A new initiative calls for photographers in Windhoek to apply for a partnership position with Omeho Project to diversify the imagery of Africa in the western world.
The project seeks to amplify the African voice on technological innovation and startup entrepreneurship. It starts with a pilot phase in Windhoek, kicking off this month, before continuing to Lusaka, Zambia, and Cape Town, South Africa.
Omeho is the Otjiherero word for eyes and captures the aim of the project, which is to open people’s eyes to startup entrepreneurship in southern Africa. In this vein, the project organisers believe the way Africa is portrayed in western countries contributes to a lack of understanding about the urban, contemporary and middle-class on the rise on the continent.
This, they state, can fuel racism and a lack of interest towards tourism or trade.
“As a Finn, I grew up seeing images of Africa as depicting poverty, famine, and war,” said Auri Evokari, the project coordinator for Omeho Project.
“This continent is much more diverse than that imagery, and it is a shame people back home only see one side of the coin. We want to share the side of Africa rarely seen or heard about in the West.”
Diversifying the imagery has the chance to change the way people view Africa and startup entrepreneurship. Local startup founders stand to gain from increased awareness of their journey. Technology-enabled startup entrepreneurship is still an emerging trend in many countries in southern Africa – and at times, the founders feel misunderstood and not supported by their communities due to their work being novel.
As Evokari ventures to collect data about the trend for her PhD research, she wishes to drive the Omeho Project and to partner with a local photographer to capture what she sees.
“Startup founders are disruptive, innovative and they work with different tools, methods and mindset than traditional entrepreneurs. We are looking for someone to assist in capturing the essence of the startup founder through photography – and by doing so, raise awareness,” Evokari explained.
The Omeho Project comprises a digital photo bank and a social media campaign. The project is seeking funding and sponsors to organise a traveling exhibition and to print a coffee table book.
The design work is supported by a Namibian design agency, Turipamwe Design.
“The stories of innovative founders in Windhoek deserve to reach a wider audience. We are proud to partner with Omeho Project and to support the communications and exhibition design,” says Tanya Stroh, CEO of Turipamwe.