Gallery | Back in the day
Reframing the African Narrative: Beyond the ‘pitiful victim’ – new frames and narratives for the African continent
Renowned Kenyan author, Binyavanga Wainaina wrote an essay titled ‘How to write about Africa‘ where he challenges clichés and stereotypes you hear about the African continent.
Hub Cymru Africa in partnership with SSAP want to address negative public opinions and perceptions of Africa and Africans. To do this, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we provide a balanced narrative of the continent?’
We have worked with SSAP Youth and young HCA volunteers to collect old pictures, from individuals and charities in Wales under the theme of ‘Development: Back In The Day’. These images, are ‘development’ in its broadest sense, encompassing personal, organisational or community development. It is therefore personal and subjective.
As for ‘Back in the Day’, we wanted to look at the past as we discuss the future and therefore encouraged people to look through their attics and albums for images collected from anytime up to 2010.
The aim of this activity is to bring to light what ‘development’ means to most people. This leads on to our photography competition which explores how ‘development’ used and portrayed in the charity sector, especially in relation to solidarity.
You can find out more about the photography competition here.
Check out the gallery below! 👇
Taken in Abuja, Nigeria. The sunset, and the silhouette it created, birthed so much euphoria within me. Development in context of the picture is simply being able to take a step back and appreciate serenity and nature. It’s conterminous with peace of mind that would be evidently absent where oppression and conflict thrive.
Taken in Kano, Nigeria, February, 2019. He’s a local business man that supplied local shops where I resided. I admired the way he rocked his native attire with so much gusto while going about his business. Development represents economic liberation and appreciating cultural heritage.
This was taken for International Women’s Day, 2019.
Her name is Fatima; Fati for short. Northern Nigeria has a literacy problem and girls are mostly affected due to cultural and religious circumstances. Although government effort is in full gear, this disparity still exists, particularly in rural areas. Fati strives to break this waning norm and is passionate about getting educated at the highest levels.
Development represents education, particularly for the girl child.
This was taken in Kano, Nigeria.
I really appreciated the architecture which is esoterically African. The building and the way it sat within it’s environs was euphoric. The foreign media has always portrayed such structures as anachronistic and a symbolism for poverty.
Development is appreciating African architecture for its beauty and uniqueness just as vintage architecture is appreciated anywhere else.
I spent a couple of weeks in Ngora when visiting the Orphans & Vulnerable Children so I could get a feel for of how the project worked, and capture photos that reflected their work. I wanted to take pictures that showed them as individuals rather than victims, so I chose a neutral background when possible, using their gifts to emphasize the story of how the gifts had helped them. Janet, who lives with her grandmother, shows us some of her chicks. the product of her original gift, and they told me how it’s helped with food security, and that it can also be a source of income to help with her education. The background to this project goes back to when the insurgencies in northestern Uganda came to end, and Dolen Ffermio (DF) trustees were asked if they could help orphaned and vulnerable children in the area to give them hope of change and betterment. It’s preferable for orphans in rural areas to stay in their communities with caretakers, rather than go into orphanages. Collaborating with colleagues in the Teso region, DF have helped raise funds for projects in the Kumi, and Ngora districts since 2006, which has helped many children and their families to have more sustainable livelihoods. A gift catalogue has been produced every year to raise funds through gifts such as poultry, goats, mosquito nets, school uniforms, scholastic materials, and skills training. Projects have gradually changed and been improved through assessing the impact on a regular basis.
People, Earth, Fair Share, Care are at the heart of the Permaculture’s regenerative way of farming; it offers what is scientifically and morally required, also culturally desirable. Hellen Aanyu from Ngora is presenting her plans to her fellow students for a Permaculture farm that she wants to implement in her community.
I chose this picture because Permaculture is key to so much of the charity’s Farming Link work. The writing on the wall explains the concept, and Hellen is one of the best dressed students and enthusiastic about her work! Dolen Ffermio (DF) collaborated by helping set-up this first Permaculture Development Course (PDC) in Kamuli Uganda with Wales based Sector39, funding Hellen, and other community development workers from Nyero, Ngora and Kamuli.
