For Immediate Release

24 May 2017

Serene Scene in Strife-Torn Nigeria Wins Africans Rising Photo Contest

How do you create an image that celebrates identity and beauty that rises above the devastation and violent conflict all around?

That’s the challenge that young Nigerian photographer Kureng Dapel set for himself when he decided to enter a pan-African photo competition. And he nailed it. Beautifully.

Dapel’s entry, entitled “Underwater”, has been named winner of the inaugural 2017 Africans Rising Photo Contest, organized by emerging pan-African movement, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity. The photograph depicts a man underwater in a pool at a tourist game park in Bauchi state in northeastern Nigeria – an area devastated by the Islamist Boko Haram terror insurgency.

Dapel’s winning photo captures serenity underwater in a beautiful land, above, overcome by chaos. The subject’s head just below the surface symbolizing the belief that “one day northeast Nigeria will rise above the ruins caused by the insurgency,” said Dapel.

Judges chose the winning picture from more than 560 others, submitted by photographers from 22 African countries, the UK, France and the U.S. The largest number of entries came from Nigeria, accounting for almost half of all submissions, followed by Kenya.

Under the theme, “Africans Rising: I am African”, the contest challenged entrants to submit images that celebrate culture, identity, history or a few of the future with dignity. Africans Rising, which officially launches on 25 May 2017, staged the competition as part of its mission to challenge stereotypical imagery of Africa and Africans and to encourage African photographers to present new, positive ways of portraying their world.

Said Dapel: “Winning this contest really means a lot to me and sure confirms that good things can and do come out of Africa – Nigeria, specifically, whose image has been highly misinterpreted.”

The first prize is a one-month photography residency in either South Africa or Tanzania, working on a photographic project related to the mission of Africans Rising.

Second and third place went to Awoyejo Arafat Oluwatosin from Nigeria and Maghanga Isaiah of Kenya, respectively. Both their entries were stylized portraits of African women.

Said award-winning photographer and Africans Rising Photo Contest director, Joel Nsadha: “Many of us believe that Africa is on the move and now, more than ever, is the perfect time change the existing narrative of Africa, and Africans through portrayals of ourselves.”

Africans Rising is an emerging, de-centralized, citizen-owned movement that seeks to build Africa-wide solidarity for grassroots, national, regional and continental struggles to achieve a future that Africans want and deserve.

The movement officially launches on 25 May 2017 – Africa Liberation Day – with launch activities in more than 40 countries. The Africans Rising Photo Contest forms part of launch activities.

Said Africans Rising coordinator Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan: “Authentic images of Africans, particularly young people, and their lives are rare in global media these days. This contest aims to encourage authentic ways of seeing and understanding Africans today.”


For more information, contact:

Grant Clark

+27 63 567 9719


Joel Isabibi Nsadha







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