This time we are young - PHmuseum

This time we are young

Esther Ruth Mbabazi

2017 - Ongoing

Uganda; South Sudan; South Africa; Belgium; Germany

Uganda: In 2017, Uganda had the world's youngest age with an average Ugandan aged 15. Now, the country has one of the world's youngest populations, with 78 percent of Ugandans under the age of 30.

South Sudan: What is life like growing up in South Sudan, a country that has been in conflict since it's Independence in 2011 and for decades before. I wanted to explore and see how the young people stay sane amidst all the insecurities and conflicts that have affected their lives directly for so long.

South Africa: What does it mean to be a queer youth in South Africa today? In a place where you have legal rights to be who you are, but at the same time, where many people in the communities are homophobic and not as open minded.

Belgium & Germany: Documenting the daily lives and experiences of young Africans in Europe. Through an intimate lens, we are invited into the lives of young people that moved from their home countries in Africa for different reasons and at different times of their lives.

Every other person I know is young. Yet in many ways the continent remains stubbornly inhospitable to our rising generation. This project is a way of both collaborating with my peers, and exploring my own reality of growing up in Africa - our hopes, our challenges, our future. After all, we will be the ones to define the next chapter of this continent's story.

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  • Latif Abdullah, 18, relaxes at his home in Mbale, eastern Uganda, on April 8, 2017. The self made street fashion designer, dancer and videographer juggles work to make ends meet.

  • A portrait of a woman hawking bananas at the Old Taxi Park in downtown Kampala, Uganda on September 22, 2017. Uganda has one of the world's youngest populations, with 78 percent of Ugandans under the age of 30.

  • Students from the VIP Academy for Aviation & Technology march on their graduation day in Juba, South Sudan. The students graduated in courses like Air ticketing, Flight reservations, Flight check in, Graphic design, among others. Growing up amidst conflict hasn't stopped young people from having their eyes set on the future.

  • Ramses aka Wess Joker is a 21-year-old upcoming Hip-hop artiste in Juba, South Sudan. A student in the Geology and Mining department at Juba University, Ramses hopes to be a star through rapping. He hopes that South Sudanese youths get to collaborate in rebuilding their country.

  • Anold Mulaisho, 26, a gay man from Zambia had to flee his country, after he was outed and the police was coming for him, leaving behind a good job and family. In Zambia, homosexuality is punishable by 14 years in prison. Now in South Africa, he continues to fight and seek asylum, which he was denied and currently lives on 3 months legal documents. He can not work and faces xenophobia in different forms in his daily life.

  • Pelo Boipelo, 18, and her partner Buhle Bontle, 19 enjoy quality time in Johannesburg, South Africa. Pelo identifies as pansexual and Buhle as queer. “I am privileged to be femme presenting, or, say, I don’t make people uncomfortable - but I make it a point to express my queerness.” “When I am with my partner, we get stared at a lot but because they are often confused for a guy, we haven’t faced any violence. I do not feel unsafe because of my sexuality, but in general being a woman, it is unsafe for us many times.” Pelo says.

  • Ange-Marie Ishyaka, 25 was born in Rwanda. She lost her parents during the genocide in 1994 and moved to Belgium with her aunt. She was raised up by a Belgian family and has fond memories of growing up with her cousins. She went back to Rwanda for the first time in 2017 and as an adult, it was a lot adjusting and confusion because “In Rwanda, to them I was a white girl, here in Belgium, I am black girl.

  • Nangah Kay Ako, 23, takes the train into the city center in Mannheim, Germany. “Learning the German language has made life a lot better and easier to navigate life here.” She moved to Germany in 2015 to pursue her education. “I wanted a good education system to study medicine, I chose Germany because here, university is mostly free. This is very helpful. I otherwise wouldn’t afford it.”