20th Annual Day of the African Child Thursday 16 June, 2011

Today is the 20th annual Day of the African child*. This day, I reflected on two girls’ photos; one from Senegal, one from South Africa. I will always surrender to beauty. That’s why this image of Indi, a child photographer Delphine Diallo met during a visit to Senegal, has intrigued me for so long. Indi is […]

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Today is the 20th annual Day of the African child*. This day, I reflected on two girls’ photos; one from Senegal, one from South Africa.

Indi by Delphine Diallo

I will always surrender to beauty. That’s why this image of Indi, a child photographer Delphine Diallo met during a visit to Senegal, has intrigued me for so long. Indi is like a little Mona Lisa; her eyes follow me delicately. The picture is simple, but her presence is both strong and innocent as well as a bit mysterious. I can’t take my eyes off that face.

Below is Snesh amidst violent protest against lack of service delivery in Riemvasmaak, South Africa. Like Indi, her image captured my attention. But, with Indi, I forgot there was no background imagery in her photo. With Snesh, I can’t imagine her outside of it. I see Snesh’s innocence in contrast to the violent flames behind her. Snesh’s context–not her presence–creates her photo’s story.

Snesh by Kevin Boswell, Glimpse

Sam Kessie, founder of the TKA Foundation works with AKOSIA and Street Academy to empower homeless and abandoned youth in Accra, Ghana, teaching them creative and technical film-making skills so that they can tell their own stories. During this summer program they come to the foreground of their own lives and reconnect with the beauty and innocence that all children carry inside of them.

What I want for my child, and children everywhere, is to grow up in an environment that reflects the evidence of their potential; not the legacies of racism, neo-colonialism and international political corruption they didn’t ask to inherit. As unjust and deep-seated as these problems are, I know that the hope and imaginations of blacks across the world, and those inspired by the continent, are also endless.

We believe in betting on talented people with knowledge and dedication, which is why we support TKA Foundation–and you can too. To learn more about how you can get involved with this year’s summer program and/or contribute to the TKA Foundation please e-mail sam.kessie@gmail.com or tweet @TKAFoundation.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the program.

* In 1976, thousands of black school children took to the streets of Soweto, South Africa. In a march more than half a mile long, they protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down by security forces. In the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand were injured. To honor the memory of those killed and the courage of all those who marched, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on 16 June every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union).


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