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2020 Winners

Courtesy of Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Ilvy Njiokiktjien is an independent photographer and multimedia journalist based in the Netherlands, represented by VII Photo Agency and is a Canon Ambassador.

She has worked in many parts of the world, with a focus on Africa. As a documentary photographer, she covers current affairs and contemporary social issues. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Der Spiegel, NRC Handelsblad, Telegraph Magazine and Stern, among others, and was exhibited at Visa pour l'Image in 2012.

Accolades include a Canon AFJ Award, two awards at World Press Photo and first prize in POYi's Issue Reporting Multimedia Story.

Professional: Winning Entry: The Born Free Stories

The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the democracy of South Africa. In 1994 South Africa held its first inclusive elections. These brought an end to decades of white minority rule. The segregation system of apartheid ended, but the aftermath of the system endures twenty-five years later.As the nation’s first black president, Nelson Mandela focused on reconciliation. The children born in the years around apartheids' ending are now young adults: the born-free generation for whom racial segregation is a thing of the past. It falls to these young South Africans to make the dream of a rainbow nation come true.

The project takes a look into how free the born-frees really are and how the history of their country influences their daily lives. It also shows how modern day racism affects them.

The born free stories are about social change, freedom, humanity, (in)equality and diversity.

In this long term project you find born free youth from all walks of the born free generation: rich, poor, black, white, Indian, coloured, city, rural, of different faiths and social and cultural groups.

Corruption, crime and poverty keep many of the born-frees captive. They struggle with unemployment and inequality.

But there has also been real progress: many born-frees live successful lives and are pursuing careers that wouldn't have been open to them during the old racist regime.

Anchor 1

COVID-19 Reflections...

Where Shall We Go Now?

Utrecht, The Netherlands

(The city where I was born, and grew up in this area - and still live here - but I am never here)

“My home has never been my sanctuary. The place is amazing, but I am never here. For the past 10 years I have been living in this beautiful old house, it was build in 1905. I love my home, but for the past 13 years I have been mainly on the road for work. I love working, I love photographing, I love being a photojournalist. Maybe I love it more than being at home? Maybe I am just addicted to the rush of this job, addicted to telling stories, addicted to getting stuff published. Sometimes I am not sure, but I do know that it is easier for me to travel all year round, than to spend a few hours sitting on my couch and reading a book. 

The Netherlands is not in lockdown, but schools, bars, restaurants and most public spaces are closed. We are advised to stay at home. I am not seeing friends or family, we decided to stay away from each other, to be safe. As countries around us are on lockdown, Belgium, Italy, France and Spain, I feel we should be on lock down too. During most days I go out to shoot, for Dutch newspapers, and for The New York Times. To be honest, I am happy to be able to go to work, most people in my country are working from home. 

But besides shooting, I have also found a new love: My home. Being inside, just standing still in the middle of the living room and looking around, at the books which I never look at, at my old Polaroid camera, which I last used about 7 years ago, spending time with my partner Thomas (and reinventing our life with us now being home so much), checking the status of my countless plants, cleaning up a bit, being still. Taking time to feel the wooden floor underneath my feet. It is a scary and weird time to be in this world now. But I finally somehow learn how to be safe in my own house, to not feel like I need to catch the next plane to go on assignment. I feel like I am starting to learn what ‘home’ feels like, it feels grounded and calm, even though the storm is raging outside my door.”

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