Moussa John Kalapo

Entering the life of a youngster who resists, despite all the temptations, the call of the Mediterranean to taste the alleged pleasures of Eldorado and fights every day against himself and against social ponderousness to have, at great effort, his daily bread, living part of that life by visiting all his areas of discomfort and his adventures that are sometimes filled with uncertainties and anguish, is an act of courage that the young Moussa Kalapo did not hesitate to express. 

His work on the life of another youngster just like him who accepted without hesitation to open his door and his heart, is a beautiful commitment for a bold photographic writing which, beyond a simple narrative, is not only a philosophical tale on the capacity for resilience of a man, but also and especially on « being here ». Because Saba is here! Omnipresent. Even though he is sometimes invisible. He is in each picture which represents a paragraph of his history, a part of his life, pious and almost ascetic or crumpled and torn like that old identity card that Kalapo shows us.

Kalapo did not only use the light of his camera to produce these beautiful images that reveal the painful journey of this youngster which belong to those we can call the ‘’survivors’’; namely these youngsters to whom life has refused to smile but who smile to life in spite of everything thanks to their faith; a faith that is often supported by a little weakness called drugs, but for whom the important thing is to be here, always standing and always ready, like warriors. Kalapo also uses the light of his empathic intelligence to write this bittersweet tale around a rebellious but likeable spirit to whom the best is not necessarily elsewhere and who shows that one can transform one’s hell in paradise through sheer will, as revealed with the last pictures of this story when Saba, who nearly bounced back, seems to say: « In spite of everything, I am here ! »

Thus, the work of Kalapo is a metaphorical celebration of the courage to stay home irrespective of the adversities and above all to stand to build oneself.

By Minga Sigui Siddick