Leni Riefenstahl’s registration of the Nuba tribe

6 May

Leni RiefenstahlThere is already so much written and said about Leni Riefenstahl, but everybody is equally impressed by her photographs and films.

My friend wanted to go to Leni Riefenstahl’s funeral (she passed away at the age of 101, september 8,2003), because he was a great admirer of her work and wanted to pay his respect to her and I had no clue who he was talking about… I bought the dvd ‘The wonderful, horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl’ by Ray Muller and got fascinated by the person and her work. If you want to have a great overview of her life and work, watch this movie!

Leni Riefenstahl was an extreme aesthetics, a German woman aesthetics around the time of WWII, when Germany was reigned by the very disturb madman Adolf Hitler, who got interested in her work and her aesthetic view on people. She was so eager to work, make movies and photographs, she took up his offer to work for him and that was the biggest mistake she would ever make and had to pay for this mistake the rest of her life. Her infamous, brilliant documentaries Triumph des Willens and Olympia got her associated with the Third Reich and she spent the rest of her life trying to get away from this association.

After WWII she lived with her mother in a little appartement in Germany for years. In the 1960s Riefenstahl became interested in Africa from Hemingway’s book and from the photographs of George Rodger. She travelled to Sudan and lived with the Nuba tribe for years. Her registration of the Nuba tribe is mesmerizing.

This photograph by George Rodger shows two muscular wrestler of a Nuba tribe in Kordofan, Southern Sudan. It was taken in 1949, during Rodger’s journey across Africa which he made to escape the traumas of the Second World War. The impact of this photograph has a melancholy ending. This famous Despite Roger’s unwillingness to reveal the whereabouts of the tribe to German filmmaker and photographer Leni Riefenstahl, the latter discovered their location some fifteen years later. In the 1970s, her photographs of the Nuba people were published throughout the world and attracted more people to the area. The Sudanese government subsequently encouraged the oppression and displacement of Nuba tribes because they wrongly suspected them of unified alliance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

The Nuba tribe by Leni Riefenstahl



Leni Riefenstahl

In her 70s she wanted to film and photograph the underwater world and had to lie about her age to get a scuba diving certification . Years ago I found the book Jardins de Corail….


Leni Riefenstahl’s life would have been totally different if she had never been associated with the Third Reich (after WWII she was arrested but released without any charges).. She would  be remembered by her beautiful work, innovations as a filmmaker and as the greatest female filmmaker of the twentieth century.

3 Responses to “Leni Riefenstahl’s registration of the Nuba tribe”

  1. God's Hot Spot 5 July 2016 at 12:44 #

    True amazing concept of naked not ashamed as the people in natural organic environment like Adam and Eve before sin entered world. A Westernised conditioned mind is surprised to see people in natural elements in the world. It is originally how God made all people in the world. The people do not perceive nakedness as the Western world does interesting images.

  2. Rolf Dieter Lehner 30 July 2018 at 06:48 #

    focussing always on the third Reich makes me sick.Leni Riefenstahl was embedded into her her time, Nobody is tntiled to value this, as you do. Each of the European Cultures, US included ,murdered Thousands and Millions of people, destroyed their culture and their roots, and is even doint today, like USA, in our days. The Hitlers and Himmlers in our Days
    are Cheney, Rumsfield, Bush, Hilary Clinton and many others. I would never judge US artist by all the atrociies of their Governments. I ask you to come down from your high pedestal and rearlize the fact . “Nobody is an angel, who is without a sin, should throw the first stone! .”

  3. Deborah Whitehead 16 August 2021 at 19:37 #

    Loved her photography work … she was awesome and amazing

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