__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

13 kids + 4 cameras = Project Einstein South Africa What is it like to grow up in a shelter in the capital of South Africa? If you were born after Apartheid, how would you look back on your country’s history? What are the most important parts of your culture? Where do you find peace? If people could tell you one message to convey happiness, what would that be? Project Einstein South Africa is the work of thirteen young people from Pretoria who used new media technology to tell stories about their lives. Splitting into four groups, the participants chose themes to explore and photograph, deciding on Peace, Culture, History, and Happy People. Through this act of reflection and engagement, the Project Einstein youth have curated a unique visual experience for a global audience. From their marginalized past to their dreams for the future , explore the world of these extraordinary young story tellers as they shape their country for tomorrow.

Digital Democracy (Dd) works with local partners to put information into the hands of people who need it most – those neglected, disenfranchised or abused. Dd emphasizes education, communication and participation to empower citizens to build and shape their own communities. Digital Democracy is a non-profit organization based in New York city that works around the world to empower marginalized communities. Working directly with grassroots organizations and local technology groups, we develop information and communication tools to help communities build their capacity and raise their profiles. Emphasizing the need for new media literacy, we prepare communities with the tools they need to be informed and engaged citizens in the 21st century. www.digital-democracy.org

Project Einstein South Africa


1


Rights reserved under Creative Commons Attribution-NoncommercialShare Alike 3.0 United States License 2010 by Digital Democracy.

For information visit www.digital-democracy.org or www.projecteinsein.org

W KCD

!"#$%&'()%*#+%,-

Special thanks to Sophia Welz, Heidemarie Meyer, Jozua Loots, Adam Welz, Bettina Andrag, Katrin Verclas, Colin Sindle, Cara O’Connor, Michael McTernan, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Ambassador John McDonald and Sean McDonald, to individual donors, our supporters, our advisory board and our partners. The Arca Foundation provided a travel grant.

Text written by Ellen Knuti Graphic Design by Smitha Alampur

2


the teams

.

01

girlfriends

In Cu

introduction

/

culture

..

cheez boys

Ph Pe

photographers

peace

23

fine team super boys

Hp

happy people

34

cool girls

Hy history

3

the trainers

56

a day in the life


Introduction

4


Pretoria, South Africa— “Long time ago, South Africa wasn’t having peace,” explained Thabiso, 13. “Many people were fighting, black and white were fighting for peace. And they couldn’t get peace. Now, we are free to have peace, us youngsters. Because our grandmothers, our mothers were fighting for us to be free.” For South Africans born after 1994, the country is a very different place than the one where their parents grew up. That year marked the end of Apartheid, the set of rules and policies that for decades segregated South Africans based on the color of their skin. Under Apartheid, people were unable to move freely around the country. Black South Africans were the most poorly treated. Although they represented a majority of the population—about 80 percent of 50 million people—they were effectively stripped of their citizenship, including the right to vote.

In the new South Africa, everything is different, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems. Even as the political system changed for the better, a deadly and incurable disease—HIV/AIDS—spread rapidly through the country, orphaning large numbers of youth. Currently, 20 percent of the adult population is estimated to have HIV/AIDS, and more than 30 percent of South Africa’s population is fourteen years of age or younger. South African youth face their own problems. Although there is no longer forced segregation of schools, some young people have to travel far, or leave their families, in order to get a quality education. Young people who come as migrant workers and refugees from neighboring countries like Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Congo face discrimination and attacks. And many youth are orphaned or homeless—childcare workers estimate as many as 12,000 youth live on the streets in South Africa.

“Apartheid was the discrimination against black by the white people,” said Lindo, 14. “There were toilets for black and for whites. There were shops that black people were not allowed to enter. Black people were supposed to carry a passbook everywhere they went. If they caught you without a passbook, they would arrest you.”

In October 2008 we traveled to South Africa. On our trip, we wondered, what is it like for South African youth growing up today, fourteen years after the end of Apartheid? How much do they think about history versus present realities? What are their thoughts on the challenges the country is facing? What are their hopes and dreams for the future?

On April 27, 1994, everything changed. For the first time, South Africans of all races voted in democratic elections, electing former political prisoner and President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela. The laws enforcing segregation were dismantled, and in 1996 a new constitution was signed, guaranteeing broad political, social and cultural rights. These included the rights to speech and assembly, housing, health care and education.

