Joao Silva – Malawi Prison

Malawi Prison - 2005

Inmates of the Maula Prison sleep on the floor. They are so tightly packed that they turn over only when a designated prisoner wakes them to do so en masse. Malawi prisons do not have a bad human rights record, but are overcrowded as many of those incarcerated have been on remand for several years as a result of a lack of financial and legal resources. The nation’s 12 million citizens have 28 legal-aid attorneys and eight prosecutors with law degrees among them. The situation is repeated across the continent in countries where judicial systems are under-financed and understaffed.

Awards: World Press Photo, 2nd prize, Contemporary Issues - 2005

João Silva (b. 1966, Portugal) - a South African photographer now on contract with The New York Times - made his name while covering the violent birth pangs of a democratic South Africa. He was a member of the so-called Bang-Bang Club, a group of photographers who documented the Hostel War during the last days of Apartheid. Since he has covered the major conflicts of our time and won numerous awards.

João stepped on a mine while accompanying American soldiers patrolling an area near the town of Arghandab in southern Afghanistan on October 23rd, 2010. Despite immediate help from medics, both his legs were lost below the knees.

He stumbled upon his career when he accompanied a friend on a photo shoot in the 1980s and was instantly hooked. A contract photographer for The Times since 2000, he is also an avid motorcyclist, a husband to Viv and a father to two young children, Isabel and Gabriel.

  • With Greg Marinovich: The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War, Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition, 2001.
  • In the Company of God, STE Publishers, 2005.

Personal connection to Anton: Close friend


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