An assignment for the municipality of Smallingerland, the Netherlands and the municipality of Gobabis, Namibia. 
Portraits of Gobabis is a photographic essay about an ongoing twenty-year friendship between the municipalities of Smallingerland and Gobabis. In honour of the twenty-year friendship between the two cities and the development aid projects that they are working on together, these photographs were exhibited in the Town Hall of Drachten in the Netherlands. The response and feedback from the public and the municipalities was so positive, that the exhibition was extended up to two times. 
A book was also printed with photographs and biographies of all te people that play vital roles within the friendship between Gobabis and Drachten.
Children play along side a wall that surrounds a large part of the slums. It contains encouraging messages from locals and messages with cries for help.
A young girl is playing during a midday break at the pre-school 'Light for the Children'. The school is run by reverend Henk Olwage and is part of the collaboration between Smallingerland and Gobabis.
A girl is singing in theater class as her classmates await their turn. Both municipalities are stimulating art forms of all kinds in the slums, to have children and young adults gain more self esteem.
People listening and waiting for their turns to speak at the elderly council meeting at the Old Age Home, a collaborative project by the two municipalities for elderly care.
Another elderly council at the Epako Old Age Home.
The oldest man at the 'Epako Old Age Home', a twinning project between the two municipalities for elderly care. Here, the elders are listening and debating in a council meeting.
A young boy living in the slums visit at a water fountain at the edge of the slums of Gobabis.
One of the female cooks at 'Light for the Children' is waiting for class to end so she can feed the children with their lunches.
At the old age home in Epako, the inhabitants have started growing their own food, with help and training of the municipalities of Gobabis and Smallingerland.
Children are playing at the Old Age Home in Epako, the slums of Gobabis, Namibia.
Locals come together to watch a football match.

A young child is playing his own football game with a plastic bottle, as other spectators are concentrating on the match in the background. At the edge of the slums, recreation areas such as this football field have been built for the town and occasionally local and national matches are played here.

A local is posing for a photograph behind a fence while watching the football match.

An open theater is one of the things Smallingerland and Gobabis built, to encourage children and young adults to perform in plays directed by Dutch and Namibian directors. This would - among other things - help them regain their self confidence, something that is easily taken away by living in the slums. Unfortunately, the project was destroyed by vandals before they were able to even finish it.

Though officially no longer an issue, Apartheid can still be felt and seen in Gobabis, Namibia. The sand graves are from the poorer Africans while the graves that have stones are mainly for the white people.

Six Bigger-Than-Life sized photos (over 250 cm wide/8.2021 feet) I shot in Gobabis, Namibia were exhibited in the Town Hall, covering 32 large panels in total.
Above: Two Newspaper articles from 'The Leeuwarder Courant' and 'Friesch Dagblad' about the exhibition and two images from the book that was printed about the 20 years old twinning between Gobabis and Drachten.

More Work

Back to Top