Anoek Steketee & Eefje Blankevoort, Winner POPCAP'14

Anoek Steketee, Born in 1974 in Hoorn, The Netherlands. Lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Eefje Blankevoort, born in 1978 in Montreal, Canada. Lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Love Radio, 2014

Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda, during which almost one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered, photographer Anoek Steketee and journalist and filmmaker Eefje Blankevoort present Love Radio – Episodes of love and hate, a multimedia project about the complex process of reconciliation, based on a popular radio soap.

In an effort to prevent new outbreaks of violence, radio soap Musekeweya (‘New Dawn’) was created by NGO Radio La Benevolencija ten years ago. On the same frequency that in 1994 incited Hutu gangs to kill, Musekeweya today broadcasts a message of reconciliation. The soap is hugely popular, with an estimated 80% of the Rwandan population tuning in to the weekly episodes.

The story line in Musekeweya takes place in Muhumuro and Bumanzi, two fictional villages that hate each other’s guts. Musekeweya seems to be a fairly normal soap at first, full of romances, intrigues and villains with resounding names like Rutaganira and Zaninka. The love between Shema en Batamuriza is like a Rwandan ‘Romeo and Juliet’. But there is a major difference: the soap is supposed to do more than just entertain; it is also intended to convey to listeners how violence begins and how it can be prevented. While the radio show has an idealistic premise, this project also raises some questions. Can fiction get people to reconcile? Or is this positive voice merely a veneer in a country still coping with the traumas of the genocide? And what does reconciliation actually mean?

The project straddles the boundary between fact and fiction. The photographs do not take a purely documentary approach. The camera is used not only to raise social issues, but also as a tool for the imagination. By playing with light and partially directing the subjects, alienating images emerge, with the surroundings as an gloomy stage set.