A young African woman from Uganda combing her hair from the series This Time We Are Young

This Time We Are Young

2 Aug 2018 2018 CUBES

“This Time We Are Young” is a documentation of three young people’s lives in one of the world’s youngest countries, Uganda.

Featuring: Esther Ruth Mbabazi

Presented by

United Photo Industries

Curated by

James Estrin and David Gonzalez, Co-Editors of the New York Times Lens Blog

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.


Esther Ruth Mbabazi is a Ugandan photographer whose work focuses on the social, physical and emotional aspects of daily life, especially in rural areas and among minority groups with an interest in public health.

Esther is a VII Photo Agency mentee. In 2017, she was a Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice fellow. The year before, Esther was selected for the 2016 World Press Photo Masterclass East Africa and won the inaugural Young Photographer Award presented by the Uganda Press Photo Award. Her work has been published in international publications such as TIME magazine, The New York Times and The Africa Report, and she frequently collaborates with organizations such as Comic Relief, Farm Africa and Let There Be Light International, among others.

Website | Instagram