We partnered with Khulisa to work with a group of thirteen young people who live in two shelters in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital. Over the course of five days they learned how to take pictures with digital cameras and edit the images on computers. We interviewed them about their lives, and traveled with them— on a photo shoot around the city, and with the boys to school, a twenty-minute train ride away from their shelter. Collected in this book are their stories and photographs.

5

- Mark and Emily, co-directors of Digital Democracy


13 kids + 4 cameras =

6


Project Einstein South Africa

7


8


Project Einstein : South Africa The Photographers The thirteen young people behind this project live in two shelters in Pretoria. They live apart from their families for various reasons—some had been separated from their families and were living on the streets of Pretoria. Some have lost both parents. Others still get to visit their families from time to time, but were placed in the shelters so they could get a better education. The girls stay at Tshwane Home of Hope, and the boys at Child Soul Care. The adults at the two shelters were extremely welcoming, and graciously offered up space for the training. Although many of the young people had been through hardships, in our interviews they preferred to focus on the positive—what they are hopeful about, their friends at the shelter, and what makes them happy. “Here [at Child Soul Care] they help people,” said Alfred, 14. “Some come because they aren’t getting a proper education, some are neglected from their rights. Some come because they don’t have parents. They come here to get their education. And be someone they choose.” Project Einstein presents participants with the challenge of capturing aspects of their lives empowers them by extending the dialogue to include a global audience. In South Africa, our participants split into four groups and chose themes to explore and photograph, deciding on Peace, Culture, History, and Happy People. From Pretoria to the printed page in your hands, these are their images and words.

9


Cu culture 10


South Africa’s democratic constitution encourages a diversity of culture by ensuring the rights of individuals to observe and practice their own rites and rituals. In a country where being an outlier was once considered a grave offense, South Africa now celebrates its diversity. For example, there are 11 official languages – Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. The members of Team Cool Girls recognized this unique about-face and decided to explore culture as a theme in their images. “Our theme is culture,” Zozuku, age, explained, “We chose culture because it’s our religion in South Africa. Culture is where you come from. It’s the background of your ancestors, and your ancestors’ grannie.” The girls felt lucky to capture both an Afrikaans wedding as well as a traditional Ndebelé wedding, where if a girl is getting married, she walks in the street with a blanket wrapped around her. “The women, they are who they are, and they are proud of who they are,” said NosiPhiwe.

11


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Zozuko I am twelve years old and in grade five. My talent is athletics. I can run very fast, and my favorite subject in school is math. The color I choose (to describe my life) is blue. Light blue. Cause I get what I want, but not every time. I go to school. I get food. I get shelter to sleep. I’m educated.

"

Culture is where you come from, it’s the background of your ancestors, and your ancestor’s grannie, and all those stuff. 12

!


13


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Nancy I am thirteen years old. I come from Congo. I speak Swahili, Lingala, and a little bit ofFrench, and Afrikaans. I like going out. Sometimes I like going to school and sometimes not. My dream is to make my family happy, and to live in peace.

"

We have culture to remember our grandparents, remember how they used to celebrate their culture. 14

!


15


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Nosiphiwe I’m fourteen years old. I like to swim if it’s hot out. I want to make a big house for my family, and I want to be a fashion designer in America. These are my dreams.

"

I like culture because it teaches us a lot of things, and teaches us to be proud. 16

!


17


Cu Pe Hp Hy

18


19


Cu Pe Hp Hy

20


21


Pe peace

22


“We chose peace because, long time ago, South Africa wasn’t having peace. Our grandmothers, our mothers were fighting,” Thabiso, 13, said. “But us, we are free now.” The transition from Apartheid to democratic rule brought with it years of violence in South Africa. Many people died in fighting and acts of sabotage and even today, levels of crime remain among the highest in the world. The AIDS epidemic continues to ravage the country, effecting every age group. While the country has succeeded in achieving a level of stability, the concept of “peace” remains relatively novel to most South Africans – even to Team Cheez Boys, all of whom were born in the mid-1990s. Team Cheez Boys led the group to the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria’s huge granite coliseum devoted to South Africa’s Dutch colonizers – a standing tribute to “white rule”. Instead of seeing it as a challenge to their autonomy, Team Cheez Boys approached the monument as a commemoration of South Africa’s history come and gone. As Thabiso said, “Now South Africa is a good place. You can even come and see.”