Since 2016 there have been several other PDCs, mainly organized by Broadfield Enterprises Uganda (BEU) and many Africans have become trainers. Hellen is a founding member of Eastern Uganda Permaculture Organisation. It’s been amazing to see the enthusiasm with which Ugandans involved have taken these methods on board, and how they are mobilizing people in their communities. Charles Mukaruru of BEU is working with a group of farmers at Nakyaka, Dolen Ffermio demonstration farm, using Permaculture methods. Schools in the Kamuli district are helping plant fruit trees from the demonstration farm’s Tree and Bamboo Nursery. In Nyero, community development workers started working with orphaned children during Lockdown, teaching them to use their land for Permaculture gardens as part of their Skills Training Programme to ensure better food security.
Development should be an equal collaboration with all involved, so as a professional photographer / educator, I felt it important to incorporate participatory photography, so that we could get more balanced view of images to raise awareness of the charity Dolen Ffermio/Farming Link’s work in Uganda.
These exited kids from Kumi Township Primary School are experimenting with digital cameras, before taking disposable film cameras home. It was the first of several Photo Diary projects I did, linking schools and communities we work with in Uganda and Wales.
The idea of the project was to enable the young people to have a voice through photography by encouraging them first to look and talk about other people’s photographs, then secondly to take photos trying out different compositions, framing and angles etc, and thirdly to edit them, adding words and sometimes drawings.
Ausman Obaja – Head Teacher comments: “Indeed photo diary school link project is so wonderful. It has reflected creativity and emotions of pupils. It has reinforced our achievements on cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Photography itself brought realities of the far world closer and our pupils and teachers have gained skills in photography and enjoy it, we see and remember rather than hear and forget. The project is so unique – imagine an African Child being empowered to enjoy an international relationship with children outside Uganda.”
The children, teachers, and community development workers produced some wonderfully insightful photo diaries, giving both myself and people in Wales a better understanding of life in Ugandan.
The first two images of myself wearing cultural clothes, that’s my traditional Sudanese thobe. I have decided to select these images, in particular, to show how unique and multicultural Africa is. This is linked to development because it shows that we have evolved and accepted our difference. As a result, I was confident enough to show people my root and where I belong. Thirdly, the image with my family shows that we have many generations descending. From one generation to the next, we have developed our behaviours and attitudes to adapt to the environment we live in.
Hence, that’s why it’s linked to development. The last image of myself, my mother and my sister, shows our strength (from our smiles) through the difficulties of migrating from our country for a better life. We have developed the ability to work hard and with a passion to improve our life.
This image was one of the first photos I took in Tanzania, in the UK I was used to Africa being portrayed as dry, dusty and brown and so I was surprised at how green and full of vegetation it was. It was beautiful and the complete opposite of what I had imagined.
This picture is from Uluguru mountain range, Morogoro, Tanzania.
This is a picture of a respected local community figure and business owner, here he is speaking at a community action day encouraging youth to sign up for a business skills course. I believe that development should be community led and collaborative, sharing skills and practices.
This picture was taken in Igombavanu, Mufindi District, Tanzania
This is a picture of one of the younger people enrolled on the business skills course, this was at a community action day where people could show their current or prospective businesses to the community and a group of local business owners recruited as mentors.
This picture was taken in Igombavanu, Mufindi District, Tanzania
This image is of myself and the family I lived with for most of my time in Tanzania. Although it does feature me, my memories of Tanzania are closely associated with this family and their kindness, it is because of the wonderful people I met that I have so much love for Africa and I want to continue to work in international development.
This picture was taken in Igombavanu, Mufindi District, Tanzania
The image here was taken by a family friend on her visit from Sweden.
As young people, my brother and I would play football with other children on street roads and these moments have lived with me for the rest of my life.
As a keen footballer and someone who enjoys exercising, any form of exercise provides physical and mental wellbeing which in turn translate to personal and community development.
Sports play an important tool in not just keeping people fit and healthy by improving their physical wellbeing but it also helps to release stress and produce endorphins that makes you feel good about yourself.
