Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope

From 2007 up to 2019, Ilvy Njiokiktjien chronicled South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation. She became intrigued by these young adults and portrayed them in her own, personal and intimate style. Her long-term project resulted in international publications, a documentary, an interactive long read, a photo book, and a traveling exhibition.

Born Free Generation
In 1994 South Africa held its first inclusive elections. These brought an end to decades of white minority rule. A new constitution gave all South Africans equal rights. As the nation’s first black president, Nelson Mandela focused on reconciliation and hope for the future. The children born in the years right after apartheid ended are now young adults: the born-free generation for whom racial segregation is a thing of the past. It falls to these young South Africans to make Mandela’s dream of a rainbow nation come true.

During her work in South Africa, Ilvy Njiokiktjien became intrigued by these born-frees, the new face of a free South Africa. She portrays them in her uniquely personal and intimate style. “On paper there is now equality, but many South Africans still experience the consequences of apartheid.”