2022 Photo Competition Exhibition

RISE Africa 2022 Photo Competition Exhibition

Theme for 2022: CREATIVITY / AGENCY / URGENCY – City Scenes

We invite you to share image/s, and an associated story or explanation, of your city through the lens of creativity / agency / urgency to demonstrate how one or more of these elements contributes to a more sustainable, equitable and liveable city.

The brief

How are people using creativity as a tool to promote or encourage sustainable living in your city?

How are people and organisations helping to unlock the potential of people in your African city (improving their agency)? 

How is your city responding to the urgent issues of climate change, unemployment, environmental degradation, waste and pollution, housing and basic services, and more?

What the judges wanted to see

Show us how creativity / agency / urgency manifest in your African city.

We are looking for provocative images with strong aesthetic value, meaningful content and alignment with the theme. They can be abstract or literal, and can incorporate multimedia as long as the image is still (no video, please). The subjects of your photography should truthfully and positively represent people and the cities.

Criteria for selection

Aesthetic Value

Provocative or Innovative Imagery

In Line with Theme


Winner $500

Two finalists $200



Location: Accra, Ghana
Title: The Good Ol’ Days

“There were times when we gathered around the fire to listen to and tell stories. Stories that taught us about our origin, reminded us of who we really are. Moral lessons were embedded in these stories, values were preached, we sang songs to praise the brave, the courageous and the selfless. These were times families get to bond, have a good laugh, learn and exercise. These times develop great oratory and questioning skills in the young ones, but these I now hardly see. The fabric of civilization seems to be tearing us apart and we seem to be lost in the wonders of technology. What was really meant to bring us closer is making us distant, we’re loosing our Cultural and Traditional values, we’re loosing who we truly are, we seldom hear of great men who lived before us, our minds are saturated with the imaginary heroes we see on screens , we hardly spend time with our families, we’re loosing ourselves. If only we could take a break to look back and embrace who we really are and pick up the positive aspects of our culture, this continent will be a great and enviable one. This is to acknowledge the ones who however, will not let history die. The old folks around the continent who still hold down the tradition of storytelling. It’s one thing to read, but another to hear from the ones who lived it. They continue to serve as agents of history, passing it down to generations, making sure we never lose our roots and taking pride in our identity.”


Kevin Ochieng | @Ochieng_kevin254

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Title: The last breath

“This image shows a young boy taking in air through a plant with a Mask and a straw connected to it with a sandstorm brewing on the background …this project is symbolic to show the importance of trees in our ecosystem and the role they play in tackling climate change. Trees Help Fight Climate Change. As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. This project pushes the message of conservation and encourages the reforestation…..”

Emmanuel Bekoe | @obeimages

Location: Madina, Ghana
Title: The Banana Market

“This image depicts the way we tend to replicate each other’s trade in a city once we realize that there is profit that can be made from that trade. We all can sell the same products but there is enough market out there for everyone thus there is no need for us to be greedy or compete with each other for profit. However, some people in the attempt to become rich, increase the prices of their goods and services rendered and this causes people to also copy even the way they price their products and services. In Accra, Ghana people will try to start a business once they think there’s money in it and not because they love it. You can find two provision shops opposite each other and you wonder “”don’t they sell the same things”” Gradually people are learning to be different and creative from each other not doing the same thing and being themselves and learning each day to improve on their skills. Thus in a sea full of fishes, you choose to be different or blend in.”



Location: Kinshasa, République Démocratique du Congo

“Troisième plus grande ville d’Afrique et première ville francophone du monde, la capitale congolaise est une métropole bouillonnante de près de 12 millions d’habitant. La projet photo Kinshasa By night est une série des photos visant à mettre en valeur la chaleur humaine et l’atmosphère que l’on trouve dans les rues de la capitale congolaise.”

Reduoane Akharaz | @reduoane.breezy

Location: Rabat, Morocco
Title: Ashura night in Morocco

“I am honored to apply for your topic next month on RISE Africa 2022, after as a Moroccan photographer interested in photographing public life on the streets of Morocco, I have carefully chosen this project: Ashura night in Morocco. This photo was taken in Hay El Farah / El Takadum, Rabat, Morocco. Ashura is a night known to all Moroccans as the “Torch” night. It is the tenth day of the month of Muharram in the Hijri calendar, and it is called Ashura for Muslims…Where huge fires lit up the squares and alleys tonight, a space of joy and fun for all the residents of this neighborhood, old and young, who light these fires even though the police prevent such events every year in Morocco… Young people and children of the neighborhood collect the wheels of cars until this night approaches, and they bring trees and some gasoline to light these fires as they contemplate this great achievement… I took the opportunity to document some moments, and caught my attention that special tie over the head of the little boy that protects him from the fire, and in his eyes looks of victory despite all the difficulties…”

Ikwueme Patrick obiora | @owusilens

Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Title: Urban decay

The picture depicts a decay, environmental pollution and hazards of a popular city in Nigeria.This is Obalende Lagos, it is the major central station to everywhere you want to go within Lagos and outside, The pollution in the place is alarming, the canal is filled with plastic bottles, nylons, rubber plastic bag etc, The urgency of the place to be cleared is glaring. The government or the health and environmental authorities should look into this, on the contrary the beauty of the picture lays on the setting,the angle, the technique I used to achieve this great picture that has a strong story and message.The artistic value of the picture also plays out because of the perspective I took the picture from.”

Mukong Ngong

Location: Bamenda, Cameroon
Title: Growing up To know my Origin (Africa) is a blessing

Growing up as an African, i thought Dominance was just for any other race apart of the black race. Mentally i was so worried about my origin. But i grew up to a stage that i finally realized being an African is one of the best gifts a human can receive from his Creator. The African continent is so endowed with great nature and numerous resources that gives hope to the growing population, lots of Talents that needs to be harnessed. Those are very promising aspects in Africa, out of so many others.. Africa is stepping to greatness.” 

Peter Irungu | @irungu_

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Title: Nairobi Urban Rush

“Nairobi is a booming city with over 3 million inhabitants. With it’s central business district the main point of exit and for most commuters going to and fro to their workplaces it’s narrow streets occupies by roadside hawkers, signboards, display panels, and even parked cars, it becomes chaotic to the regular person walking it’s streets. This series tries to show that aspect of the commute. The Urban rush to get from one point of the city to the other while fighting off every human-made element that obstructs you from moving comfortably from one point to the Other.”

Babajide Olusanya |

Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Title: Tale Of Two Cities

“Over time in my country, Nigeria, real estate development as taken a turn from the traditional housing system to upscale smart housing and luxury apartments. In Abuja, there is a vast uprising of modern structures due to the governments real estate and urbanization goals. This development however is having a dire effect on indigenous communities like the Fulani settlement in the photograph, their farmland are being converted to estates, soon, judging by the fast pace of rising real estate investments, their thatched huts will be stripped from them to give rise to urban buildings that are beyond the financial capacity of the below average Nigerians. Leaving them without refuge or compensation, turning them to seek shelter in already congested rural communities”.


Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Title: Tranquility vs Concrete Jungle // The haves and the have nots

While watching the sunrise from the 20th floor of UAP Tower, a 33-storey office complex in the Upperhill neighborhood on Nairobi, the capital and largest city in Kenya, I looked down and couldn’t help but notice the sharp contrast between the concrete jungle that is Nairobi CBD and the Railway Golf Club in the foreground with its lush green mowed lawns and water holes. Railway Golf Club is a remarkable nine-hole par 72 course boasting lush greens, “tight” fairways, beautiful mature trees, a clubhouse in Nairobi’s green-belt. This club of about 500 members helps oxygenate and add colour to the Business District’s concrete jungle and has the distinction of being one of the only golf courses in the world – if not the only one – that has a fully functioning railway line traversing the course, over which golfers must strike their golf balls during a round.” 


“While shooting sunset from the roof of an apartment complex in Nairobi’s Muthaiga Estate, I took a moment to enjoy the views and take in the beauty of the city, that’s when I looked on the other side and noticed a gradient of different residential houses down below. On the foreground we see one roomed tin houses which accommodate most of the low income earning families who serve as cleaners and shamba boys (gardeners) to the posh Muthaiga Estate, further up we have apartment blocks which mostly boast one bedroom accommodation for those who earn slightly higher than the gardeners in the tin houses. In the background and to the right we see high end highrise apartment blocks that house the middle class who work in offices in the big city, this scene reminded me of the movie Slumdog millionaire.”

Samy Ntumba Shambuyi | @samyntumbashambuyi

Location: Kinshasa, RD Congo

“L’urgence s’impose sur la gare de kisenso. Nous sommes en plein milieu de la ville de Kinshasa ou les habitants s’en presse toujours pour y accédé dans le train qui relie plusieurs ville de l’ouest du pays vers la capitale.”

Stephen Ofori Amo | @creativeofori_

Location: Accra, Ghana
Title: Mother Nature

“Accra, the capital city of Ghana is the economic and administrative hub of the country. It is home to many possibilities and opportunities. Urbanization is on the increase in Accra with the emergence of new settlement and industries. Despite the rate of development in this area, it continues to lose one of its essential resources, trees. Conversion of forests and parks into settlements and industries have become a common phenomenon that threatens the green landscape of the area. However, government in collaboration with other companies is embarking on series of tree planting exercises to restore and enhance the forest and green landscape of the city. Man is fully responsible for the protection and management of forest resources. The role of trees in the fight against climate change cannot be overlooked. My pictures show the connection between man and trees and how man can help produce more trees for our cities.”


Location: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Title: La Créativité par les Petits Métiers pour faire face aux urgences de la ville

“Ces quelques clichés vous présentent des hommes et femmes qui développe la créativité pour de petits métier. Artisans, commerçants… qui évolue en pleine ville africaine avec des activités qui sont indispensables pour le pays . Répondre aux urgences de la ville est leurs missions. Ils ont réussi à y apporter leurs touches personnelles par de petites innovations rien que pour faciliter l’accès à une ville plus vivable . Le chômage est l’un des problèmes particuliers en Afrique et ma ville y répond avec ses armes qui sont la création de petits métier ambulant partout dans la ville . Ils parviennent à débloquer et à mettre en exergue le plein potentiel de la ville de par leurs activités. Faciliter le quotidien des habitants, avoir solution aux urgences du quotidien est leurs objectifs tout en luttant pour leurs pains quotidien.”