Photography: Capturing life in Nigeria’s Borno State post Boko Haram

photographer fati abubakar

Almost two years after more than 200 girls went missing in Chibok, part of Nigeria’s Borno State, Boko Haram remains prevalent in the area.

The world has moved on, but the girls remain missing. Amongst the anxiety created by sporadic bombings and shootings, those who live in Borno have tried to maintain a semblance of dignity.

Nigerian photographer Fati Abubakar’s images hopes to capture this, giving a glimpse into the lives of residents of Maiduguri, the capital of  Borno State. The city is where Boko Haram Islamists are thought to have initially been based with 17,000 people reported to have been killed so far in the region. The most recent reported attack in October involved five child suicide bombers.

Through her Instagram account @bitsofborno, Abubakar has been steadily capturing everyday normality in the region. She is also a nurse working in Maiduguri. Her account hopes to offer a local experience rather than the exotic humanism captured through Western lenses.

First published as part of Africa is a Country’s #InstantArchives series, it offers a fresh and joyful viewpoint as well as a more complex understanding of Maiduguri, known to locals as Yerwa.

The #InstantArchives series hopes to share a different visual perspective on some of the issues happening with the African continent.

“I love photography and love what it can do as a medium to tell a story,” Abubakar says, adding “the religious  crisis that has ravaged it [Maiduguri]  showcases only the trauma and despair while forgetting that there are survivors trying to lead normal lives and go every day despite insurgency.”

For Abubakar, “it is as vital to show resilience as it is death and destruction. Hence my need to capture this aspect of our lives”.