Victoria in Black and White

Limbe (Cameroon)

26-31 January 2015

4-14 April 2015

The photographs in this on-line gallery were exhibited in Limbe (Victoria untill 1982), Cameroon twice in 2015: at the Community Hall from 26 to 31 January in the framework  of the Photo Festival "Reinterpreting Historical Photographs" and at the Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) from 4 to 14 April.

This exhibition was curated by Rosario Mazuela and Jürg Schneider. Mounted as part of a bigger project African Photography Initiatives has been carrying out in the Press Photo Archive Buea it coincided with the conference “Validating Historical Photographs and the Role of the Archive”, held from 27-29 January 2015 in Buea.

Both shows offered the Limbe's population great opportunities to enjoy significant moments of their individual and collective past and to re-appropriate their collective visual memory.

The photographs are part of the Press Photo Archives Buea/PPAB which was created over many years through the activities of the Photographic Section of the Southern Cameroons Information Service and later the Ministry of Communication. The Information Service started its activities as early as 1955. The photographers working with the Information Service covered all the important political, social and cultural events in what was then the Southern Cameroons and later West Cameroon. The Press Photo Archives Buea closed in 2005. By then, however, with the last remaining photographer retiring in the mid-1990s it had already lost much of its vitality.

At the height of the Information Service’s activities, Emmanuel M. Mbwaye who was its first photographer, was overseeing seven employees: photographers, a librarian and archivist as well as several lab assistants. The Press Photo Archives supplied pictures to nearly all newspapers and magazines in the Anglophone part of Cameroon like "Panorama", "Cameroon Times", "Cameroon Outlook", etc. Its main objective was to bear witness to all governmental activities and events happening in the Cameroon's Anglophone part.

In 2013 and 2014, African Photography Initiatives implemented a project in the Press Photo Archives which succeeded in protecting and digitizing more than 40.000 negatives and groundsheets.

The following selection of 36 images provide a fascinating insight into Limbe's cultural and political live, its emblematic buildings and places and its people between 1955 and 1983.

 Please click here if you want to visit the On-line exhibition

 NTS 2721 NTS 2726 NTS 2859
NTS 2866  NTS 2867 NTS 2880
 NTS 2886  P1110045 PW cameroon APHI-24 2