Cape Town ’60s Party Photos: Never Mind the Apartheid [NSFW]

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These shots of Beehived, boozed up, breast-flashing gals, slumped-over sailors and tongue-entwined couples were shot by nightclub bouncer Billy Monk between 1967 and 1969 in Cape Town, South Africa. Removing themselves from the reality of the ongoing apartheid, these festive folk fled to the Les Catacombs and nearby clubs to drunkenly dance away their ambivalence or guilt. Monk captured intimate moments and dizzy vignettes of the wilder ones and sold them their prints. Ten years after he abandoned the hobby, another photographer found the contact sheets and negatives in Monk’s studio and organized his first gallery show in 1982. Monk never made it — he was shot dead in a fight on the way to the exhibit.

Decades later, these (occasionally mildly NSFW) vintage party shots could invoke clashing feelings: amusement, disbelief, disgust, delight. Come along with us to this strange celebration and see where it takes you.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, October 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, March 12, 1969. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Balalaika, December 1969

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, March 3, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, November 25, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, December 3, 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, November 6, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, November 21, 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, October 14, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, August 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Spurs, December 29, 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, January 8, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, October 7, 1968. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, October 16, 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Photo Credit: Billy Monk. The Catacombs, 1967. Courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery.