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African Resilience in the Wake of a Pandemic

African Resilience in the Wake of a Pandemic

What started out as a straight forward project with every member of the team aware of their role based on competencies and skills, turned into a journey of possibilities.

Chidi Afulezi
Chidi Afulezi

Bobby Pall Photography

There is no doubt that every single day brought with it a new set of learnings and a sense of adventure. What started out as a straight forward project with every member of the team aware of their role based on competencies and skills, turned into a journey of possibilities. The team had to get out of their comfort zone and in the end, we were all the better for it.

Professional dancer and choreographer Celeste Botha dances in her home, announcing to the world, "I'm Still Here" despite the challenge of lockdown. Photo by Ruth Smith, South Africa

We found ourselves making minor adjustments to various aspects of the submission process and initiating direct contact with some of the submitters to ensure that they met every requirement of the Campaign. Most of them were first time submitters and where experience was in shortage, it was replaced by excitement, enthusiasm and potential.

The individual qualities and personalities of the Core Team played a significant role in ensuring a smooth run through the entire Campaign. Bobby is a creative dreamer who can always conjure up ingenious ideas with endless possibilities and is a generous leader. George works behind the scenes, ever watchful only voicing his well thought out and deep opinions at the right time. Christine is the no nonsense member who calls a spade a spade and not a big spoon – whatever has to be done must be done. Lucy is practical, thrives under pressure and is always ready for a new challenge with boundless amounts of energy. Then comes Xochitl, the multifaceted and talented IT expert who ensured that the front and back end of the website were always on point. Edna like all finance people prefers to only speak through numbers and every invoice had to verified.

"Precaution" She has for years been fighting some underline rare diseases. For these reasons, she had to cover herself and wear a face mask at all time. Photo by Ismail Odetola, Nigeria. 

The back-end of the website was the control room and this is where everything took place as innumerable calls (regular and WhatsApp) as well as late night Zoom meetings were organised to iron out emerging issues in real time.

Each member of the Core Team was assigned a day to filter the submissions. The filtering process was carried out throughout the day with the peak time being 9:00 – 11:00 p.m. when a majority of the submissions would come through. It was a meticulous and laborious task as each submitted work was scanned to confirm that it met the submission guidelines and rules, ensuring that the consent forms were duly signed, recording the captions, names, country and contacts before taking the action to approve, decline or follow-up.

On a lighter note, there was no shortage of humour. Some of the submitted works showed little relevance to the theme while one submitter requested the BPP Team for contacts of traditional medicine men across Africa.

"New Norm" by Antony Wanyoike, Kenya

After four months of running the African Resilience in the Wake of a Pandemic Campaign, the BPP Team held a project debrief to celebrate the individual efforts, talents and skills that had succeeded at pulling off the Campaign. In the end, the Campaign received 349 submissions (282 photographs and 67 videos) from young Africans across 18 African countries. The quality of the submitted works was magnificent and provided us with a glimpse of the talent, passion and hunger awaiting to be unleashed.

What an adventure indeed!