Blog - Category Archives: Africa
Cape Town has many children who roam the streets to beg for food. Broken-down families and repeated abuse by their parents drive them out of their homes to search for a better life in the streets. Growing up in the streets, many children become early drug addicts and develop destructive behavioral patterns such as aggression. NGOs scramble to provide a level of care to such run-aways by providing food and shelter. Other efforts are directed at counseling those families at risk to prevent children abandoning their families. Such efforts are unlikely to stem the flow of street children unless some of the root causes of family breakdown, such as widespread alcoholism in the vast poverty-stricken townships like Kayelitsha, can be resolved.
The South Omo region is one of the few places left on this planet where tribes live in their little micro cosmos (almost) free from external influences from the outside world. Not that the Ethiopian government has not tried to change some of the tribes’ customs such as ritual whipping of women (Hamar) and cutting of the lower lip for lip plates (Mursi), but the region is remote enough that these attempt have been relatively unfruitful so far. The government has tried to establish a measure of authority over a region that until recently didn’t know Ethiopia existed, by setting up police stations. The police were politely asked to “get out” by groups of men with automatic weapons knocking at the police station. They took the hint and left.
Most tribes are semi nomadic or nomadic, lifestock providing the necessities of life. Such a lifestyle and dwindling resources make conflicts inevitable. Tribal and inter-tribal wars usually erupt over grazing and cattle disputes. These mini wars are fought with automatic weapons and many fatalities can occur. Living in an area bordering an enemy tribe can be very dangerous for the male fighting population.
What’s fascinating about this region is that each tribe is like a small nation with completely different customs, laws, looks and origin. The map below may shed some light on the different ethnic groups and their locations.
The high mortality rate of HIV positive people rips through the Ugandan society, leaving many children orphaned. Without the support of their immediate family, children are often left to fend for themselves. There are NGO initiatives underway to alleviate this problem. One such initiative arranges vocational training for orphans to help them learn a profession and eventually earn their own living. The hair salon in this essay trains two orphans supported by the NGO Uweso. This photo essay covers a normal working day from morning until evening for one of the trainees. Her name is Hilda and she is 16 years old.
Destitute refugees in Uganda are struggling to make a living by breaking stone in a quarry in Kireka near Kampala.
Check out the full slideshow in the portfolio section…