Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

São Tomé portrait

Monday, July 29th, 2013
São Tomé and Principe - São Tomé - A boy with a sand covered back on the Marginal 12 Julho, Sao Tome

São Tomé and Principe – São Tomé – A boy with a sand covered back on the Marginal 12 Julho,

 

 

 

Another image from the recent Conde Nast Traveller assignment to Sao Tome and Principe that didn’t make the final edit.

 

Principe Portrait

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

 

Here’s another image from the recent Conde Nast Traveller assignment to Sao Tome and Principe that didn’t make the final edit.

 

Sao Tome and Principe - San Antonio - A portrait of Nalito, 18, a schoolboy

Sao Tome and Principe – San Antonio – A portrait of Nalito, 18, a schoolboy

Music on a rainy afternoon

Friday, July 19th, 2013

 

Here’s another image from a recent Conde Nast Traveller story in Sao Tome and Principe. It shows singer Guilherme de Caravlho playing at home in Sao Tome. Outside the heavens had just opened and a rain storm was passing overhead. Behind the curtain his daughter danced to the music.

I’ve written before about music from former Portuguese colonies: the melancholy, the saudade. Here was a perfect moment to illustrate it. I hope that I did his song justice…

 

 

Sao Tome and Principe - Sao Tome - Singer Guilherme de Caravalho plays guitar at home

Sao Tome and Principe – Sao Tome – Singer Guilherme de Caravalho plays guitar at home

You dancin’?

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

 

Here’s the first in an occasional series of unpublished images from a recent Conde Nast Traveller piece on Sao Tome and Principe.

I’d just finished a portrait down the road when I heard some music and drifted into a bar (as you do). I found a sound system and a few people swaying to the music between the tables. This elegant woman was dancing the afternoon away.

A thousand stories.

 

 

Sao Tome and Principe - Airport - Paula, a local woman dances at the White House bar near the airport, Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe – Airport – Paula, a local woman dances at the White House bar

Tearsheet – Brand Eins (Neuland)

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Here’s a recent tearsheet from the German Magazine Brand Eins Neuland. They commissioned me to interview three former alumni of Jacobs University for a special edition on the city of Bremen. I travelled to Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) and Bangladesh (Dhaka) to write the story and made a brief city reportage as well as the portraits.

 

 

162_171_NLBremen-3

162_171_NLBremen-4

162_171_NLBremen-5

 

 

At work…

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

 

Recently, researching a new story in Rwanda, I remembered that my translator back in 2005 was a very talented chap called John Tugirimana and that he’d painted a cartoon of me at work…

 

 

IOS1

 

The sands and the sacred texts

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

It’s deeply saddening to discover that in Mali, militants seem to have systematically destroyed much of West Africa’s Islamic heritage by ransacking and torching the libraries that hold priceless Korans and Hadiths.

Some years ago I made a story in nearby Mauritania about the wind destroying the desert cities of Chinguetti and Oudane, both significant repositories of similar ancient manuscripts. I wrote:

“Once upon a time, the Wind grew jealous of the prosperous cities and resolved to bury them beneath the sands so that the only traces were old men and dusty books. So it was that the wind crashed against the purple stone mass of the Adrar, the mountain range that crosses Mauritania in West Africa. It blew until the rocks were carved into sculptures of fearful complexity. It blew until the dunes advanced and Chinguetti and Ouadane, two once mighty cities of scholars and traders of the Sahara, began to choke under the ocean of sand. Today they are almost gone…”

 

Mauritania - Chinguetti - A librarian reads a traditional Koran outside the Chinguetti Mosque

Mauritania – Chinguetti – A librarian reads an ancient Koran outside the Chinguetti Mosque

 

Mauritania - Chinguetti -

Mauritania – Chinguetti – Ancient books, Korans and lahs inside a traditional library

 

Mauritania - Chinguetti - A man hold a wooden lah covered in Koranic inscriptions

Mauritania – Chinguetti – A man hold a wooden lah covered in Koranic inscriptions

 

Mauritania - Chinguetti - A pile of priceless manuscripts in a desert library

Mauritania – Chinguetti – A pile of priceless manuscripts in a desert library

 

Mauritania - Chinguetti - A priceless Koran

Mauritania – Chinguetti – A priceless Koran

 

 

Walking in Addis

Monday, November 26th, 2012

 

A couple of hours walking the streets of Addis Ababa.

