Lamu is a collection of islands found in the far north along Kenya’s coast. For those who are able to find it, Lamu is considered to be a piece of paradise. Enclosed by the sea and due to its geographical location the island has long been saved from the influences of the modern Western world. Life continued at a slow pace.
Approximately 80% of Lamu communities depend directly or indirectly on the Indian Ocean for their livelihoods. Artisanal fishing, mangrove cutting, local tourism and transport provide a source of income to a vast majority of the population.
Once the most important trade centre in East Africa, Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best preserved example of Swahili settlement in East Africa. The town is characterized by narrow streets and magnificent stone buildings with impressive curved doors, influenced by unique fusion of Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian and European building styles. Social life flows out from the houses into the thoroughfares, fostering that sense of community which has been so singularly lost in many towns around the world.
"Since 2009, the Government of Kenya (GOK) has expressed plans to undertake a multipurpose transport and communication corridor known as the ‘Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) Transport Corridor. Besides a port, LAPSSET will build a railway, a road network, a regional international airport and resorts. The port will host bulk, container and general cargo docks to supply the many landlocked countries dotting East Africa. The keystone of the project is a pipeline and refinery to turn the region’s crude oil finds into cash. The idea, according to its planners, is to open Africa’s most inaccessible regions to capital investment, creating peace and prosperity in its wake.
Most obviously, the changes will be felt in idyllic Lamu, a region projected to swell from 100,000 to 1.25 million people over the next 20 years. Considering that the residents of Lamu are living a very traditional life and are highly dependent on fishing and local tourism as the major livelihood strategies, this project will undoubtedly have irreversible effects on the local communities and environs.
If completed, LAPSSET will mean big changes to local life and economics.
Each year, a group of freedom-deprived men in the prison of Merksplas are responsible for choosing the Behind The Scenes Jury Award at MOOOV Filmfestival. After every screening, prisoners from different cultural and social backgrounds, who speak different languages and are of different ages discuss the film shown.
An interactive documentary about bridging the digital divide and changing the e-waste cycle. Save the planet, one remote control at a time.
Visual Concept: Griet Hendrickx · Content: Barbara Toorens & Griet Hendrickx · Photography & Video: Griet Hendrickx · Design & Development: Mr.Henry · Introduction Video: Joost Janssen · Video Narration: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Swahili, the People of the Coast is a heartfelt portrait of the unique Swahili culture, an East-African coast culture that stretches out from Mogadishu to Central-Mozambique. For centuries, the power of the Indian Ocean has brought forth a flourishing trade resulting in an unusual mix of Bantu, Arabian, Persian, Indian and European elements. Nowadays, the fame of the large city-states has vanished with freighters repressing the traditional dhows in front of the coastline. However the Swahili culture has been and remains unique.
The African continent is almost invariably portrayed as a source of poverty and misery. A personal project made out of believe that Africa is much more than these few minutes people get to see in the news.
I was fortunate to spend some time with families on the coast. The story is about Swahili men and women, about people proud of their past and present. Most of the portraits I made can be considered as friends, who let me in their houses, in their lives. Who trusted me and treated me as family. I’ve never felt more welcome then here, on the East coast of Africa, by these people with their ever welcoming ‘Karibu’.
With its vast landscapes strewn with fruit, vineyards and the breathtaking Cape Dutch architecture, South Africa’s West Cape represents one of the most beautiful stretches of nature in the world. More than 120,000 labourers work and live in the wine-, fruit- and touristic industry in the rich and fertile West-Cape. Worldwide millions of people daily enjoy the product of their labour. The wine- and fruit peasants belong to the richest of the country though their workers hardly reap the fruits of their labour nowadays. Coloured workers populate the extensive vines of mostly white peasants. Although several parties attempt to improve their economic and social position, those workers currently still constitute the most marginalized groups of the post-apartheid society. A history of slavery, apartheid, exploitation and suppression made them vulnerable and dependent.
“If you come here, you’ll see all of the beauty. And it is beautiful, but you don’t see what’s behind it”, says Elna, representative for the youth programme of Women on Farms, an organisation fighting for women’s rights working on the land. In and surrounding the municipality of Stellenbosch (east of Cape Town) many labourers still live and work in degrading circumstances. They work, often without an official employment contract, long shifts in bad circumstances. They live together in overpopulated, shabby cottages, surrounded by misery and violence.
This project was realised with support of the Pascal Decroos Fund
Belgium has approximately 165,000 people with an intellectual disability, which translates to 1 in 60 Belgians. To encourage this segment of the population to take part in sports and thereby promote social inclusion, Special Olympics Belgium was founded in 1979.
In 2014 the European Summer Games took place in Antwerp. I had the honor to follow one of the atletes the weeks before and during the event. Berny has been an Special Olympics athlete for more than 10 years but the European Summer Games 2014 were his first international games.
Practicing sports with SO has given him the strength to become better and stand up for others. He loves football but chose to challenge himself and participate as a cycler this year. His mother is his biggest fan.
Passing on knowledge is the best way to cure people.
Medics without Vacation comprises about 600 doctors and nurses. During their holidays they spend two to three weeks treating patients in hospitals in Africa. As full partners, the Belgian and African medical staff work together passing on knowledge to each other.
I followed Medics Without Vacation teams in various hospitals and countries. These images are just an impression of my work for them
How do you protect or defend a place that became your second home when its unique fauna and flora and traditional culture is being threatened by heartless profit-driven companies and world-leading countries. I began this quest to see with my own eyes and try to understand what the effects of a Multi-Billion Port being built on the Lamu Archipelago would mean. How nature and marine life would be affected or even worse, totally destroyed. The ugly face of development. However when I met Odo, patrolling the beach in search of turtles, I knew I could not but tell his story. I realized I had to show the island, how beautiful it is, how precious and how important to preserve and protect that beauty. Rather than focusing on the negative, I decided to take this small story of a beautiful place, of a distinct man, beautiful in his presence and devotion to show the bigger picture of an island on the verge of radical change.
"I never thought I would take care of sea turtles. I didn’t know anything about turtles or marine conservation. I even used to eat them. But now, if I loose one baby turtle, for me it’s a big loss." Odo (beach patroller for Lamcot)