Cristina de Middel


The Afronauts

In 1964, still living the dream of a recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African on the moon, as it began the drive to catch up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race.

Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambitious program and getting the necessary funding.

But the financial aid never came as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts, a 16-year-old girl, got pregnant and had to quit. So the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode of African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.

As a photojournalist I have always been attracted by eccentric lines of storytelling, avoiding the same old subjects told in the same old ways.

Now, with my personal projects, I respect the basis of the truth, but allow myself to break the rules of veracity trying to push the audience into analysing the patterns of the stories we consume as real.

Afronauts is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures. I start from a real event that took place 50 years ago, and rebuild the documents, adapting them to my personal imagery.

the documents adapting them to my personal imagery.