Lloyd Foster is the visionary behind Watoto Wa Tanzania (2020), a vibrant glimpse of Tanzanian beauty and culture. The Ghanaian-American photographer has captured the children of Tanzania in Mainsprings, a local NGO in Kitongo. Here, there are no allusions to poverty, no emphasis on struggle or grief. Rather, we see the children showing joy, quirk, shyness and a broad spectrum of emotion. Backgrounded by traditional prints called ‘Kanga’, originating from Tanzania and Kenya, the pattern compliments the children and powerfully magnifies them. In Foster’s own words, “although these girls may not have parents in a traditional sense, they are the children of Tanzania.’’
Foster’s use of the Kanga alludes to its beginnings as a garment, for the then slaves of Zanzibar. Although, it most importantly embodies the evolution of the garment itself, as a current symbol of empowerment. This is due to its gradual, sentimental transformation throughout liberation. These historical nuances and focus on agency add a valuable, unmistakable dimension to the work. Watoto Wa Tanzania dives deeper than an average photo-series, as it explores the powerful intricacies of history.