Three-years since COVID-19 shutdown, youth reflect on their experiences through new photo book and exhibit
‘COVID-19 & Beyond: Through a Youth Lens’ photo book and exhibit features the powerful personal stories of young people coping with the pandemic years and striving for a better future.
JOHANNESBURG, 22 March 2023 – Nearly 3-years since South Africa and the world shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, a new photo book and exhibit launched today presents the reflections of young people on the pandemic years and their role in building a safer, fairer and better future.
‘COVID-19 & Beyond: Through a Youth Lens’ photo book and exhibit are the work of 10 young creatives from across South Africa who came together under the guidance of EPA Images photographer, Kim Ludbrook, to express and visualize their powerful stories.
“This engaging piece of work developed and produced by young people presents the story of the COVID-19 pandemic years through their experiences and at a pivotal moment in their young lives,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative. “Providing the space for children and youth to reflect on how they felt and coped is also part of the healing process to help move forward,” added Muhigana.
Young photographer, Sabelo Ndaba, states in the book that, “This experience has left behind many wounds that we are still collectively healing from. Let the scars that remain be a testament to our resilience and fortitude.”
The UNICEF South Africa and Maverick Citizen initiative was conceived to enable youth to document, through photography and storytelling, this tragic yet historical experience. The impact of COVID-19 on children and young people has often been articulated and spoken about through statistics and by adults but not through the lens of youth themselves.
“For children and young people, COVID-19 was scary, confusing and disruptive. COVID-19 & Beyond: Through a Youth Lens was an important vehicle to tell and preserve the stories of a time in the world when everything was upside down and for a while very few knew how to respond. Their images and stories are a moment in time, they tell a story of courage, hope and fear but ultimately they tell the story of the triumph of the human spirit,” said Anso Thom, Managing Editor, Maverick Citizen.
“In helping the amazing youth in their photographic storytelling journey, I realised that their ability to share their experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic was aided and extenuated by their use of the camera and photography.
The images they captured came to them from soul space and truly represented what they lived through and, in doing so, also became a document of the history of South Africa,” said Kim Ludbrook, EPA Images photographer.
The ‘COVID-19 & Beyond: Through a Youth Lens’ photo book and exhibit were launched at FotoZA in Johannesburg today, with the exhibit running through to 29 March 2023.
The book and exhibit were made possible thanks to the generous support of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office towards the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out and routine immunization services in South Africa, as well as other partners.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.