23


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Thabiso% I’m thirteen years old. When I grow up I want to be a doctor and a soccer player. My dream is to heal people who are sick. My dad was a doctor before he passed away. He was healing people.

"

Peace, I think is when people are greeting each other when they pass each other. They don’t fight while they see each other. 24


25


Cu Pe Hp Hy

George I am fourteen years old. I want to be a doctor when I grow up because as children now maybe we can come with good ideas with healing the HIV. Maybe we can come with good ideas for these diseases.

"

We chose peace because long, long, time ago South Africa didn’t have peace and now we wanted to show that, now is the new South Africa 26

!


27


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Lucky When I grow up I want to be a mechanical engineer, becasue my dad was a mechanical engineer. In our school holidays, weekends, I like to play a lot. Sometimes I sleep inside the house, sometimes I go out and see people and talk to them and play with my friends.

"

I think peace is freedom, because a lot of people are like walking free and working free, they don’t have some people hitting them and yeah, they do have freedom. 28

!


29


Cu Pe Hp Hy

30


31


Cu Pe Hp Hy

32


33


Hp happy people 34


“Our theme was about happy people” Itumeleng, 14, said, “‘Cause we know that happy people, they’re all over, so you won’t struggle to find them.” As a group, Team Girlfriends went up to strangers and asked if they could interview them. They wanted to know what made them happy and asked permission to take their photograph. Initially the girls were timid, posing questions coyly and not making direct eye contact, but they quickly gained confidence with each positive interaction they had. Loren, 11, explained, “I think why we chose happy people, cause everybody, almost everybody around the world is happy. But some, they’re not happy. Yeah, some, we ask them, ‘Do you wanna take picture?’ they said ‘no.’” Team Girlfriends, however, had little difficulty finding happy people to pose for them. “My favorite photo was from when we were at Church Square, we found other lady and a guy laughing,” Itumeleng explained. “Then we asked them to take a picture, they agreed and they laughed in their picture and their photo was nice. Beautiful.”

35


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Boitumelo I’m in grade eight. When I grow up I want to be in modeling. I’m happy because I’m always with my friends at school. We are making jokes, and we are laughing and talking to each other.

"

We as girlfriends, we chose happy people because happy people are everywhere.

!

36


37


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Itumeleng I came [to South Africa] when I was three months old. My dream is to finish school, and to do some studies at university so I can get a job. I want to maybe be a manager of airplanes to get more money so I can buy what I want and what is good for my mother.

"

Our theme was about happy people. Cause we know that happy people, they’re all over, so you won’t struggle to find them.

38

!


39


Cu Pe Hp Hy

7-89+ I was born in Congo. Life there at Congo, there’s always wars happening so we came here because maybe there won’t be wars. We can just live a happy life. I want to be a teacher, but some people they tell me, being a teacher I won’t get a lot of money. So I don’t care, it’s not about the money, as long as I’m letting those children achieve their dream, there’s not problem.

"

I’m happy to be alive cause some people are dying. And I’m happy to have a mother, and brothers and sisters, and I’m happy when I see flowers. Flowers make me shine! 40

!


41


Cu Pe Hp Hy

42


43


Cu Pe Hp Hy

44


45


Hy history 46


“For 46 years, we had an Apartheid government - a system of racial segregation,” the team explains. “Whites and blacks were separated.” Even with such a tumultuous past, Fine Team Super Boys chose to embrace the challenge and convey the story of how they’re now part of a new South Africa. “The theme that we chose is history, because we wanted to know more about the past, what happened last time people were fighting for freedom,” Lindokuhle, 14, said. They explored monuments of segregationists, climbed on statues for those who upheld Apartheid, but also spoke about the stories of the struggle for freedom and the impact that their great leaders have on who they are today. “In the town, they (now) allow black people to walk free everywhere. Long time ago, they would not allow you to stand near the statues, or in the beautiful parks,” said Lindohukle. But the struggle continues. “Now there is freedom in South Africa, but there’s another fight against xenophobia. People are killing the refugees, and it’s not good.”

