Nikon Photo Contest 2012-2013

Category B Photo story:3rd place

a hidden rebellion

Marc Hofer



Many conflicts in Africa are still completely undercovered or covered in a complete wrong and simplistic way. Most of the conflicts are interconnected to global issues or connected to foreign policies of much more powerful nations. The reluctance of taking African trouble spots seriously by the general public and to mark them with some excotic connotation makes it easy to lable this incidents as something ""far off"" the daily life radar. If people in New York, London or Berlin would understand sometimes the roots and the motivations of the members of this conflicts, they could also see that very often the actions of their government have wider ripples. That is especially true to the region in Eastern Africa, where foreign support to countries like Uganda and Rwanda plus a soft stance on the Congolese central government by their international backers, just creates a lot of misery for the ordinary citizen in this region.

Shot in the North Kivu Province during the rise of the Rwandan backed M23 rebellion. I was pretty much one of the first journalists who started covering the fighting, even when it happend far off the major settlements. The rebels made fast gain against a demotivated national army and soon took the important border town of Bunagana on the Ugandan border. Over months i followed the rebels and the government forces as they battled it out over a short stretch of woodhill terrain, ending in the capture of the regional capital of Goma by the M23 rebel fighters. Everything was fast changing, so the equipment had to be small end efficient, also not too intrusive. I shot a lot with point and shoot cameras, for it didnt give the impression i was an ""important"" journalist and the hassle by security forces was reduced to a minimum.