This paper presents and discusses optical [UBV(RI)_C] photometry of RY Sgr from the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) archives spanning the period from 1975 to 1988. The data are analysed together with SAAO JHKL infrared photometry and with optical observations from elsewhere. There is clear evidence that the dust shell is powered by the stellar flux and that obscuration events have little or no effect on the underlying star. Attention is drawn to the frequent occurrence at obscuration events in RY Sgr of a rapid initial drop in light followed by a rapid rise as soon as minimum is reached. These initial minima occur at or very near a minimum of the pulsation cycle as shown by the L light curve. The absorbing characteristics of the circumstellar shell appear to have been the same during the period discussed here as during the 1967-1970 obscuration event.