47


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Lindokuhle I play rugby. My hobby is to run. I’m fourteen years old. I want to be a soldier, to protect my country. I also want to be a scientist, to learn more about the planets. At school they told us the planets are eight now. There are no longer nine because Pluto is no longer a planet.

"

Now there’s freedom in South Africa, long time there was no freedom. Now we have freedom, but there’s another fight called xenophobia, against the refugees. People are killing the refugees and it is not good. 48


49


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Alfred Me, I’m fourteen years old. When I grow up, I want to be a pilot. I’m here because I want to learn. I want to know more.

"

History to me, it means, you know, the things that, they have passed. It was not good. You know, the people, they were not behaving so well...The things, they were difficult. 50

!


51


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Happy I came from Pumalanga. I’m fourteen years old, and I love to draw. When I grow up I want to be a doctor to help people who are sick.

"

My hero is Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela, who was fighting for us for freedom. And Mandela, he live in the jail for twenty-seven years, for freedom so now we can live in peace. 52

!


53


Cu Pe Hp Hy

Doctor I come from Petersburg. I came (to Pretoria) because I want to get in school because the schools of Petersburg teach Lesotho, and I wanted to learn English.

"

The thing that I took that makes me proud was the tree, the African tree that we saw at Freedom Park 54

!


55


Cu Pe Hp Hy

56


57


Hy Cu Pe Hp Getting ready At the end of the photo workshop, project leaders Mark and Emily were invited by the administrator of Child Soul Care to experience “a day in the life� of their residents. By the time Mark and Emily arrived at the shelter at 6:00am, the boys had been awake for half

58


an hour and were well into their daily chores. The chores are assigned but rotate regularly – from washing floors and sweeping to laundering clothes and preparing a quick breakfast of “pap,” the traditional South African porridge.

59


Cu Pe Hp Hy

60


61


Cu Pe Hp Hy

62


63


Cu Pe Hp Hy

64


65


Cu Pe Hp Hy

The commute

Every day the boys take the train from Child Soul Care to the Bud-Mbelle Primary School in Tshwane South District. The train ride takes about 45

66


minutes, and from there it’s a ten or 15 minute walk to school. The train is known for being gritty – instances of petty theft and violence are not uncommon – so the boys stick together in small groups.

67


Cu Pe Hp Hy

68


69


Cu Pe Hp Hy

70


71


Cu Pe Hp Hy

School The boys arrive at school at about 8:30am, where they play around with their friends until school begins at 9:00. Double Dutch and tag were popular games, and the open-air courtyard buzzed with Monday morning excitement. Once school begins, the kids filter into a handful of classrooms and settle down at their desks. The classes are coed, and all students wear matching

72


uniforms. Throughout the day, they switch classes occasionally and in the afternoon the whole school gathers for an assembly where they hear announcements and sing the national anthem. They repeat the commute back to Child Soul Care at 4:00pm and are in bed for lights-out at 9:00pm.

73


Cu Pe Hp Hy

74


75


Cu Pe Hp Hy

76


77


Mark Belinsky is Co-Director of Digital Democracy. Mark brings a background in computer science, sociology and film & media studies. Prior to this he was a documentary filmmaker, producing and directing media projects from France, Israel, the Caucasus, South and Southeast Asia to Southern Africa and the US. In Armenia, he founded Bem, a youth action center supporting art and technology for civic engagement, where he remains involved as a board member.

Emily Jacobi is Co-Director of Digital Democracy. Emily began her career as a youth journalist working to highlight young people’s voices in professional media. At the age of 13, she reported from Havana, Cuba on the lives of young Cubans during the Troubled Period in 1996. Since then she has worked on media and research projects in Latin America, West and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as En Los Campos, a multi-media exhibit highlighting the lives of teenage migrant farm workers in the United States. Prior to founding Digital Democracy she worked at Internews Network, AllAfrica.com, the Center for PeaceBuilding International and as the YPress Assistant Bureau Director.

