American Pictures - a non-profit organisation 

American Pictures is an American non-profit organization, which supports anti-racism work in the U.S. It accepts tax-deductible donations for its work. 

Its European counterpart - Foundation for Humanitarian Aid to Africa - gave aid to projects in the countries surrounding South Africa in order to strengthen these in their struggle against apartheid. 

For fear of being accused of aiding violent struggles, American Pictures did not give direct aid to the ANC, but supported projects which were approved by the European Union - usually with matching funds either from the Danish government or the EU. 

Woman in doorway of shack, Alabama

The first project was the Nyafaru school in Zimbabwe built for refugee children returning from Mozambique after Zimbabwe's struggle against apartheid ended. 

Also American Pictures sent tractor and farm machinery to the Batsiranai Farm Co-operative set up for 800 former freedom fighters, who had been given 5000 acres of land by the new black government. These formerly land less peasants now tried to compete with Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers, who still owns the majority of the good land. 

To aid Namibia's struggle against apartheid American Pictures helped set up a nursing school for SWAPO, whose freedom fighters in neighboring Angola wanted to train nurses for an independent and free Namibia. 
After independence, Jacob Holdt was invited to Namibia and met the many people who claimed
they would not have been alive today without his help. 

Old woman in North Carolina

Americans often ask why the funds from a production based on a psychological system of apartheid in America were used in Africa. 

The group of volunteers around American Pictures in Europe - not least the black Americans - were of the opinion that the struggle against apartheid and ghettoization is universal - and that the cause of black Americans at that point in history would be furthered most by bringing an end to the systematic, blatant and violent system of apartheid in Southern Africa. Furthermore, they felt that Americans would find it condescending if Europeans started to send aid to a rich country such as the U.S. which can easily afford to bring an end to it's poverty problems if it decides to. 

Old woman with grand child in North Carolina

When American Pictures moved to America - and European funds therefore dried up - the Foundation for Humanitarian Aid to Africa was closed down. 

The hope was that American Pictures would be equally successful in America. This remains to be seen! So far there has never been enough money for a salary to Jacob Holdt, who as a result must work most of the year in Europe. 



Other pages under this menu:

Hitchhiking stretches         
Map of the 400  homes I lived in
American Pictures Foundation       
My non-violent approach to photography

Future of American Pictures        
Sponsors of my travel photography



  This page in Danish

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