Every child’s life is important and require to be loved irrespective of social, economic and cultural background.
This is the feeling of SLUM-2-SCHOOL AFRICA.
This year, UNABASHED AFRICA & SOCIALLY AFRICA partners with them to have the Children’s Day ‘PHOTOGRAPH A CHILD’ Project at Adekunle Anglican Primary School, Makoko-Yaba, Lagos.
Over 20 documentary photographers had the obligation to photograph a given child in his/her home. Francisca was assigned to me to photograph. Francisca is 14year old, from Republic of Benin, born in Nigeria. She is in Primary Six.
Francisca and I set out to her home at the waterfront.
Last year’s children’s day, I was at Makoko waterfront to photograph and celebrate Children’s Day with the kids there. I can still remember how one hoodlum almost broke a bottle on my head because I was photographing a group of kids playing at the waterfront. Today, I have prepared myself for any confrontation. From recent trainings on documentary photography, I have taken some tips that will be handy.
We walked for about Five minutes from the school to where we would take a Canoe to her home. I have not entered Makoko from that side before, so I got to see the true Makoko that the foreign and local media do hype. It is no news that Makoko is the most photographed community in Nigeria. I kept my camera down in order not to attract attention.
Francisca and I were the only passengers transported in a canoe by a young man who was meandering between water alleys for 15 minutes. The guy paddled the canoe manually. The ride was One Hundred Naira for both of us. I got to her home (a timber house on water), I greeted a man Francisca introduced as her grandfather and she told him my mission. Francisca’s father and mother were out to work. We had the shoot in her grandfather’s tailoring room. Her grandfather is a tailor.
Francisca became my model for about 30 minutes. We took a couple of shots in her school uniform and in a beautiful yellow top on black pencil skirt. I made her put on available white powder she had to enhance her face outlook (we had no make-up artrist. lol…) She loved her pictures. In my interaction with her, Francisca said she wants to become a Nurse. I would have loved to post her images but we are not permitted to post the kids’ images online. I am attaching a black and white silhouette of her.
We wrapped up the shoot and set to go back to the school for her to participate in the other fun activities going on such as Mural Painting, Dance competition and Cooking. We couldn’t get a commercial canoe operator for about Ten minutes. Francisca decided to call on another kid who is a neighbour to loan her his canoe.
Francisca paddled the canoe herself to the dock (She is the one behind me in the canoe in the attached image.)
We got back to the school and I printed two pictures she selected, put them in a photo folder provided by the organisers and handed them to her.
I wrote a message in the folder which reads:
I wish you a GREAT future full of happiness. I pray to see you become a Nurse as your Heart desires.
Happy Children’s Day!
Kayode Gideon Balogun
PS: I wish to photograph Francisca next year Children’s day if God enables me.