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Moth Building: Homeless in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
By Fred Lerneryd
06 Jan 2016

In the heart of Johannesburg, mere minutes away from the city's central train station, an enigmatic sign looms: "MOTH." Although hundreds and thousands of people pass it every single day, most have no awareness of what goes on inside.

It is In fact a rudimentary shelter for over 400 people. One that is cramped, uncomfortable, unsanitary and, supposedly, temporary. The residents moved in six years ago, thinking they wouldn't be staying long. They arrived after being evicted from their old apartment blocks, torn down to make room for a gleaming shopping mall.

The group was told they would be given a short-term place to live, something that would last for, at most, one year. Six years later, nothing has happened. The living conditions grow worse, the residents more desperate and yet outside, life goes on.

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Italian Navy Rescues Refugees at Sea
Misrata
By fabrizio villa
11 Sep 2015

Video shot on a GoPro camera by a freelance photographer accompanying the Italian Navy on a rescue mission where 60 Italian Navymen rescues 998 immigrants from boats in the Mediterranean Sea just 30 km off the coast of Libya.
The men, women and children rescued from the smugglers' boat were from Syria, Eritrea, Mali, Palestine and Afghanistan.

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Migrant Boats Captured by Libyan Coas...
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

The Libyan Coastguard captured four inflatable rubber boats carying over 400 migrants off the coast of Misrata on 3 May 2015. 

"They didn't rescue us, they caught us, they arrested us," said Suliman, an 18 year-old from Senegal. "For sure we would have made it to Europe because the boats were good, but the Libyans were wating for us at sea. They shot into the water to make us stop."

The migrants - mainly from sub-Saharan African countries, said they were told to remove their shoes and belts before being forced to board the heavily-armed tugboat from Misrata Port now frequently used by the Coastguard. They were taken back to Libya where they had all their possessions, including passports, money and jewellry, confiscated, 32 year-old Awal Yai from Senegal said. "I have nothing in the world now, only this dress I am wearing. They even took my earrings."

The men and women sat in groups before being put onto buses. They were not told where they were gping but a Libyan guard said that all the migrants were being transferred to Libya's already overcrowded migrant detention centres. 

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Captured migrants in Libya 01
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

Migrants reach out to catch bottles of water and cartons of juice thrown to them from the shore by the Libyan authorities. They are amongst 400 sub-Saharan Africans captured in four inflatable dinghies off the coast of Libya. "They treat us like animals here - you saw how they threw the food and water to us in the boat," said Abubaker, aged 17, from Gambia.

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Captured migrants in Libya 02
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa captured by the Libyan Coastguard reach out for bread being handed from the shore. They have not eaten since early morning when they set sail in four inflatable boats, each packed with 95 people, from the coast near Tripoli

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Captured migrants in Libya 03
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

Female migrants from Eritrea, brought ashore by the Libyan Coastguard which captured them at sea, hide their faces.

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Captured migrants in Libya 04
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa wait to be told to disembark from the Libyan Coastguard vessel which captured them in four inflatable dinghies. They have not yet been told that they will be transferred to already overcrowded migrant detention centres in Misrata and Tripoli.

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Captured migrants in Libya 05
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

Migrants crowd on the bow of a Coastguard vessel which captured them on four inflatable boats off the coast of Libya

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Captured migrants in Libya 06
Misrata, Libya
By tom westcott
03 May 2015

Captured by the Libyan coastguard, Awal Yai, age 32, from Somalia waits with other migrants at Misrata port to be transferred to one of Libya's overcrowded detention centres. She sold everything she had to make the journey from Somalia to Libya.

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Sudan: Surviving Despite the Conflict
Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

The Nuba Mountains rise from the semi-arid savannah of South Kordofan, one of the largest states of Sudan bordering what is now the Republic of South Sudan. The population is dominated by over 50 distinct ethnic groups of black African origin collectively known as the Nuba.  Settled small holder farmers, the Nuba have lived alongside a number of Arab pastoralist tribes relatively peacefully for generations. In addition to its remarkably rich and engaging culture, Nuba society is characterised by religious tolerance (there being about equal numbers of Muslims and Christians with many still respecting traditional ancestral beliefs), ethnic diversity and expectations of local accountability and good governance not commonly found elsewhere in the country. It is estimated that as many as three million Sudanese are Nuba, many living in the slums of cities in the north.
 
