By Phoebe Parke, CNN
(CNN)— To mark International Youth Day, CNN asked African photographers 35 and under to send us one picture that captured the issue they were most concerned about in their country.
We got submissions from countries across the continent, depicting issues such as youth unemployment, the gap between rich and poor, and the preservation of African cultures.
Scroll down the page to see why these young photographers chose these images to share with us, and where they were taken.
Tanzania — Neema Jodie Ngelime, 24
The image above, taken by Neema Jodie Ngelime, shows a woman in Dodoma, Tanzania, separating groundnuts from their shells. “The issue that concerns me the most is social and economic position of women in this country,” she told CNN. “Women are likely to be less educated and more impoverished. This denies them the right to access credit or certain training. This image shows the resilience of the African woman who, despite limited access to opportunities, still tries to make ends meet.”
Ethiopia — Girma Berta, 27
Girma Berta, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, used digital tools to superimpose this person’s image onto a bright background as “a commentary on the digital revolution underway across Africa.” It’s a representation of an issue he is passionate about and thinks is not talked about enough in his country: the untapped potential of millennials. He said he is motivated by a wish to capture “the beautiful, the ugly and all that is in between.” Berta’s work has been exhibited at Cape Town Art Fair, La Gacilly Photo Festival and PhotoVille NY, and he won the Getty Images Instagram Award in 2016.
South Africa — Dune Tilley, 17
“I am living in a very young democratic country,” said 17-year-old photographer Dune Tilley, who captured this self-portrait of him with his mother and their domestic worker. “Merely 23 years out of the apartheid regime, the country still bears the immense weight of the past. The disparity of wealth between the richest and the poorest is, in my opinion, the most concerning issue. This problem is what I’m trying to highlight in my photograph. These two figures, although in my eyes represent that of my motherly figures, in the eyes of the country (they) take on two very different roles and narratives. Although a similar age to my mother, my domestic worker was previously marginalized by the government, leaving her with no access to education and a low standard of living while my mother had access to a high standard of education and grew up in a quiet suburb. The wage gap between my mother and my domestic worker harps back to a disadvantaged majority due to the legacy of apartheid.”
Kenya — Biko Wesa, 29
Hospice nurses Esther and Mercy walk to a cancer patient’s home in Nyeri, Kenya, after washing their hands in August 2015. “Access to affordable health care is still a major issue in Kenya, with cancer being the third-leading cause of deaths in Kenya,” photographer Biko Wesa said. “The rising cases demand affordable and enough cancer-treatment facilities to the majority of citizens who live below the poverty line.”
Zambia — Cornelius Chellah Mulenga Tukuta, 30
Cornelius Chellah Mulenga Tukuta, born in the Chingola district in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, wants to use his photography to highlight the plight of the people in his country — and the effects that living in poverty has on human development. The man in this photo, he said, is 80 years old, “a widower staying with 10 grand- and great-grandchildren in a one-bedroom house.”
Algeria — Fethi Sahraoui, 24
This photo, taken by Fethi Sahraoui, shows youngsters swimming in a large irrigation channel in Relizane, Algeria. “One of the issues that I’m most concerned with is children and youth conditions in my country,” he said via email. “The photo is taken from my project ‘Escaping the Heatwave,’ and it is about how youngsters manage to escape from some unbearable temperatures by going to dangerous spots like a water tower with a polluted water or large irrigation channels, predisposing themselves to countless risks.”
Botswana — Uyapo Ketogetswe, 25
“This image shows a band of brothers adorned in culturally representative Khoisan — an indigenous hunter-gatherer people of Southern Africa — attire coming together to celebrate, pay homage to their background, and unite in beautiful culture,” explained photographer Uyapo Ketogetswe of Botswana. “We are tasked with positively changing the world’s view of Africa through our own narrative,” he said. “There’s nothing more powerful and liberating than knowing who we are and where we come from, especially young people. While culture separates countries, it also brings communities together and is the backbone of people. The future belongs to those who understand the past, learn from it and write their own narrative.”
Sierra Leone — Ngadi Smart, 28
Sierra Leonean photographer Ngadi Smart is based in Ivory Coast. This image shows the Abissa Festival, a tradition of the N’zuma people who live in southeast Ivory Coast and southwestern Ghana. “The festival is held to review the past year and let go of any grudges whilst celebrating through the form of dancing, music and spirituality,” Smart said. “Faces are decorated with kaolin, and many of the men and women cross-dress — an insight into a wonderful West African culture.”
Zimbabwe — Chinula Mandla, 26
This photograph shows a young man beckoning to his friends to join him in a protest against the government in Zimbabwe. “One of the issues that l am most concerned about is the rate of unemployment in the country,” said freelance photographer Chinula Mandla. “The image not only shows how angry the youths are over the unemployment situation in the country, but also how much they have sacrificed and suffered to try and earn a living.”
Nigeria — Lubabetu Abubakar, 24
This image of a roadside boutique in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, was taken by Lubabetu Abubakar, a Nigerian visual artist. “The photo forms part of a working series called ‘Ameri’, which translates to ‘cheating’ or the feeling/pain of being cheated,” Abubakar said. “The series aims to explore society’s perception of women and how that may affect women and how they view themselves. It touches on issues like vanity, male validation, motherhood, sex and a culture of oppression. It is also a metaphorical representation of the current societal standard on what a ‘sexy’ woman should look like.”
Ghana — Francis Kokoroko, 30
Ghanaian photographer Francis Kokoroko has a keen interest in capturing everyday life in Ghana. “I am deeply concerned about issues of education,” he told CNN. “I believe that providing access (to education) has life-changing effects on the individual and the communities they live (in). That is true power.” His picture above shows schoolchildren on a break in the Gbagape community in central Gonja.
Kenya — Peter Ndung’u, 23
“I am mostly concerned about the government’s insistence on building a coal plant in Lamu, one that will cause harm to the people of Lamu County like Ali Athman, who sells fish at Lamu’s fish market,” photographer Peter Ndung’u told CNN. “Being an election period, I feel like the governments need to prioritize on its promises if they’re to be re-elected.”
Gabon — Yannis Davy Guibinga, 22
This photograph shows a young girl working as a street vendor in Libreville, Gabon. “Given the lack of infrastructure in place to cater to the needs of the low-income youth in Gabon, many of them have to resort to these kind of informal jobs in order to survive,” explained Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga, who lives in Canada. Guibinga aims to explore the diversity of African identities and experiences through portraiture.
This post first appeared on CNN