2007 - 2019
(Last year I send in part of this project, but at the time it was not finished yet, the project was finalised end of 2019).
The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the democracy of South Africa. In 1994 South Africa held its first inclusive elections. These brought an end to decades of white minority rule. The segregation system of apartheid ended, but the aftermath of the system endures twenty-five years later.
As the nation’s first black president, Nelson Mandela focused on reconciliation and hope for the future. The children born in the years around apartheids' ending are now young adults: the born-free generation for whom racial segregation is a thing of the past. It falls to these young South Africans to make the dream of a rainbow nation come true.
Twelve years ago, in 2007, I started working on this personal project. I started photographing (and filming) and saw the country change. My interest in the born frees kept growing.
The project takes a look into how free the born-frees really are and how the history of their country influences their daily lives. It also shows how modern day racism affects them. The series portrays the born frees in their daily lives, and also shows details of a country trying to find its way.
The born free stories are about social change, freedom, humanity, (in)equality and diversity.
In this long term project you find born free youth from all walks of the born free generation: rich and poor, black, white, Indian and coloured, city and rural, of different faiths and social and cultural groups.
Corruption, crime and poverty are keeping many of the born-frees captive. They struggle—sometimes even more than their parents—with unemployment and inequality. Estimates of youth unemployment in 2019 range around 52 percent.
But there has also been real progress: many born-frees live successful lives and are pursuing careers that wouldn't have been open to them during the old racist regime.
With this project I want to show how the country, across every layer of society, is doing after more than twenty-five years of democracy.