Empower 20 million Africans to sustainably provide for themselves by 2032.

Photo Essay

Mother’s Day


“When a child is asleep a mother’s attention is on the child’s stomach.”

African proverb

End of the day: Paulina Tchiyunge works in a field with one of her four living children. She has lost three children due to a lack of access to healthcare in Angola.

On Mother’s Day, ForAfrika’s chief photographer, Sulette Theron reflects on her visits to different African countries and the mothers she has come across:

“Mother’s Day is celebrated in a number of countries across the world. It is a day that acknowledges mothers and the roles they fill in various societies.

But, there are many, many mothers in the world who go unacknowledged. For them it is just another day - no flowers, gifts or cards. But, every day they are mothers - carrying huge burdens.

In my travels through Africa, I have come across a lot of mothers, grandmothers, aunts and kind neighbours worrying about where the next meal will come from, their children’s education, clean water, warm clothes, where they will sleep after a flood…

I’ve watched mothers lose children and still keep going. They don’t give up. They are the ones wanting to change their circumstances, the ones who are loudest at meetings, the ones wanting to comfort others.

I can't imagine going through the trauma some of these women have experienced.

And yet, despite this, they are able to smile at the small things, like when they spot their children play and laugh. They are able to leap up and dance to show their happiness or gratitude.

I’ve seen this strength and I am grateful that they have taught me to find pleasure in the simple things; a quiet acceptance.

This Mother’s Day, I’d like to pay tribute to them.

Clinic life: Mothers in South Sudan often have to walk miles and miles to get treatment for their young children.

Time for play: Maria and her daughter Teresa play with ‘toys’ outside their home in Baia Farta, Angola. The area has suffered the worst drought in 40 years.

Double the love: Maria Jose and her granddaughters get ready for the evening at her house in Cubal, Angola.

In a foreign land: Joyce Adare and her daughter Jane have found refuge in Uganda after conflict drove them out of South Sudan.

New home: Joaquina Joaquim is starting her life over again in Nseue, Mozambique after insurgents destroyed her home.

Feeding strength: Mothers give their children therapeutic milk at Benguela Malnutrition Clinic in Angola.

Happy times: A mother and daughter moment in Waju, Uganda.

Patience: A mother and her daughter wait for food at a distribution centre in Mahumbulo Village, Angola.

Safe spot: Manta Albino after fleeing to safety with her child during Cyclone Freddy in Mozambique.