As with other Sudanese living on the peripheries (including the people of Darfur, Blue Nile, Abyei, Red Sea Hills, and the far north), the people of South Kordofan have been marginalised for generations by the policies of successive Khartoum-based Governments. As a result,  they face restricted educational and employment opportunities, lack of land tenure and huge loss of land to outsider mechanised schemes, social discrimination,  lack of political rights,  banning of local languages from school curricula and ever increasing poverty and frustration.  Failure to bring about any changes through political process and alarm at the undemocratic imposition of Sha’ria law (in 1983) eventually resulted in armed resistance, initially alongside the southern Sudanese insurrection led by Dr John Garang.  In 2005, an internationally brokered “peace agreement” led eventually  to the secession of South Sudan but failed to address the marginalisation of Nuba and other peripheral ethnic groups in (northern) Sudan. 
 
In 2011 the region returned to civil-war  and currently the Nuba opposition are fighting as part of an alliance of northern Sudanese opposition groups resisting the continued oppressive policies of Omar al Bashir’s National Congress Party.  As in Darfur and Blue Nile, the efforts of the Khartoum government to stamp out any opposition have been particularly brutal. An area of some 40,000 square kilometres, home to over a million people, has been effectively surrounded by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Government paid militias deprived of any public services (including markets,  transport, power and telecommunications) or access to international or national humanitarian aid. Civilian villages are bombed and shelled daily, hospitals and schools are targeted, hunger is used as a weapon of war, villages are burnt to the ground and captured civilians are routinely tortured, raped and executed. Several thousands of Nuba have died since the war restarted in 2011, over 400,000 have lost their homes and possessions and remain internally displaced with little or no assistance. More than 80,000 are refugees in camps in increasingly insecure border area of South Sudan and this figure is expected to rise significantly.
 
However, despite all these atrocities, the local population continues to demonstrate enormous resilience and a determination to resist the brutal oppression of Bashir’s regime and to help bring about the democratic transformation of Sudan of which they dream. They dig foxholes to reduce the number of deaths from bombs and shells, share food and shelter, and seek refuge in the mountains.  They continue to celebrate their ethnic and cultural diversity and religious tolerance.  And perhaps most remarkably, they continue to show a real readiness for forgiveness. They talk not of revenge but of reconstruction in a united and peaceful Sudan that promotes pluralism, justice, mutual respect and codependence.
 
In a region riddled with conflict, extremism and instability, the people of the Nuba Mountains provide an all too rare alternative narrative. If they can survive this war, perhaps they will also contribute to a longer-term transformation in Sudan that allows genuine African democracy, peaceful coexistence and pluralism to replace conflict and dictatorship.

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 05
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

A man lies on the ground as a government Antonov aircraft bomb Kauda Town. Communities have learnt that lying down increases their chances of surviving the devastating shrapnel-filled barrel bombs that remain as the most frequently dropped ordinance to date. In the past three and a half years (up to April 2015), the Sudan Air Force has dropped over 3,700 bombs on civilian sites in the Nuba Mountains. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 07
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

A displaced woman cries at the news of the death of her son Najamadin, 22 years old, killed by government soldiers while he was taking care of the community’s cattle in Dalami County. His brother Abdulbaghi, who was with him, managed to escape and run back to their makeshift home to tell his mother about the sad news. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 12
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

Friday prayers are underway at one of the many mosques found throughout the Nuba Mountains, where some 40% of the population are Muslims. During the prayer time, people collected money to help a family who needed a surgical operation. Ahmed Kuwa, a devote local Muslim, says: “They (the regime) are bombing our mosques, killing our Imams, using religion to make war between peaceful neighbors; but this is not God’s Islam.” (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 16
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

