LIFE OF CONGOLESE REFUGEES IN KAMPALA
By Elena Habersky
Photography has always been a passion of mine since I was a child. It is a joy for me to photograph both places I have been fortunate enough to travel to and the people I meet whose stories truly shape the places in which they reside. As a researcher in the field of migration looking towards the Global South, I continually look for new and innovative ways to share my research with others, particularly with my interlocutors, that is not just written academic text.
This past March I conducted field work in Kampala, Uganda, through a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the American University in Cairo's HUSSLab. My research looks at the ways in which African refugees shape the urban areas in which they reside. Having previously conducted research in Amman and Cairo, I wanted to travel to East Africa where my interlocutors originate from. The group I chose to photograph is Congolese refugees who live in Uganda's capital. Whether it's creating music, for which their country is historically well-known, or eating traditional foods at a restaurant overlooking the downtown shopping area, my interlocutors find small comforts away from home by being together in community. Through this way of life, refugees constantly change the urban areas where they are residing, leading to positive growth of urban centers.
Elena Habersky is a Research Associate at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo (AUC). She received her MA in Migration and Refugee Studies from AUC and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork with African refugees in the urban settings of Amman, Cairo, and Kampala.