democraSEE 3
Announcing the Recipient of the democraSEE 3



Mauro Vombe

is the recipient of the democraSEE 3 award. With the R40,000 grant, he will work in collaboration with a mentor/curator of choice, to produce a body of work over the next year. Further, he will be supported through critique sessions with various appointed subject and practice experts, as well as support from Photo:. On completion, the work will be published on

Mauro Vombe,born (1988) and based in Maputo, Mozambique, started photographing in 2006. His work connects to his earlier experience in theatre, unveiling hidden feelings and creating a form of collective or individual representation, and finds resonance from his work as news and events reporter. Vombe has received numerous awards locally and internationally. He participated in an exhibition dedicated to the 40 years of Mozambican photojournalism at Foundation Fernado Leite Couto in 2015. In 2017 he was an invited participant in the ‘Catchupa Factory’, in Mindelo, Cape Verde. In 2018 he was shortlisted for the democraSEE 2 award. 


Vombe was announced the recipient of the award at the Catchupa Factory in Mindelo, Cabo Verde on 4 Jul 2018. The shortlist included Alexia Webster (South Africa) and Xoliswa Ngwenya (South Africa).

Notes from the selection panel:

Mfundi Vundla: 

Good visual sense, looking at what people do every day to survive. There is a story behind every individual – all trying to create a better life for themselves – this struggle for survival. 

Berry Bickle:
Extra-ordinary work. The images are a contemporary visual statement, and carry contentious issues of the urban. So many issues are compacted into these images. What he finally is talking about is very humane. It touches on the urban in general. Even though these are images from Maputo, it speaks to most African cities. What is special is that Vombe is from a new generation with a new vision. 

John Fleetwood:
The work is really arresting as a cohesive artistic work and as a social document. It feels very universal on one level and on another, it is very specific to the place - as if a metaphor. Think there are great possibilities to develop it from here, in positioning self. Proposal is underdeveloped. Compelling images in their flatness and reduction.