What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?
Berlin-based journalist Trish Lorenz has been announced as the winner of the 2020/2021 Nine Dots Prize for her ‘compelling and well-evidenced’ response.
Lorenz’s winning essay argued that no question of what it means to be young in the 21st century should overlook the significant youth populations of sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Focusing on Nigeria – one of the youngest countries in the world, where more than 42% of the population is under 14 years old – as a case study, she proposes to conduct in-depth interviews and discussions with the youth population to explore the topics such as: the role urbanisation is playing in defining this generation, and how this generation is in turn redefining the notion of an African city; the emergence of a distinct generational identity across music, fashion, design, art, and culture; and how this generation is employing technological solutions to become self-sufficient and solve pan-African and global issues. She will also look at the discrepancy between the average age of the population and the age of its leaders, who are amongst the oldest in the world and focus on the activists challenging traditional societal norms and carving out a new vision of what it means to be African.
Lorenz has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She is a regular contributor to titles including The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Telegraph, among others, and her reporting has included covering stories in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. Formerly a design columnist at The Independent and the Lisbon correspondent for Monocle magazine, she covers subjects ranging from design, art and culture to travel, politics and human interest. She moved to Berlin in early 2020. Prior to that she lived in Lisbon for eight years, working as a correspondent in Portugal and the Portuguese speaking world, a role that involved travel and reporting on African Portuguese speaking countries such as Cape Verde.
Lorenz said: “I am very excited to have been chosen as this year’s winner. The topic is a subject that’s close to my heart – in my travels to African countries I’ve always been struck by the energy, commitment and positivity of the young people I’ve met. I’m very happy that the prize will give me a chance to learn more about some of their lives, achievements and ambitions and to share their stories more widely across the world.”
Soro Soke: The Young Disruptors of an African Megacity
May 26, 2022
For the first time in human history, people aged over 65 now outnumber children under five. Yet one region in the world is bucking this trend: the world’s top 20 youngest countries by population are all located in sub-Saharan Africa, and Africa’s population under 35 now equals almost a billion people. Whilst there has been much research and reportage in the West around the lives of millennials and Gen Z, little has been written on the dreams and aspirations, the fears and hopes, the needs and desires of young Africans. The Yoruba expression Soro Soke, meaning “Speak Up”, has become a clarion call for young Nigerians seeking to make their voices heard, resonating across the African continent and around the world via social media. Trish Lorenz speaks to the bright new entrepreneurs, artists, and activists of Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria, to understand what it means to be young in an otherwise ageing world.
This book is currently available to pre-order and will be free to download from 26 May 2022.
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