“Born Free” at the Enschede Photo Festival

From: October 10, 2021 @ 9:00 CET
To: January 9, 2022 @ 17:00 CET
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Wilmarie Deetlefs, 24, together with her boyfriend, Zakithi Buthelezi, 27, on a night out in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov. 1, 2018. They are both part of South Africa's 'born free generation,' youngsters who were born around the ending of the racial segregation system, apartheid. ©Ilvy Njiokiktjien/VII

Ilvy Njiokiktjien’s “Born Free” series is on view at the fifth edition of the Enschede Photo Festival through January 9, 2022. The festival’s theme this year is “Colors of Life,” an ode to color and optimism.

Twenty-seven years ago, South Africa held its first democratic elections. These ended decades of a white minority government. A new constitution gave all South African’s equal rights. As the first black president, Nelson Mandela focused on reconciliation and hope for the future. It would be up to the young generation to fulfill its dream of a rainbow nation.

What does it mean to be equal after so many years of inequality? With that question in mind, for ten years, Ilvy Njiokiktjien followed the first generation of young people who grew up in ‘equality’ after the abolition of the apartheid system. “Born Free” provides a unique picture of this generation’s dreams, disappointments, and achievements, characterized by a disarming openness and flexibility.