Exhibition: ‘The Duty to Remember’ – Human Rights Week, 2020

Exhibition: ‘The Duty to Remember’ – take an interactive stroll around a virtual 3D exhibition, featuring colour portraits by Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – from ‘Gambia-victims, and resisters’, and black and white portraits by Muhammed Bittaye.

Remembrance is an essential step in the transitional justice process. With this in mind, the NGO ANEKED has created “The Duty to Remember”, a memorial intended to offer a space in which the relatives of the victims of Yahya Jammeh’s regime in The Gambia can mourn, remember and reflect. TRIAL International

The virtual exhibition – organized and designed by the University of Geneva – is in collaboration with ANEKED (African Network Against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances) forms part of Human Rights Week, 2020. Supported by TRIAL International.

‘The Duty to Remember’

‘Since its creation in 2013 (Human Rights Week), under the impetus of Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey , the event has evolved into a rendezvous rich in events in various formats: conferences, debates, film screenings, exhibitions, artistic performances, but also an academic colloquium and activities offered to secondary school students.


Human Rights Week is intended to be a space not only for reflection, but also for public debate while promoting concrete actions. It provides a platform for personalities or organizations who mobilize to defend human rights and for specialists who devote their research to this topic. The different formats offer spaces for discussion with the public and the student community in order to inform, but also to give impetus to longer-term commitments, whether in the context of academic courses or to act for the causes defended by the various actors who are invited to participate in the Week…’
University of Geneva

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

‘#Portraits4PositiveChange’
Exhibition: The Duty to Remember - Human Rights Week, Geneva, November 2020. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio 'Gambia-victims and resisters'
‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ #Portraits4PositiveChange: Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, is the sole survivor of the 2005 massacre in The Gambia of over 50 West African migrants, trying to get to Europe. Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, is the sole survivor, in 2005, of the massacre of over 50 West African migrants, who were endeavouring to reach Europe. “When one of the soldiers used his cutlass to cut off Adamo’s his shoulder and the blood is flowing all over the place…I think we realized then, that the soldiers wanted to kill us all.” They were all killed on orders of President Yahya Jammeh, fearing that they were coup plotters. Image © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

‘The Duty to Remember’

Exhibition: The Duty to Remember - Human Rights Week, Geneva, November 2020. Black and white portrait ©Muhammed Bittaye
Exhibition: The Duty to Remember – Human Rights Week, Geneva. Image ©Muhammed Bittaye/BITZ Photography

This is our second collaborative exhibition with ANEKED. Earlier in 2020, we exhibited a number of our ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters portraits at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, in Banjul, The Gambia.

Huge thanks to ANEKED for pulling this together during this time of COVID-19, and to the exhibition design team at the University of Geneva for creating an amazing fully interactive 3D virtual exhibition. And, as always, we are truly honored to be able to share the stories of so many of the victims, resisters, and survivors of the 22-year rule of Yahya Jammeh‘s regime.

Take a stroll around the exhibition

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio

Photography/Filmmaking/Production

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio - wet plate collodion print portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski
Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio – portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski
CURRENT LOCATION WITH JASON FLORIO: NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA
Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here
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Header Image © Jason Florio The Duty to Remember’

The Gambia – R.I.P. Radio Syd. The first commercial radio station in Africa

The Gambia – R.I.P. Radio Syd, the first commercial radio station in Africa. I was extremely saddened to hear that Radio Syd had been almost entirely destroyed in a fire earlier this year, January 2020. Thankfully, the Swedish couple, Benny and Connie, who used to operate the radio station turned guesthouse, survived the fire but lost everything.

Gambia - R.I.P. Radio Syd the exterior of what was the first commercial radio station in Africa, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
The Gambia – R.I.P. Radio Syd the first commercial radio station in Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

Radio Syd (‘Radio South’) was a Swedish pirate radio station. It began life as Skånes Radio Mercur, the first “pirate radio” in Sweden, and started to broadcast in December 1958.

Having heard stories about the history of Radio Syd over the years I’ve spent in The Gambia, driving to the capital, Banjul, the other day, I was shocked to see what was left of the building that used to house the old radio station. Particularly as, a few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the Swedish couple, Benny and Connie, who had helped to run the radio station (which had long since been turned into a guesthouse). Benny made us his delicious homemade shipa shipa – sautéd shrimp – dish. Afterwards, he even showed us what was left of the old control room, by now dilapidated, which housed only a few of the remaining dusty relics of the original broadcasting equipment.

“Never did I imagine, when naming the station ‘Radio Syd’, that we would end up this far south” Britt Wadner/Founder

Connie is the daughter of the founder of Radio Syd, Britt Wadner (1915-1987). Wadner was also known as thepirate queen. The story goes that when Wadner was prohibited – and imprisoned for a short period for violation of broadcasting laws – from operating her pirate radio station in international waters between Sweden and Denmark, she decided to sail a boat – Cheeta 11′ – to find a new place to transmit. The boat eventually ended up off the coast of The Gambia, West Africa. Wadner was granted a license to transmit and in May 1970 Radio Syd went live, broadcasting to The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal. The station finally ceased to transmit when the antennae collapsed in September 2002.

Gambia - R.I.P. Radio Syd the exterior of what was the first commercial radio station in Africa, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
The Gambia – R.I.P. Radio Syd the first commercial radio station in Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

A slice of history is about to totally disappear (be demolished!) from The Gambia. R.I.P. Radio Syd, and all who sailed in her.

Helen Jones-Florio

Photos Tell Stories

Helen Jones-Florio, and Madi Sonko, on location walking through the streets of urban Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio
Helen Jones-Florio, and Madi Sonko, on location in Essau, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio
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CURRENT LOCATION WITH JASON FLORIO: NOVEMBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA
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Header Image: The Gambia – R.I.P. Radio Syd – what is left of the recently demolished building, Banjul Highway, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jone-Florio  (Nov 2020)

Photo of the Day: Filmmakers, Jason Florio and Andy Thompson, documentary-making in The Gambia, West Africa

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Image: Photographer and filmmaker Jason Florio, filming an interview with a young Gambian man, for a short documentary about security sector reform (SSR) in The Gambia, with co-director, Andy Thompson/Gaia Media. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

CURRENT LOCATION: NOVEMBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA
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International Photography Awards – Honorable Mention: ‘The Gambia – victims, and resisters’

Thank you to all the jurors of the International Photography Awards (IPA), 2020, for honoring our multimedia series, ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters‘ This honorable mention – in the Deeper Perspective category – is yet another step towards reaching a wider audience with this body of work, particularly for all the victims, resisters, and survivors who have been part of this ongoing project. We thank them for sharing their experiences with us. Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

'Gambia - victims, and resisters' by Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio
International Photography Awards – Honorable Mention: ‘The Gambia – victims, and resisters’ ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio. Mr.Njie – in his taxi which was confiscated by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for many months

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa as his fiefdom, crushing dissent and opposition with brutality. His hit squad and security services carried out tortures, assassinations and acts of sexual violence with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, students shot in cold blood, and even his cousins were murdered on his order. The portraits and collected testimonies are part of an ongoing project to share the stories of the victims and resisters and to be a tool of advocacy in the international campaign to bring Jammeh and his cadre to justice. Gambia – victims, and resisters’ by Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

Bintu was detained and raped by 3 masked security officers - Gambia victims and resisters portraits ©Jason Florio
Bintu was detained and raped by 3 masked security officers when she was detained. Image © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

#Jammeh2Justice

Related posts: 

The Photoville FENCE, 2020: ‘The Gambia-victims, and resisters’

El Pais – ‘Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship’

CURRENT LOCATION: OCTOBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA
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