Neil Thomas, African Spirit, from PRIVATE 36 – AFRIKA[T]his work is a reflection of my admiration for these people and of my continued desire to work and travel in Africa, where I dodged elephants with the Maasai in Kenya and I placated Tanzanian thieves with old T-shirts and underwear – as I had no money to give them.
I have structured the photos so that the viewer can see that many rural Africans from around the continent spend a great deal of their time peacefully going about their daily chores of searching out and collecting food and water, trading and preparing the food. This can be seen in images such as the one of a girl on the beach in Tanzania with the days fish catch, or the one of a Maasai shepherd boy looking after the livestock and carrying home the seasons crop, provisions or water.
I also want to show that although life in these places is extremely difficult, especially in post-war conditions, it does indeed go on, and people get by with what they have. I show Sudanese refugees being repatriated in trucks, grinding flour in their new homes, two boys getting clean in a nearby river pool, children even adapting their play by turning a tank into a playground and boys smoking, hanging out and rapping together in a market.