The five winners of the Contemporary African Photography Prize are:
White Gold, 2021
The former general director of Misr Spinning and Weaving Company stands inside one of the four power plant stations of the company on Jan 13,2021, El Mehalla El Kobra, Egypt.
The first seeds of my identity were planted in El Mehalla Al Kobra, home to me and Egyptian cotton. Through my young eyes, my grandfather’s house beamed with light and memories reflecting the cotton threads that extend three generations back. My great grandfather was a merchant of silk and wool, one of the first in El Mehalla to lead the initial stage of the popular manufacturing textile trade at the time. In the late 1960’s my grandfather established his textile factory in the city and my father joined him in the 1980’s, continuing to weave our family threads and plant the cotton seed.
I see myself reflected in the cotton’s journey. Drawing on the legacies of my grandparents, their archives, and my own country’s eroding history, I try, through this work,to reconnect and recollect what is left of our own withering seeds of cotton.What once was a major symbol for our Egyptian identity and our cultural wealth and that ties us all to our historical past.I explore the origin, evolution, erosion, and revival plans.Beneath the layers,unfolds the lineage of Egypt,from the past to its present we witness today. What could have been, what could still be, and what have we lost?
REMOFILOE NOMANDLA MAYISELA
Born in 1994 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Lives in Johannesburg, South Africa
Lip Service, 2022
Lip Service emanates from exploring the notion behind the infamous phrase “The way to man’s heart is through his stomach”. A saying still so prevalent in a world where women are supposedly liberated.
Throughout the years, women have been assigned to spaces designated to them by a cultural system that promotes patriarchy. These spaces are often confined to a home and the most prominent space we are assigned to occupy is the kitchen.
Women continue to function as commodity fetish within well-established consumer culture, an experience not limited by nationality and geography. Comparing women to food is a very popular rhetorical device, and putting women on the same platform as food makes them look equal. Easy to get and enjoy.
The traditional outfit I wear is a blend of western and local South African household attire, propagating the female body as both colonial and cultural proprietary.
In an institutional union like marriage, as a young modern-day *makoti, based on my experience, I began questioning the strong cultural patriarchal assigning of women to kitchens and their bodies for consumption.
*A commonly used cultural term in South Africa, referring to a bride or daughter-in-law
Kakenya’s Dream, 2022
Worldwide, 129 million girls are out of school and only 49 percent of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education with the gap widening at secondary school level. Many girls are told from a young age what their lives will look like and are not given the opportunity to dream, learn and achieve their full potential.
What happens when a supportive environment is created where girls are given the opportunity to dream and thrive?
For this project, I worked with the girls from Kakenya’s Dream, a nonprofit organization that leverages education to empower girls, end harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, and transform communities in rural Kenya. Their goal is to invest in girls from rural communities through educational, health, and leadership initiatives to create agents of change and to create a world where African women and girls are valued and respected as leaders and equal in every way.
MAHEFA DIMBINIAINA RANDRIANARIVELO
Sarotava, which means mask in malagasy, is a series of images based on one concept: portraits of random people without heads. We often judge people by the way they look, even unconsciously. That is the main reason those strangers don’t have heads. But I want to talk about a specific group of people: the Malagasy people.
Madagascar, the only country who keeps on being impoverished for the past sixty years without war. How do you expect the proletarian to think about the current political situation when he lives on less than 1 dollar a day?
That’s what this series is about, it’s about how Malagasy people live. Here, you feel like you are in the middle-ages, yet, you have access to all the technology of the contemporary world. Your Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is all upside down.
All these people in this series share that story. It doesn’t matter if they’re catholic, muslim, straight, gay, they are the product of the history of this land. You don’t need to know them personally to know each and one of them are trying their hardest, hence the absence of heads. And the future of this country relies on these people.
Born in 1993 in Bulavu, DR Congo. Lives in Goma, DR Congo
Double identité, 2019
By a game of looks, double identity aims to highlight the dual identity of Goma women. External ideas popularised by the press in particular, often show women victimised. On the other hand the images show more intimately how the women would like to be represented: As proud, beautiful women, strong and full of fight against social injustices. Starting from the urban reality of Goma and the everyday women of the Kivu province in North DR Congo, Pamela Tulizo staged their dual identity with the help of actors, mannequins, and dancers. This torn identity is anchored in more than 20 years of political instability in North Kivu, rooted in conflicts related to the high concentration of minerals buried in its soil and the fertility of its lands. Pamela Tulizo deplores the one-sided reporting by international press, NGOs, researchers, and artists. Tulizo claims that the constant negative reporting has an even more negative influence on the people, especially in Goma, resulting in a vicious circle and hindering the region from a positive development.
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