It’s been more than a month since Ghana’s national soccer team crashed out of the World Cup 2010. Despite their heartbreaking loss, the team showed a blend of skill, beauty and determination.
But sport has a way of masking over life’s daily struggles.
Recently, two photographers—Devin Tepleski and Pieter Hugo—have documented another side of the West African country. Tepleski—whose series of images called “Sena” are on display at Luz Gallery in Victoria, BC, Canada—finds a peculiar, haunting beauty in Ghananians who were forced to relocate when waters from a controversial hydroelectric dam project flooded their region. In the photos, villagers stand in the actual flood waters, showing a resilience amid the tragedy. See here.
Meanwhile Hugo’s “New York Times” photo essay, “A Global Graveyard for Dead Computers in Ghana”, depicts technology’s dark side. In a slum of Accra, Ghana’s capital city, men and children forage for precious metals (cooper, aluminum, zinc) amid the rubble of discarded computers and other electronic devices.
According to the “New York Times”:
In 2008, Greenpeace sampled the burned soil at Agbogbloshie and found high levels of lead, cadmium, antimony, PCBs and chlorinated dioxins.
In addition to the health risks, the area has also been a hotbed for violence, drugs and sex trafficking. Both stories have gone under-reported in Western media. The hope is that these dramatic images force more attention on the issues. Chime in with your thoughts on ways improve the disposal process.
UPDATE: Time.com has done an eye-opening video short on the market for materials mined in the Congo and used for computers and cellphones. Watch “Conflict Minerals” below.