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Various people at different stages of life and age.Grafik: Tobias Schrank © Goethe-Institut

Family Matters

The Family Matters project explores various aspects of the social family unit in seven African countries. From religion and finances to marriage and travel: 29 families tell their stories through interviews, in video, audio, photographic and textual format. This online exhibition of the project’s content provides viewers with insight regarding people’s perception of the family unit, power dynamics, how far the concept of a family extends and relations with previous generations.

Portrait photo of the Bonkoungou Famiy © Harouna Marané

Burkina Faso

Three men share their stories of marriage, religion and the traditional way of life that all unite a family by the bond of blood. Without a family, an individual does not exist and a child does not only belong to a family, they also belong to the community. The connectedness of humanity and the relevance of maintaining those connections have never been more important.

Portrait picture of the Kruger/Ndamonako Family © Lila Swanepoel for Goethe-Institut


Five families of diverse cultures and histories share their understanding of the family unit that is not always traditional. Stories of the LGBTQ+ community and other forms of unconventional families are in contrast to the religious and heterosexual ways of life. The short videos are not campaign material for any ideologies and provide viewers with enough experience to identify themselves and stimulate conversation.

The Mwami Family © Myra Dunoyer Vahighene for Goethe-Institut

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC is explored through the eyes of royalty, an urban family, a polygamist Muslim and a mother of six with a drunk husband. From the preservation of traditions and customs to the importance of tertiary education and relations with previous generations, the videos allow a viewer into the homes of individuals.

Arya's family is gathering in the kitchen Julian Manjahi/Goethe-Institut Nairobi


Women from Kenya welcome us into their lives of chosen families, refugee status and homelessness. The Covid Pandemic has accelerated many developments in people’s lives; some good and some bad.  A man shares his story of a long distance relationship. Despite the “new norm” and unprecedented events of sadness, one thing remains: the community spirit of humanity.

The Simons Family © Zara Julius

South Africa

The South Africa known to the world is explored through the eyes of two families who value and stress the importance of religion and its relations with culture. Learn about the Lemba people in Shayandima – the lost Jews of Israel – and enter the home of the Simons family in the Bo Kaap, Cape Town. Explore oral tradition and the passing of knowledge down generations, and jive with a Cape Minstrel troupe along the streets of a Muslim community.

Portrait picture of Betty Mukamulisa © Goethe-Intitut Ruanda


Having a history like Ruanda, makes it almost impossible to not confront the past. Particularly when examining the diverse understandings of the family unit that for some extends no further than the immediate family. Regardless, the post-colonial citizens or “born frees” have not lost the spirit of humanity and regard the family as the starting point of life. Individuals allow viewers into the emotions of a daughter and communicate how love gives confidence.

Portrait photo of Carlos Lamartine Susana Maria dos Santos © Goethe-Institut Angola


Individuals share some of their colonial history and civil war experiences, while the younger generations share theirs of studying abroad, being raised by grandparents and returning to Angola. The individual profiles and photos are viewers’ entry points to connect with the storyteller.