Looking for colour.

Making images for the sheer novelty of it.

The light of an African afternoon.

 

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A man removes his jacket in the heat of the day

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A woman looks at jobs advertised on a wall

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – Men read rented newspapers on the street for a few coins

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A woman waits on a street corner

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A street boy

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – Men pray at St George’s Church

The Classic Cafe… in Addis…

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

 

I’m in Addis Ababa for the first time in eight years on a writing job but stumbled across a beautiful place seemingly frozen in time. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know of my obsession with the Delhi Coffee House and all those sadly missed palaces of melancholy, the Classic London Caff.

It’s always a pleasure to stumble on a place like this – officially known as the Ras Mokonnen Pastry shop in Piazza – especially when I can’t find any mention of it online. The elderly owner, Mr Lubo tells me he bought it from a Greek man ‘about thirty five years ago’. He’d had it for at least ten years before that and he wasn’t the first owner…

Perfect macchiato, perfect baklava. A moment in time that I wasn’t expecting to find.

Many thanks to my excellent translator, Lily, (Simegnish Yekoye) not least for putting up with my excitement…

You can find it in Piazza – there’s no sign…

 

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A waiter in the Ras Makonnen pasty and coffee shop

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A period table and chair in the Ras Makonnen pasty and coffee shop

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – The barista in the Ras Makonnen pastry and coffee shop

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – The Ras Makonnen pastry and coffee shop

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – Empty coffee cups and plates in the Ras Makonnen pastry and coffee shop

 

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa – A waitress in the Ras Makonnen pastry and coffee shop

Burundi – slipping back

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I read with great regret a small piece from the Economist that tells of a ‘souring mood’ in the tiny African country, Burundi. It seems that opposition forces have again taken to the hills after around three hundred of their number have been killed since July and dozens arrested. Much of this goes back to the 2010 election which, despite the International community declaring reasonably fair was greeted by anger from the forces opposing President Nkurunziza. I worked several times in Burundi during the last twelve years – assignments ranged from looking at the so-called Regroupment camps where the Tutsi government corralled Hutu peasants ‘for their own safety’ in appalling conditions (as part of a global series called The Politics of Hunger) to looking at the steps to reconciliation with the Bashingantahe councils. I also photographed and wrote about the extraordinary Marguerite Barankitse, The Angel of Burundi who adopted children of all tribes amidst the terrible violence of the Civil War. I fear that her heroism and devotion will be called on again.

On Monday, The Forces for National Liberation (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa, whom Burundian authorities believe is hiding along with fellow combatants in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, called on Nkurunziza to step down. Reuters are reporting this as a declaration of war. I sincerely hope that they are wrong.

 

 

Burundi – Bujambura – President Buyoya speaks at May Day rally

 

Burundi – Buhonga – A Hutu child carries water in a tin up a steep hill in Buhonga Regroupment camp

 

Burundi – Buhonga – A malnourished Hutu peasant woman receives treatment at a medical centre. She is part of the ethnic Hutu population that has been internally exiled from their land by the Tutsi military in order to cut aid to Hutu rebels.

 

Burundi – Buhonga – A peasant cultivates land in Buhonga Regroupment Camp watched by a soldier. He is part of the ethnic Hutu population that has been internally exiled from their land by the Tutsi military in order to cut aid to Hutu rebels.

 

Burundi – Buhonga – Hutu peasant family cultivates a small patch of land within their regroupment camp

 

Burundi – Ruyigi – A counsel of the Bashingantahe (roughly meaning ‘wisemen’) meet to settle a dispute in their commune. The Bashingantahe, a traditional court system, have been successfully resolving disputes concerning the civil war and issues of forgiveness and acceptance.