From a livelihood perspective, sports can provide opportunities for people to better themselves and their families by earning income from it. Many football players from the continent came from poor backgrounds and have used the sport as a way out of poverty.
From a community angle, sports allow members of the community to meet, engage and work together as a team. It teaches people about team working, collaboration, communication etc. These are important tools to develop in many different aspect of one’s life.
Sports especially football is a big part of my life and my development.
I have played football since I can remember and it is a useful tool to make friends, for my physical and mental wellbeing but importantly it connects me with people globally. This picture was take in Kijitonyama, Dar as salaam in 1994, the year Tanzanians got to watch the world cup on television for the first time.
This is a picture of a family friends factory in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s a printing company that makes tshirts for locals and tourists. Business and enterprise form the backbone of any society and this company employed enough.
This picture was taken just before I (fadhili) moved to UK. I was part of a school choirs that compete and visited other secondary schools in Tanzania. I went to Ilboru Secondary School (Arusha) for 2 years and on my last year, I visited Allen Charles, childhood friend who went to Umbwe Secondary School in Moshi. He was one of my last friends I visited to say goodbye before moving to UK.
This is a picture of my brother, Elisha and mum in hospital (1993/4). Elisha was hospitalised for a condition he had since birth and had a few surgeries in Tanzania and later on in Sweden. This picture was taken at Muhimbili hospital I Dar-es salaam, Tanzania.
In the late 1960s my father, a statistician working on counting wildlife populations, made several trips to East Africa.
On one trip he met two Kenyan boys, Geoffrey and Stephen, who lived in a rural village – impressed with their desire to do well in school and to better their English, he had volunteered my sister and myself (aged 8 and 12, a few years younger than the boys) to be their penpals!
Over the next few years, we corresponded every couple of months, and Dad also sent small sums of money to assist with their education.
In 1972 Dad was able to combine a work trip with a family holiday and we finally met our penfriends! Geoffrey (top pic) was by now married with a family, while Stephen (left in bottom pic, next to my brother) still lived with his parents in their large mud hut, which we also visited. Dad continued to correspond with Geoffrey and we helped him to invest in a small farm – he paid back our investment from his profits.
I think these connections were very important in giving my siblings and myself a level of global awareness at an early age, which has impacted all of us in how we live our lives.
My friend Antony was a real Nairobi city boy, but he invested in a piece of land an now sustainably farms Moringa and other health supplements. He uses social media to market his health products to young and health conscious Kenyans. We don’t often hear stories of young Africans leaving the city to invest in small-scale sustainable farming.
I visited Southern Rhodesia 1970, this is a street in Salisbury.
There were sanctions at the time, Ian Smith was in power having declared UDI. So there were no new cars on the street and it was limited what you could buy in the shops. But flowering trees lined the main roads. Everything was clean and the streets numbered so it was easy to find the way.
These images can help to create what is called branding in the times that we are in. The power of images can communicate and promote a story behind a young adult. These pictures will be able to tell you a story of a young woman who was empowered by her parents growing up. Choosing friends who had the same values, making my own choices of who I wanted to be.
South Wales Echo 2001. When I arrived in Wales all those years ago, all i had was my memory. The atmosphere, discussions was hostile and toxic, I felt the need to address the Welsh people, as to some of the reasons why people leave their homes, seeking new abodes.
Outside my father’s house with my nieces and nephews. I love this picture. Once my family realised my father had left his six-bedroom house to me, they falsified his WILL, and my nephew was given my name. In 1997 during the court case that followed, my family rejected me as not being my father’s son, instead, they awarded my property to my nephew whose name had been changed to mine. This triggered my flight from Cameroon.
Drinking palm wine with my childhood friends, in my mother’s compound, 2019. we poured libation, inviting all the gods of the Bakweri people, including Epassamoto, the mountain god.
At the launch of my autobiography in Buea, January 2020. I, Eric Ngalle. My mother took my hands into her hands and one by one she gave each of my fingers a gentle bite, thanking the ancestors for bringing me back to her.