Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope

From: April 23, 2024 @ 19:00 CET
To: May 8, 2024
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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

Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope
Ilvy Njiokiktjien
Production & Curation: Ziyah Gafić

Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope by Ilvy Njiokiktjien opens at Galerija Java, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on April 23, 2024.

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary since Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, initiating a new chapter for the country. This spring, elections are being held in South Africa, and for the first time in 30 years, polls indicate that the ANC (African National Congress) may not be the largest party.

Since 2007, VII Photo contributing photographer Ilvy Njiokiktjien has chronicled South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation. She became intrigued by these young adults and has followed the stories of more than 30 so-called ‘Born Frees’, portraying their daily lives in her distinctive and intimate style. The work provides insight into a generation trying to find their way in a country where apartheid no longer exists but a long history of exclusion and discrimination has not simply disappeared. “Equality is there on paper, but a majority of young people believe the legacy of centuries of inequality is still there.”

Born Free — Mandela’s Generation of Hope is a documentary, interactive website, book, and traveling exhibition.

About Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Ilvy Njiokiktjien (1984) is a photojournalist and filmmaker who has been creating and sharing stories for nearly two decades. She is based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and she is a contributing photographer to VII Photo. She is committed to documenting the social and political issues that shape our world. Her work is characterized by a sensitive eye and a compassionate and personal relationship with her subjects. Her background, growing up in the Netherlands as a child of Dutch and Chinese Indonesian parents, played a role in this.

In addition to long-term projects like Born Free, Njiokiktjien teaches masterclasses, lectures, and extended lesson programs to young professionals, and she hosts podcasts. Clients include National Geographic NL, ICP (New York), The VII Foundation, and Canon. Njiokiktjien studied at the School of Journalism in Utrecht. Part of this period she spent abroad at Rhodes University in Makhanda, South Africa.

Find out more

This year, The VII Foundation is partnering with the National Museum of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Memory Module to present three exhibitions in Sarajevo: See Through the Noise, Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope, and MONUMENTAL: The Dome of the Rock by Ziyah Gafić and Notre-Dame de Paris by Tomas van Houtryve.