Ditte Haarløv Johnsen

born in 1977, Copenhagen, Denmark where she currently lives

Maputo Diary (2000-2009)

Maputo Diary is a personal document of my journeys back to the country where I grew up, Mozambique. It is a collection of intimate portraits of friends, family, places of meaning and the moments in between. Different layers of African reality are interwoven – the reality that is also my own. It’s about growing up as a white kid in black Africa, living in the periphery and the constant quest for belonging.

But Maputo Diary is also the story of the people portrayed. It’s about Antonieta, who has worked in the streets since the age of 12, it’s about Marcelo, who went to jail accused of stealing a pair of pants off a clothesline, and it’s about the ‘Sisters’; the group of young gay men that I met for first time back then in the summer of 2000. My pictures are derived from everyday reality where death is omnipresent and where life to an extreme degree is lived in the moment.
There’s always a party somewhere, and people make sure their glass is never empty. They dance, love and forget until the following day – there is not much left to lose, and tomorrow it might be too late.

Maputo Diary challenges the image of Africa so often conveyed in the media. It is not about famine, natural disasters or war – it’s about loving, living and dying – in Africa as well as in the rest of the world.

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