A photography assignment for the Leeuwarder Courant (European Newspaper of the Year 2014) for an article about the Millennium Development Goals.
Rural Life in the City Age is a visceral and visual photographic essay about the suffering of people in the rural areas of Namibia. It tells the stories of those who lose their lands and ways of life due to the urbanisation throughout the country. Hunting for survival and living in the wild is no longer permitted. As a result, many tribes migrate to the urban areas, with dreams for a better future. But with no education, working experience and money, most find themselves ending up in one of the many city-sized slums located on the outskirts of Namibia's urbanised world.
One of the important goals in 2010 from the Millennium Development Goals stated that every child should be able to attend school and have access to education by 2015.

On the way to Eiseb and Gam, some of the more rural areas of Namibia. And in this case, literary the end of the road. After this, a 4x4 becomes a necessity.  
Left: A boy from the San in front of his family's hut. Right: A Herero girl in front of her home.
Even though urbanisation has reached even the furthest and roughest rural areas of the country -often due the involvement of the church- education has not yet reached these parts of the land.

One of the last remaining lion hunters, no longer allowed to hunt for food.
Some Herero children are preparing dinner. Taking care of livestock has become a way of life for the Herero tribes over the last decades or so, adjusting to the new ways of Namibia. The San tribe however, are desperately trying to hold on to their traditional ways of life and are no longer respected in the country, even though they are the oldest tribe in the world.

Near Gam, a Herero's family house -not much more than a shack- burned down during an accident. With no equipment and means to build something a new home here, they must wait for supplies to arrive that the church brings in every few months.

A boy at a local shelter in the slums of Epako (outskirts of the city Gobabis) is making dinner. His parents sent him away to live on the streets after arriving in the city. They could no longer afford to raise him. 
Inside one of the pre-schools of Epako.
Some children posing while waiting for their lesson to start.
Left: Dust devils wreck large parts of the slums apart and are very common and can be dangerous. A man got decapitated during the one in this image.
Right: A family posing in front of their shack in the slums of Epako.
Water is running scares in the rural areas and is often contaminated.
Many people who end up in the slums in one of the larger cities, don't all come from Namibia, but from surrounding countries such as Botswana as well. This image was taken in the Okavango Delta near Maun. Many people have to leave behind their traditional ways of life -not always willingly- but are always doing so in hope for a better future, especially for their children. In reality, these greener pastures are often nowhere to be found.
Above: Digital version of the 'Leeuwarder Courant' Newspaper's special edition about the Millennium Development Goals that contained my photography.

More Work

Back to Top