“Inda zamo mu Africa!”
„Get away from Africa!”
These words were spoken in northern Namibia and are directed at an enemy . . .
. . . a monster, an evil spirit and for many it´s an escort of everyday life - someone, with whom one can speak . . .
. . . like a foreigner impining on a country from which it inevitably has to leave . . .
This monster has a name:
The Human Immunodeficency Virus.
Northern Namibia is home to the Ovambo tribe. It is also one of the most HIV / Aids affected regions in the world. Here, Aids is far from being the abnormal disease of unknow, scattered individuals. It has become an inescapable part of society. Almost every citizen is affected either directly or indirectly.
HIV has become an inclement matter of course yet simultaneously (and perhaphs for this reason) remains a taboo.
This photodocumentary deals with HIV / Aids in Namibia. Its main body evolved during my four month long stay in Onethindi northern Namibia.
After cautious efforts to engage with the community, I gradually won the trust of the people and gained access to the local hospital. Thus arose for me the very special occasion to interact, speak to and get to know individuals who were suffering from HIV / Aids. I obtained their consent to be portrayed photographically and through expressive writing.
From these encounters emerged . . .
. . . more than pictures which are „putatively socially engaged“ // „pitiful“ portrait photography of exotic people who suffer an exotic fate;
. . . images and texts as documental fragments, referring to far bigger human tragedies of which the origin lies beyond an initially personal stroke of fate, in layers of political and transcultural character.
Beyond the image lies the reality,
beyond the portraits stands the human,
and beyond all the words is wisdom.