People run for cover during a bombardment in Kauda Town. On this particular raid, 12 bombs were dropped in less than 5 minutes, destroying three houses and leaving one man injured. Confirmed reports indicate that between 2012 and 2014, 198 civilians were killed and over 440 seriously injured by bombing and shelling. However actual fatalities have been much higher as many more have died from disease and malnutrition. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 17
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

A family comes out from a fox hole after protecting themselves from 12 bombs that were dropped in Kauda town center in just five minutes. Local civil society organizations are seeking help to deal with the increasing cases of psycho-social trauma resulting from the constant terror of attack from bombs, shells and rockets. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 22
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

Yida refugee camp across the international border in Unity State of South Sudan, remains a last resort for many Nuba families. Currently some 66,000 Nuba people are living here as refugees. The camp which itself was bombed by the Sudan Air Force, now faces insecurity challenges from the South Sudan civil war. Due to disagreements over positioning of the camp, neither the UNHCR nor any other international assistance agencies provide any schools to children. Since the camp opened 4 years ago€“, the local Nuba civil society plays an important role in providing education services. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 21
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
03 Feb 2015

During the early morning of February 3, 2015, an artillery shell blasted through the roof of a house in Um Serdiba village. Nine children were sleeping in a foxhole inside the house, three died immediately. Six children, aged between 2 and 11, survived and lay in Mother of Mercy Hospital with more than 50% of their bodies burned. The next day, another girl died at the hospital, and three other children facing serious burns. The head surgeon of the hospital is not sure if they are going to survive. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 19
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Feb 2015

Jackson Teamtrust, 7 years old, was wounded by a bomb dropped by the Sudanese government forces in Ragafi village, Umdorein County on the 1st of February, 2015. Between 2012 and 2014, 36 children have been reported killed and 83 seriously injured by the government bombing of civilian targets in the Nuba Mountains. Sadly, the actual casualties since the start of the war (including 2015) is much higher. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 20
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Feb 2015

An unexploded bomb dropped by the Sudanese government lies in the middle of the field next to a primary health center in South Kordofan. With the Sudanese government also having started to drop cluster bombs on civilian targets, the risks of continuing deaths and injuries from unexploded ordinances will increase. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 18
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
01 Feb 2015

A Sunday service is held at the Sudanese Church of Christ, one of many Christian denominations found in South Kordofan. More than 300 people attended the service, using biscuits and hibiscus flower juice for the communion. The peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians is an important feature of Nuba (and traditionally, Sudanese) society which celebrates ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 09
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Jan 2015

Stir Ahmed, 26, is seen inside the cave where she keeps some of her belongings and use as shelter if she can during frequent bombing raids on Tunguli Village, in Dalami County. "€œThe bombing is terrible. It can come anytime. We feel very alone and€“ the world does not care, the Sudanese people do not care." (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 10
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Jan 2015

Displaced Sana Mahjub, 26, cleans the beans for lunch with the help of her children outside the small cave where they now have to live since their village was destroyed. It is estimated that more than 400,000 people living in similar conditions have been  displaced since the war started nearly 4 years ago as a result of targeted bombing, shelling and land attacks by government forces. Dalami County, South Kordofan, Sudan.

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 11
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Jan 2015

Alnjama Alzahabia cultural group, meaning Gold Stars, poses for a photo in Dalami County with a typical local backdrop. Music, dance and cultural events are integral to Nuba society and continue to play an important role in countering the psycho-social trauma caused by the war. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 08
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
29 Jan 2015

Displaced Mary Musa (left), 26, and Khadmalla Abuzet, 18, cook the evening meal of Baliila (maize, sorghum and beans) next to a rocky mountain near Tunguli village. Families move to such shelters in the evenings as night time bombings and shelling become increasingly frequent. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 04
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Jan 2015

