“When you say we are free, it is something that I have to wake up and feel every day. So where is the freedom if I do not feel it?”
Krisanne Johnson, already a Getty Images’ grant recipient in 2009, has been awarded a grant for her work titled ‘South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Youth.’ Twenty years after the beginning of a multiracial democracy in South Africa, Krisanne’s project follows the lives of South African youth, documenting the intimacies of daily life.
Twenty years after the beginning of multiracial democracy in South Africa, the ‘Born Frees’—the first generation of the so-called rainbow nation—have come of age. While they have inherited a free country from parents who have fought long and hard against apartheid, theirs is a story of growing up in a democracy that is complex and young. As Lisa Nene, a housing rights activist and AIDS orphan questioned, “When you say we are free, it is something that I have to wake up and feel every day. So where is the freedom if I do not feel it?”
Her question has many layers. She has been forced to grow up fast and finds herself fighting against the corruption of the current government as her parents had fought for freedom a generation ago.
Krisanne’s work on South African youth has moved from different sub-cultures to their daily, intimate lives. They grapple with enormous issues—access to education, gang violence, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and income inequality, to name a few.
More than half of the nation’s 18-25 year olds are unemployed. She has seen young activists sing apartheid-era protest songs—ironically directed to the new democratic government.
“I’ve watched gangs hesitantly cross streets during a moment of peace, guns still loaded, knowing their life has little escape, complaining they are stuck in the middle of the post-apartheid struggle. I’ve photographed young men in a home for unemployed youth looking to the future but still feeling the draw of the streets and theft to survive.”Find out more about the Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography