Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope – Long-Read

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Last weekend, Ilvy Njiokiktjien received the Zilveren Camera Storytelling Award for her project “Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope.”

The award was given for her short documentary, long-form documentary, book, publications, and interactive long read

About the long-read:

The year 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the democracy of South Africa. In 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president and his nation a free country. The segregation system of apartheid ended, but the aftermath of the system still endures 25 years later.

Mandela had high hopes for the youth. The children born in the years right after apartheid ended are now young adults: the born-free generation for whom racial segregation is a thing of the past. They were to be the face of a new, free, and successful South Africa.

Ilvy Njiokiktjien’s photography project, ranging over 12 years, 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, which is a link to other countries struggling with race questions.

This interactive long-read tells the story of South Africa after apartheid, through the eyes of different born frees, in photos, videos, and text. Besides the background of South Africa, the interactive long-read also focuses on the personal story of Nonjabulo, a homeless girl from Durban. Throughout the interactive long-read you see her daily experience.

Twelve years ago, Ilvy started working on this personal project about the born frees. She saw the country change and her interest in the born frees kept growing.

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. The born free stories are about social change, freedom, politics, humanity, poverty, (in)equality, hope, and diversity.