Powerful images that tell stories

Friday November 06 2015

‘Nabagareka Primary School,’ the News category and overall winner of the 2015 Uganda Press Photo Award. PHOTO | ABOU KISIGE

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and Abou Kisige’s winning photograph at the 2015 Uganda Press Photo Award of two students of the Nabagereka Primary School in Kampala, is just that.

The picture, which won in the news category, concentrates on several angles and captures the student standing in the demolished school against the background of Kampala’s early morning skyline.

The image, titled “Nabagereka School Demolished,” was taken on January 23, 2015, when the school was demolished by a crew escorted by court bailiffs, on the grounds that the land on which the school stood was leased to city businessman John Bosco Muwonge in 2010.

The school, named after the queen of Buganda, was established in 1966 and was managed by Kampala Capital City Authority. The demolition elicited angry protests from the public, prompting speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga to appoint a select committee to investigate the alleged irregular sale of school land.

“I took this picture because my emotions were aroused when I saw the girls trying to look for their notes in the rubble,” said Kisige at the awards ceremony held at the Uganda National Museum on October 29.

The photograph, together with others that won in the various categories, will feature in the 2015 Winning Photos Exhibition that will run until November 28, at the same venue.


This year, 115 photographers submitted more than 1,500 images. Kisige’s photograph was selected as the overall winning entry from 27 winners across seven categories, by the jury panel of Annette Sebba, Frédérick Noy, Katrin Peters-Klaphake, Jide Adeniyi Jones, Carl de Souza and Aida Muluneh, all experienced photography professionals.

Kampala-based Kisige is a photojournalist with the Vision Group. He won an EOS 7D DSLR camera plus lens from Canon.

In the Story category, Sarah Waiswa’s “Luke warm” beat many others. It is a personal story of 10-year-old Luke who is living with non-verbal autism. His mother had to overcome many challenges to get him diagnosed, get therapy and face stigma from relatives and friends. He has gone from not being able to stand and feed himself to making great strides. Had he been diagnosed early enough he might have made much more progress.

Waiswa also won the Creative category with her image “Products of our Environment.” It also had the subtitle “You are what you surround yourself with” and shows a person dressed in black from head to toe, with the face hidden too, holding a mirror reflecting the grass surrounding him or her.

Waiswa is a Uganda-born, Kenya-based documentary and portrait photographer. She has an interest in identity and particularly the new African identity.

Joel Isababi Nsadha won in the three categories of Daily Life, Portrait and Nature. Nsadha’s image “Zaidi” won in the Portrait category. Zaidi, a father of three from Bukoto in Kampala, has been a boda boda operator for eight years. The scars on his body bear witness to accidents he has been in over the years. Nsadha used Zaidi’s veins, lighting, landscape and trees to great effect.

The Daily Life category prize also went to Nsadha for his image “City Builder.” In the photo, Waiswa holds on to his falling trousers as he tries to balance a log on the side of a high rise building in Kampala. He commutes into the city from Gayaza to work on building sites, a job that earns him an average of Ush5,000 ($1.3) a day.

Nsadha’s images, “Nile At The Source” won in the Nature category. The images are a great presentation of the rocks that mark the source of the longest river in the world.

Nsadha is a Ugandan freelance photographer born in Jinja. He holds a Bachelor of Industrial and Fine Arts degree from Makerere University, where he majored in photography.

The Sports category was won by Samson Opus for his image titled “Splashy Football.” In the photo, the KCC FC striker Derrick Nsibambi beats Express FC defender Ivan Sserunkuma in a fight for the ball in a Uganda Premier League match in a water-logged Wankulukuku stadium on November 28, 2014. Poor sports infrastructure is a major problem in Uganda.

Opus is a 42-year-old sports journalist with the Vision Group who took up photography after 10 years of reporting.

The photography awards were initiated in 2012 and are organised by the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Uganda and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in partnership with the US embassy in Uganda, and with support from Definition Africa.

Foreign Correspondents’ co-chair Catherine Byaruhanga of the BBC in Kampala said: “We are pleased to see such creative work from the entries. The competition is definitely getting tougher with each year. Over the next months, there will be major news events in Uganda like the Pope’s visit and not least the national elections in February. We look forward to great shots of these stories. And also shots that capture the depth and vibrancy of Uganda.”