Africa is a continent.
But Africa is also a well-defined place in my mind.
Africa is unique. Every time I have had the opportunity of going there I have come face to face with incredible tragedies but also with the unwavering hope of its people.
Ever since my first journey to South Africa in 1989, where I saw Walter Sisulu walk free in Soweto after years of imprisonment, I continue to be both deeply moved and deeply shocked by all the stories I have witnessed and heard.
Every time I step onto African soil I know I will experience something deep, something that inevitably leads to a search for the meaning of life, something that, for me at least, surfaces from deep within when I am in Africa.
The questions raised call for humbleness, since often they are without answers. We know that the truth often lies in the middle folds of things.
This project aims to raise questions and provoke thoughts which could, perhaps, lead to some answers and which in turn could correspond to some truths.
I have tried to conceive this project as a poem. Or perhaps it would better be described as a ballad.
The ballad with verses which challenge and play with each other.
In the space between two facing photographs there is a story. One of the thousand stories I witnessed in Africa, one of the thousand questions I asked myself, one of the thousand experiences I was fortunate to live.
The photographs represent the two extremes of the story that links them: the beginning and the end.
I couldn’t find a better form of expressive language to convey how Africa is an all-encompassing experience for any human being wishing to embrace it to its full.
A painful yet joyful ballad of my personal and ongoing relationship with this continent. This is why I have called it “This is Africa”.
I should probably have called it “This is my vision of Africa” but it didn’t sound the same. By no means does this mean it is the only view of Africa. I know it may seem inadequate and subjective. But so is everything in life, I guess.
So, This is Africa.