December 10, 2022


Sierra Leone Entertainment News

15 years after January 6: Economy of the Streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone

“We live off the fools of the street” ~ ICE T – Jew Man Business

Every year we try to look back on the events of January 6 1999, to remember so we don’t forget what we lost. This year we should try to look at the present. For the people living on the fringe of post war Freetown, 15 years after J6 life is but a daily struggle for survival.  Economy of the Street is a new archive of daily life, and struggle for Sierra Leone’s youth. This is life on the streets of Freetown 15 years after J6.

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Every day we struggle for survival, we labour to find food, we aim for a safe home, and we build protective social structures involving friends, family and communities. This website is a platform to highlight the realities of survival for a group of young adults in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  Take a moment and imagine your life as one of them: you are poor and you are living on the streets and off the streets. How will you survive? What are your concerns about life and your views? In short, what does your life look like?

Through film and photos, Mats Utas aims at portraying the reality of life among the urban poor based at two different locations in Freetown. The photo exhibition entitled Pentagon: Street life and Survival in Freetown, Sierra Leone includes both text and images that seek to display moments in everyday life and struggles. The documentary, Jew Man Business, portrays another area through the eyes of three young men. In both settings, the earlier civil war is a clear backdrop, as many of those photographed participated in it as militia and rebel soldiers.

This is not a single story, as it has no beginning and no end. These are rather individual moments connected by streetscapes.

Both the documentary and the photo exhibition are the property of the Nordic Africa Institute and are produced and published by Mats Utas.

All images are copyright: Nordic Africa Institute

Check out the full exhibit of photos and videos here: Economy of the Street