a smiling young woman inside a cab from the series "Born Free," Mandela's Generation.

BORN FREE – Mandela’s Generation of Hope

29 Jul 2019 CONTAINERS
A group of boys in swimming trunks and towels standing on risers.

Director: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Production: Metropolisfilm, Ton Wolswijk, Thomas Knijff, Michiel Hazebroek

Presented by

United Photo Industries, VII Photo Agency, the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York 

















This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands, New York

Twenty five years ago, in 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president and his nation was a free country. The segregation system of apartheid had ended; Mandela had high hopes for the youth.

The children born in the years following the end of apartheid are now young adults: the born-free generation for whom racial segregation is a thing of the past. They were to be the face of a new, free and successful South Africa.

Ilvy Njiokiktjien’s personal project, which has spread over twelve years, looks into how free the born-free are actually living, and how modern day racism influences their day-to-day lives.


Ilvy Njiokiktjien is an independent photographer and multimedia journalist based in the Netherlands. She is represented by VII Photo Agency and she is a Canon Ambassador.

Ilvy has worked in many parts of the world, with a focus on Africa. As a documentary photographer, she covers current affairs and contemporary social issues. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Der Spiegel, NRC Handelsblad, Telegraph Magazine, and Stern, among others, and it was exhibited at Visa pour l’Image in 2012.

Accolades include a Canon Association des Femmes Journalistes (AFJ) Award, two awards at World Press Photo, and first prize from Pictures of the Year international (POYi) for Issue Reporting Multimedia Story.

Website | Instagram | Twitter


VII is a storied photo agency founded a few days before 9/11 to challenge the convergence in the photography business, when the trend for giant companies swallowing smaller independent agencies had started. VII went small and photographer-owned, believing in the power and energy of collective effort, when everyone else seemed to be going big and corporate. VII remains a disruptive and innovative business, unafraid to swim against the prevailing currents.