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Growing up in Burkina Faso

For three years, Philippe Blondel lived with the Ouedraogo family in their home in Karpala, Burkina Faso. Through this testimony, the photographer shares his concerns about the uncertain future that future generations must confront in an ever-evolving world.

Since the arrival of terrorism in 2016, Burkinabe youth have been going through a difficult period. In 2022, political, social, and security conditions are deteriorating, with two coups in nine months. In such a context, the future of the population remains more uncertain than ever.

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2022-12-20. Portrait of Jacques Sibiri Ouedraogo. Jacques is the father of the family, often out of town, he does odd jobs here and there to provide for his family. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2022-01-01. Portrait of Ichame Traore and the hand of Celia Ouedraogo holding his head. This hand could be the representation of neo-colonial power. Just like this one, it keeps a strong power over the youth. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2022-12-10. Portrait of Ichame Traore through the curtain, which protects the interior of the houses from the permanent dust. Just like this hut that protects the still naive children from an uncertain future. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

Burkina Faso, a French colony until 1960, experienced economic growth after independence. Unfortunately, insecurity has intensified. Attacks by jihadist groups and inter-community conflicts are increasing throughout the country. This situation has led to a large number of population displacements, with 1,810,105 people registered as internally displaced in 2022, 60.37% of whom are children.

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2022-12-23. Ichame Traore, Fabienne Ouedraogo and Ingrid Ouedraogo (left to right) a few days before Christmas while decorating the house. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2022-12-25. Fabien Ouedraogo, Ichame Traore and Fabienne Ouedraogo (from left to right) while preparing the meal. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

African youth are confronted with a multitude of challenges as they navigate a fractured system marked by a weighty colonial past, a neo-colonial system of power that extends across economic, political, and cultural domains, as well as unstable political regimes. Additionally, the rapid advancement of new technologies has added to the complexity of the situation, while the pervasive feeling of boredom only exacerbates the sense of disillusionment. In the midst of these obstacles, how will African youth find hope and chart a path forward?

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2021-12-19. Ingrid Ouedraogo dances in the night a few days before Christmas Eve. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

Burkina Faso, Karpala, 2022-12-09. Portrait of Ichame Traore. Ichame, the child of the hut next to the Ouedraogo family. © Philippe Blondel / Collectif DR.

Through the close observation of their daily life, Philippe Blondel draws a faithful portrait of the existence of the Burkinabés in general. A daily life of vulnerable wandering.

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