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Afrika - Eddy van Gestel - Boekenmarkt de Markies

Afrika - Eddy van Gestel

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It has been a privilege to travel and work in Africa over the past few decades. In all these years, however, I have also been an eyewitness to the changes the black continent has undergone. For this is a time of small and large ‘game changers’ that have not missed their effect here either. The clock may be ticking a bit slower in large parts of Africa, but the changes are unmistakable and perhaps irreversible. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that my grandchildren will see a different Africa than the one that exists today. Isolated ethnic groups are struggling to survive, customs dating back centuries are being watered down, large nature reserves are being sacrificed little by little for the benefit of a growing and sometimes downright voracious economy, and unspoiled views are becoming increasingly scarce. Of course, it is the African people’s right to want to improve their standard of living. But, unfortunately, that ambition goes hand in hand with the loss of so much beauty.

When I looked at some of my old archive footage last year and compared it to the situation today, I noticed how much of that authenticity had already disappeared. And so the idea grew to postpone my other photography projects for a while and set out again to capture the unsurpassed beauty of Africa’s nature, landscapes, people and culture. Now, while there is still time.

The exhibition and the new book ‘AFRIKA’ tell the story of a present that makes me yearn for better times that are rapidly disappearing. May I, therefore, take you, dear public, on this journey on the cusp of time, a time that is not yet past, to my Africa, mistress for life.