Cécile Smetana Baudier (Danish School of Journalism)
Award of Excellence
In 2015, the Mexican government finally recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey signifying a tremendous victory for the Afro-Mexican community who had up to that moment largely gone unnoticed on the margins of Mexican society.
The winds are strong, here in the region of Costa Chica and so is the sun. Because of the many trees that are cut down here, it is a haven for mosquitos, making it extra hard for the villager to work during the day. Most people wake up at five to work, in order to escape the harsh sun.
La danza de los diablos
A boy after performing The Devils Dance. It is a dance performed in Costa Chica, the Pacific coast of Guerrero and Oaxaca in Mexico.
It is performed only by boys or men. In this area all the boys dress up in red clothes, in other parts of Costa Chica, the costumes are much more dramatic. The dance itself is strikingly similar to the dances of West Africa and similar dances may be seen throughout the Diaspora.
In Mexico, it is mandatory to wear school uniforms. The girls wear white long socks and the boys long pants, regardless of the hot temperature.
The village of Chacahua, located in the national park in Oaxaca, Mexico, seems at times isolated and disconnected from the outside world. Few tourists visit here. The ones who does, arrive from the surfer town of Puerto Escondido. Most of them come because of the relaxed atmosphere and big wawes. Others come to see the bioluminscence, plancton which glowes in the dark, exsisting only at night. In order to get to Chacahua one must take a bus, change to a small local taxi and then a boat, which takes you up the river and then finally brings you to Chacahua. It is difficult to get here and expensive to leave. It costs about 50 pesos one way, which is a lot of money for most people here.
The wind is blowing harshly just before sunset.
The laguna of El Azufre, is infamous for being home to many crocodiles, but few villagers still dare to bath here
She paints her face white, with makeup powder, putting more and more on, until she achieves the look of a white woman. Karen is only 12 years old, her hair is almost blond and her eyes are light cinnamon colored. She refuses to be called afro-mexican. She says, she doesn't like the word.
In El azufre: Most inhabitants are up before sunrise, preparing for the day, before the sun gets too hot and the mosquito's too aggressive. About 2000 people are living in El Azufre. Maybe less. Most of the poulation is of African descent. Allthoug many bigger cities, with a high number of Afro-mexican citizens, are exploring their roots, most people here know very little of Africa. The Afro-Mexican history is not taught in schools and many feel that their heritage is not something to be proud of.
Afro-Mexicans here feel alienated when leaving their villages and they have therefore kept largely to themselves in the states of: Guerrero, Veracruz and Oaxaca.
The dust enters every house and every small crack in the town of EL Azufre. The men who are not fishing, usually works in the fields, cultivating peanuts under the hot sun.
Nobody owns a functioning toilet, but everybody owns a big television, which is usually placed next to the religious artifacts in the livingroom. There is no access to wifi or any newspapers here, so television has become the most significant connection to the world. Many in this particular region have lived and worked in the US, but most of them say "I will rather be poor and with my family in Mexico, then poor and alone in the US."