People collect water in Ragafi river bed during the dry season. In many villages, hand water pumps have been destroyed by government forces during land attacks or targeted bombing and shelling on villages. "They (the regime of Omar Bashir) say they are our government, but we want true democracy, not murderers" Awatif Musa, a 48 year old grandmother, says as she waits in line. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 06
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Jan 2015

A group of women seeks shelter inside a foxhole after a bombing raid. Given the frequency of bombing and shelling of civilian targets, communities depend on fox holes and caves in the mountains to reduce casualties. Women have played a key role in promoting the spread of effective self-protection measures. As bombing and shelling intensity increases, they are having to construct ever larger shelters. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 15
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Jan 2015

Pastoralist Korie Hassan, 18, and part of his family are moving to seek better grazing and security ahead of the rest of the family and cattle. Traditionally settled Nuba farmers coexist peacefully with livestock pastoralists (many of whom are Arabs) and they are attempting to counteract the government's tactics of arming local militias and promoting ethnic division and conflict. "€œWe do not want war with Nuba people"€ he says, "€œIt is those of Bashir who are making people to fight." (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 03
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Jan 2015

Students at Tangal Model Primary School in Umdorein County look up in the sky concerned that an Antonov airplane is flying over their heads, but cannot see it yet. The original school in Tangal Village was bombed 3 years ago. Since then they have changed location twice. Now they have moved close to a river where the children feel safer. The classrooms are built with grass that the students and their family provided. There are 150 students in total, from kindergarten to the 8th grade class. The teachers are paid with food given by the families of the students. They have been in this location for the last six months. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 13
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Jan 2015

The Council of a village in Umdorein County prepare for a wider community meeting being convened to discuss further collective measures needed to respond to the many problems provoked by the war. Topics will include the digging of more fox holes, the sharing of homes and food stocks with newly arrived displaced, maintaining support for the volunteer teachers, getting the most vulnerable families to refugee camps in South Sudan. Over a hundred men, women and youth may typically attend the meeting. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 14
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Jan 2015

Neighbours help to clear the debris from a house hit by bombs in Tangal Village, Umdorein County. "They know there is nothing here except civilians" says El Hadi Kodi, 43 years old, as he helps look for anything to salvage. "This regime in Khartoum does not want peaceful coexistence, it wants to kill anyone who resists their terror and greed". (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 02
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
24 Jan 2015

A busy day at a local market in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. Despite the frequent bombing of such civilian targets by the Sudan Air Force, communities brave the risks of congregating for economic and social reasons as they strive to maintain some semblance of normality amidst the horrors of war. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 01
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
23 Jan 2015

Keni Hawa Abdalah, 17, has had to become a street vendor in the central market in Kauda Town. "œWhy is Omar Bashir bombing our schools?" she asks. "Why does no one want to help us with school books so we can still study?"€. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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Chocolate City 14
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

An African woman walks past store specialising in wigs and hair extensions at a wholesale market inside the Tianxiu Building where many Africans have offices and residential apartments. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

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Chocolate City 13
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

A store specialising in wigs and hair extensions at a wholesale market inside the Tianxiu Building where many Africans have offices and residential apartments. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

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Chocolate City 11
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Umaru Alpha, 26, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, and his 8 month old son Mohammed, at the window of Alpha's apartment in the Tianxiu Building near Xiaobei metro station. Many Africans have offices and homes in the 32 story Tianxiu Building, which is also home to a wholesale market. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia.

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Chocolate City 10
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Umaru Alpha, 26, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, and his 8 month old son Mohammed, at the window of Alpha's apartment in the Tianxiu Building near Xiaobei metro station. Many Africans have offices and homes in the 32 story Tianxiu Building, which is also home to a wholesale market. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia.

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Chocolate City 09
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Three African women get a pedicure at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

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Chocolate City 08
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Africans at a counter that offers cheap international phone calls at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

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Chocolate City 07
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

African women shop at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

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Chocolate City 06
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Abdullaye (right), 42 and his Chinese wife at and daughter at their clothing shop in a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Abdoulaye, who fled civil war in his home in Sierra Leone has a refugee visa obtained through the UN. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.