Student Project Aims to Show Africa Through the Eyes of Africans

MS-GH student Judith Mwobobia organizes a photo contest to show a more complete image of her home continent.

Published June 06, 2022 under Around DGHI

Written by Alicia Banks

Judith Mwobobia

Judith Mwobobia is a Master of Science in Global Health student, originally from Kenya.

A Duke Global Health Institute student is seeking photographs this summer showing how Africa is seen by those who know it best: Africans.

Called “Africa, Through the Eyes of Africans,” the contest seeks original images from across the continent’s 54 nations highlighting its varied cultures, nature, beauty and more. The contest will award a cash prize to the winning photographs.

Judith Mwobobia, a rising 2nd-year Master of Science in Global Health student and native of Kenya, created the contest with support from the Kenan Institute for Ethics' Purpose Project. Mwobobia is also a Race and The Professions Fellow with the Kenan Institute. 

“Hopefully, the project will go a long way towards shedding some of the prejudices unknowingly and inadvertently planted due to the images bombarded to us in the media,” she says. “I feel the African narrative has been told by everybody but Africans. This is the little space I want to carve out for Africans to show Africa from their perspective.”

Any person with African roots can submit a photo, but Mwobobia hopes especially to see entries from international students at Duke and other universities. Photos can be submitted before Aug. 8, 2022, on Instagram using the hashtag #AfricaThroughOurEyes or through an online form, which also has more details bout contest rules. 

Reserve in Kenya

Mwobobia came to DGHI after working as a health journalist in Nairobi, Kenya. This summer she is doing field research in Tanzania for her thesis on cancer-related stigma in Sub-Saharan Africa. She says she had the idea for the photo contest after hearing peers’ misconceptions about life in Africa, such as one student’s surprise that she was able to get such nice clothes in Kenya.

“If you associate something with negativity, you will likely respond negatively to it,” she says. “How global health students view Africa will shape the way they go forth into the field and conduct research. This project will hopefully chip away at some of the prejudices about Africa.”

But Mwobobia also hopes the contest gives African students a venue to share their pride in their homeland. “[With this contest], Africans get to own and tell the story. The Africa I know is rich in beauty, freedom personified, and it is in the resilience and warmth of the people.

“Hopefully, in some way, it gives future international students some pride in where they come from,” she says. “I am looking forward to seeing a great representation of the Africa I know and love.”