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Cradle of Humankind

A replica of a human skull on display at the Sterkfontein Museum in northeastern Gauteng, in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Important fossils of hominin species going back millions of years – the relatives and possible ancestors of modern humans – have been found in the nearby Sterkfontein Caves and other sites in the region. (Andrew Moore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A replica of a human skull on display at the Sterkfontein Museum in northeastern Gauteng, in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Important fossils of hominin species going back millions of years – the relatives and possible ancestors of modern humans – have been found in the nearby Sterkfontein Caves and other sites in the region. (Andrew Moore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Summer clouds and lightning over Joburg

The clouds and lightning of a summertime thunderstorm over Johannesburg. The Brixton Tower is at right, and the buildings of the city's old central business district towards the left. (Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0)

The clouds and lightning of a summertime thunderstorm over Johannesburg. The Brixton Tower is at right, and the buildings of the city’s old central business district towards the left. (Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0)

Cape Town’s Theewaterskloof dries out

A satellite image of Cape Town's Theewaterskloof Dam in early February 2018 shows the seriousness of the city's drought. After three successive dry years - estimated as a once in a millennium event - the dam, which supplies half the city's water, was at only 13% capacity. (Antti Lipponen, CC BY 2.0)

A satellite image of Cape Town’s Theewaterskloof Dam in early February 2018 shows the seriousness of the city’s drought. After three successive dry years – estimated as a once in a millennium event – the dam, which supplies half of Cape Town’s water, was at only 13% capacity. (Antti Lipponen, CC BY 2.0)

Young Vaal Eagles

The Young Vaal Eagles under-14 football team train on a field near Deneysville, a town on the banks of the Vaal Dam in the Free State. (John Hogg, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Young Vaal Eagles under-14 football team train on a field near Deneysville, a town on the banks of the Vaal Dam in the Free State. (John Hogg, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Off to the beach in Strand

Holidaymakers on the way to the beach in the seaside resort of Strand (Afrikaans for “beach”) on the eastern shore of False Bay in the Western Cape. (Steve Crane, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Holidaymakers on the way to the beach in the seaside resort of Strand (Afrikaans for “beach”) on the eastern shore of False Bay in the Western Cape in December 2018. (Steve Crane, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Children work the mines in 1988

A 1988 image of young South African coal miners, some little more than children, taken by legendary photographer Peter Magubane for the United Nations. (Peter Magubane, CC BY-NC-ND)

A 1988 image of young South African coal miners, little more than children, taken by legendary photographer Peter Magubane for the United Nations. (Peter Magubane, CC BY-NC-ND)

A sky view of South Africa

South Africa and the island of Madagascar are the only landmasses visible on the planet in this composite image captured by six orbits of the Nasa-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership spacecraft on 9 April 2015. Tropical cyclone Joalane can be seen over the Indian Ocean. (Nasa, CC BY-2.0)

South Africa and the island of Madagascar are the only landmasses visible on the planet in this composite image captured by six orbits of the Nasa-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership spacecraft on 9 April 2015. Tropical cyclone Joalane can be seen over the Indian Ocean. (Nasa, CC BY 2.0)

Read more: Gallery: Africa from space

Pieces of beauty

Beauty Maswanganyi is the shop manager and a contributing artist at Piece, an enterprise in Johannesburg specialising in indigenous art and craft objects from around southern Africa. (John Hogg, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Beauty Maswanganyi is the shop manager and a contributing artist at Piece, an enterprise in Johannesburg specialising in indigenous art and craft objects from around southern Africa. (John Hogg, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Honey badger and pup

A rare shot of a honey badger carrying her pup, in the Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park region of the Northern Cape. The honey badger is one of the most fearless and intelligent carnivores on the planet. (Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0)

A lucky shot of a honey badger carrying her pup, in the Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park region of the Northern Cape. The honey badger is one of the most fearless and intelligent carnivores on the planet. They live in fiercely defended underground burrows, so their young are rarely seen. (Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0)

Saldanha Bay fisherman in 1960

2 March 2018: West coast fisherman in 1960 In an archive photo from 1960, a fisherman in Saldanha Bay on the west coast moves his drying snoek indoors as rain approaches. (Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project, CC BY 2.0)

Snapped in 1960 and rare in its record of black people’s daily lives during apartheid, this archive photo shows a fisherman in Saldanha Bay on the west coast moving his sun-dried snoek indoors as rain approaches. (Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project, CC BY 2.0)

Power stations against the sky

Coal-fired power stations outside Emalahleni, a town previously known as Witbank, in Mpumalanga. Emalahleni means “place of coal” in South Africa’s Nguni languages. According to European Union research, the Emalahleni region has some of the most polluted air in the world, with chromium and barium levels higher than instruments could record. (Jane Flowers, CC BY 2.0)

Coal-fired power stations outside Emalahleni, a town previously known as Witbank, in Mpumalanga. Emalahleni means “place of coal” in South Africa’s Nguni languages. According to European Union research, the Emalahleni region has some of the most polluted air in the world, with chromium and barium levels higher than instruments could record. (Jane Flowers, CC BY 2.0)

Aerial view of Kleinmond

Houses in Kleinmond, a small town in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve on the Atlantic coast some 90 kilometres east of Cape Town. (Kevin Rechts, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Houses and gardens in Kleinmond, a small town in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve on the Atlantic coast some 90 kilometres east of Cape Town. (Kevin Rechts, CC BY-NC 2.0)

More Sweetly Play the Dance

A still from More Sweetly Play the Dance, a large-scale 14-minute video projection by acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge, at the Zeitz Mocca museum of contemporary African art in Cape Town. (Hans Olofsson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A still from More Sweetly Play the Dance, a large-scale 14-minute video projection by acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge, at the Zeitz Mocca museum of contemporary African art in Cape Town. (Hans Olofsson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Written, researched and compiled by MC Alexander.
Updated 7 April 2018.
Comments? Email southafrica.gateway@gmail.com