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’.