78


Project Einstein Project Einstein began in January of 2008 with the vision of eleven Burmese youth living as refugees in Bangladesh. Using digital cameras to document their lives and share their stories, Digital Democracy’s Mark Belinsky and Emily Jacobi worked with them as they learned to use the cameras, shoot images, and select their best on computer screens. In teams of two and three, they chose and documented universal themes of: Happy, Unhappy, Peace and the Disabled. At the end of their time together, Mark and Emily asked the youth what they wanted to call the project. After a moment of thought, one boy raised his hand and shouted out “Project Einstein!” and the others quickly agreed. Puzzled, Mark and Emily asked why. Their response: “Because Einstein was a refugee but could still do great things.” The end product of the inaugural Project Einstein included audio slideshows for the web and a stunning 80-page book of their photographs, produced with partnering support from What Kids Can Do (WKCD). Both provide a powerful testament and an unprecedented look into to the lives of these refugee youth; in fact, the photos taken by the youth of Project Einstein have served as one of Dd’s most valuable resources in educating Americans about refugee issues and the humanitarian crisis in Burma.

79

Project Einstein’s initial platform and curriculum sought to connect resettled refugees and their peers in the U.S. with refugees overseas in a digital penpal exchange – a 21st century edition of the old model that now allows users, especially children and young adults, to share images of their lives with their peers. The curriculum has since evolved and adapted from its first run in Bangladesh, but its focus remains on connecting communities – ones that are otherwise cut off from free communication and information – with home-country immigrant and refugee communities in the United States. Project Einstein continues to facilitate the assimilation into new societies of young people for whom life in those societies would otherwise remain a mystery; maintain a connection between refugees and their homelands; and provide an open channel of communication between closed communities and the outside world.


W KCD

!"#$%&'()%*#+%,Based in Providence, Rhode Island, What Kids Can Do (WKCD) is a national nonprofit founded in January 2001 by an educator and journalist with more than 50 years’ combined experience supporting adolescent learning in and out of school. Using the internet, print, and broadcast media, WKCD presses before the broadest audience possible a dual message: the power of what young people can accomplish when given the opportunities and support they need, and what kids can contribute when we take their voices and ideas seriously. The youth who concern WKCD most are those marginalized by poverty, race, and language. Starting in 2006, WKCD began working with youth worldwide and has since become an international leader in bringing the promise of young people to the attention of the adults whose encouragement can make all the difference.

Khulisa is a non-profit organization operating nationwide in South Africa, whose mission is to foster “a safer, healthier and more prosperous South Africa, where all people, especially youth, have access to the information, skills and opportunities they need to contribute to equitable local and national development.” Their programs range from establishing and supporting community-based clubs that reflect the spirit of Ubuntu (community solidarity) to long-term crime prevention initiatives. http://www.khulisaservices.co.za/

http://www.whatkidscando.org

80


13 kids + 4 cameras = Project Einstein South Africa What is it like to grow up in a shelter in the capital of South Africa? If you were born after Apartheid, how would you look back on your country’s history? What are the most important parts of your culture? Where do you find peace? If people could tell you one message to convey happiness, what would that be? Project Einstein South Africa is the work of thirteen young people from Pretoria who used new media technology to tell stories about their lives. Splitting into four groups, the participants chose themes to explore and photograph, deciding on Peace, Culture, History, and Happy People. Through this act of reflection and engagement, the Project Einstein youth have curated a unique visual experience for a global audience. From their marginalized past to their dreams for the future , explore the world of these extraordinary young story tellers as they shape their country for tomorrow.

Digital Democracy (Dd) works with local partners to put information into the hands of people who need it most – those neglected, disenfranchised or abused. Dd emphasizes education, communication and participation to empower citizens to build and shape their own communities. Digital Democracy is a non-profit organization based in New York city that works around the world to empower marginalized communities. Working directly with grassroots organizations and local technology groups, we develop information and communication tools to help communities build their capacity and raise their profiles. Emphasizing the need for new media literacy, we prepare communities with the tools they need to be informed and engaged citizens in the 21st century. www.digital-democracy.org

Project Einstein South Africa

Profile for Digital Democracy

Project Einstein South Africa  

Project Einstein South Africa tells the story of thirteen young people who live in two shelters in Pretoria, South Africa. Over the course o...

Project Einstein South Africa  

Project Einstein South Africa tells the story of thirteen young people who live in two shelters in Pretoria, South Africa. Over the course o...

Advertisement