Masters students demonstrate human rights and democracy through photography
In the spirit of mutual exchange aimed at strengthening the links between the regional human rights master’s programmes, and following the positive experience of the EMA programme in this area, the African Human Rights Master’s Degree introduced an amateur photography competition on human rights and democratisation in 2009.
Students of the LLM/MPhil Programme take part in this competition, whose aim it is to promote the ideals of human rights and democratisation through still pictures. Only currently enrolled students of the LLM/MPhil programme take part in this competition and only photographs taken during the 2014 LLM/MPhil field trip may be submitted. This year, twenty six students participated in field trips in six southern African countries, namely: South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The 2014 first prize winner of the photography competition was Mr Adebayo Okeowo (Nigeria) with ‘My Brother is at School’.
Village in Ezulwini, Swaziland
Her name is Madla and I found her herding her father’s cows into the pen. Fascinated by the sight, I ran after her to the homestead where she brimmed with a smile as she struck a pose for my photo. She told me: “Someday I hope to be a teacher”. She may however never realise this dream because under traditional Swazi culture, education for the girl child is a luxury. While the boy is given the opportunity to be educated, the girl is asked to assume ‘her role’ in the home to raise a family.
The 2014 second prize winner of the photography competition was Ms Sally Hurt (South Africa) with ‘Taking Food Security Seriously.’
In a country with rising food prices, and decreasing farm production levels (often because farms are switching to more lucrative cash crops such as tobacco), people in urban areas have to find creative ways to ensure access to staple foods. This includes participating in urban agriculture projects. The Zimbabwean state is party to international and regional instruments, which have provisions guaranteeing the right to food security. The Zimbabwean Constitution also makes provision for food security. However, this sign seems to suggest that local government does not take these commitments seriously.
The 2014 third prize winner of the photography competition was Ms Lucyann Wambui Thuo (Kenya) with ‘Africa, the land of milk and honey, but for who?’.
Free State, South Africa
This photo appeals to me because it shows the contrasts in socio-economic status of different South Africans. Whereas some people are being invited to get expensive cars and upgrade their lives, there are those who cannot easily tap into the wealth that this country has. For this man, owning a car is a very distant dream. His dream today, is for someone to put just enough money in his cup so that he can buy bread.