UNICEF and Maverick Citizen launch photo project documenting COVID-19 years through a youth lens

UNICEF South Africa and Maverick Citizen call for youth to share images that tell the story of COVID-19 through their lens.

08 July 2022

PRETORIA, 25 March 2021 – Two-years since South Africa entered its hard lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, a new photography project, ‘COVID through a youth lens’, will tell the specific story of living through the pandemic years as a young person. 

Children have so far largely been spared from the most severe health impacts of the virus, but it’s had a devastating broad-ranging impact on their lives. Children and young people have lost parents and family members, had their education and health services disrupted and suffered from horrific rates of violence at home and in their communities.

“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,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative.

“That’s why UNICEF, in partnership with Maverick Citizen, are embarking on this photo project to help document what children witnessed during these pandemic years,” added Muhigana.

With children and young people at its core throughout, ‘COVID through a youth lens’ will follow a series of activations:

  • Youth aged 15 to 24-years are encouraged to submit three images and three-line captions explaining why they chose that image and how it represents their ‘pandemic years’. The call for photos will remain open until 31 August 2022 (deadline extended).
  • A team consisting of a renowned photographer, UNICEF South Africa and Maverick Citizen will judge the photos received and select 10 winners.
  • The winners will be invited to attend a photo workshop led by the project photographer and will in-turn produce more images that reflect how children and young people are playing an active role in the recovery from the COVID-19.
  • An exhibit and photo book will be launched at an event in February 2023.

The photo exhibit and book will provide a powerful account of not only how children were affected but also how they are actively engaging in the recovery and in reimagining a safer, fairer, and better South Africa for every child – for everyone.

How to submit your photo entry

Children and young people aged 15 to 24-years can submit their photos (phone / camera / other digital device or photo of a printed image) to: saf-photosubmission@unicef.org  

Please share 3-photos with 3-line captions per photo explaining why you chose the images and how they represent your ‘pandemic years’.

Media contacts

Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486
Sudeshan Reddy
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 82 561 3970


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in over 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children everywhere.

Working with a range of partners, UNICEF has had a presence in South Africa since the end of apartheid and continues to work towards bettering the lives of all children in the country.

Follow UNICEF South Africa on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

About Maverick Citizen

Maverick Citizen is part of the Daily Maverick. It is a section of the Daily Maverick that focuses on civil society and social justice issues including among others education, health, the climate crisis, food justice and Covid-19. Maverick Citizen aims to shine a spotlight on the marginalised, uncover new voices, stimulate fresh thinking and debate and be a space for excellent social justice journalism. A journalism service that reveals and defends the truth and holds those in power accountable. We strive to meet the promise of our Constitution, one hard news story, one investigation, one informed opinion piece, one inspiring visual element and one special focus area at a time.