Uganda has one of the world’s youngest populations, with 78 percent of Ugandans under the age of 30. With just under eight million youth aged 15-30, the country also has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. This project follows three Ugandan teenagers as they navigate the challenges and joys of youth. Aidah, 15, is growing up on the slopes of Mount Elgon, shy and reserved as she explores the boundaries of her rural community in eastern Uganda. Latif, 17, is a dancer, social media enthusiast, and self-made street fashion designer living in Mbale, an underserved neighbourhood where he shares a small house with three friends. Irene, 17, is growing up in a well-heeled Kampala neighbourhood, where she studies at an international school when not practicing piano or enjoying the capital’s nightlife.

As a young Ugandan myself, “This Time We Are Young” is both a way of collaborating with my peers and exploring my own experience growing up in this East African nation. As a long-term personal project I will continue to expand on this work in the coming years.

Artist Bios

  • Esther Ruth Mbabazi

    Esther Ruth Mbabazi is a photographer based in Kampala, Uganda. As a documentary photographer, Mbabazi uses storytelling and photojournalism to explore changing conditions on the African continent amidst the social, physical, and emotional aspects of daily life. Mbabazi is driven to bring overlooked issues to light through a curious and empathetic perspective.

    She is a National Geographic Explorer, a Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow, and a contributor to Everyday Africa. She is one of six talents recognized for the 2020 World Press Photo 6×6 Africa. Her work has received support with grants from the Pulitzer Center, National Geographic, Magnum Foundation, and the IWMF.

    Mbabazi’s images have been published in the New York TimesTIMENational Geographic, the Washington Post, the Wall Street JournalBloombergEl Pais, and commissioned by a variety of international organizations.


  • United Photo Industries (UPI)

    United Photo Industries (UPI)

    United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.

    Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.

This Time We Are Young

 archive : 2018

Featuring: Esther Ruth Mbabazi

Curated by: James Estrin David Gonzalez

Presented by: United Photo Industries (UPI)
  • United Photo Industries (UPI)


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