Photo exhibition: Helden op Stokken

Helden op stokken; Photo: Anna GeversDisabled people in Africa rarely have a voice, they are hidden away by family and are unseen by the outside world. We have all seen disabled beggars in Africa but how do the others live? What are their ideas and dreams? Answers are to be found in the book Helden op Stokken, which offers twelve portraits of disabled men and women in Africa. The beer trader has problems with corrupt customs officials, the athlete wants to explode in her wheelchair race, a deaf gay wants to be a role model and the blind lawyer is committing herself to human rights. And then there is the child who is excited about going to school but is turned away on the first day. The book’s authors and photographers dive into the daily lives of the disabled in Africa: old and young, men and women, careerists and people for whom it is a daily struggle just to survive. All of the characters are fighting their own battles, be they about finding food that day or fighting for better legislation for people with disabilities, sometimes with humour but always with determination.

book cover "Helden op stokken"This photo exhibition is based on the heroes of the book, and the contributors include well-known Africanists such as Petterik Wiggers (Addis Abeba: NRC Handelsblad, Trouw), Sven Torfinn (Nairobi: De Volkskrant), Ellen Elmendorp (Johannesburg: Vrij Nederland) and Bernice Siewe (Amsterdam: Het Parool, Trouw).

The photos are hanging in the corridors and the library of the African Studies Centre in the Pieter de la Court building, Wassenaarseweg 52 in Leiden. The exhibition is open weekdays from 9:00 – 17:00 from 26 June 2008 until 3 September 2008. Feel free to come and take a look.

The opening is on 26 June at 16.30 with an introduction by the Africa journalist Sybilla Claus and an explanation by linguist Dr Victoria Nyst about sign language in Ghana and Mali. If requested in advance, an interpreter for the deaf can be arranged.

Date, time and location

26 June 2008 to 03 September 2008