NAIROBI, KENYA AND WASHINGTON D.C., U.S., March 3, 2022 – World Wildlife Day: Building upon the success of the inaugural Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards in 2021, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) officially open submissions for the 2022 edition of the prestigious annual award. Competition participants will have from March 3 to June 1, 2022, to submit photos for consideration by the panel of world-class judges and conservation advocates.
Mkapa Awards entrants have the opportunity to win cash awards totaling $30,000 USD,
handcrafted sculptures, and large-format exhibition recognition within 13 separate
contest categories, and one Grand Prize.
Photographers of every age, background, and level of camera experience from Africa and across the globe are invited to enter the competition. The 2022 results will be revealed at the 2nd awards ceremony and exhibition opening on October 27, 2022, at the Nairobi National Museum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Adding a very personal legacy connection to this program, the Mkapa Awards are named in honor of the late, iconic African leader and former Tanzanian President, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, for his dedication to conservation education throughout Africa, and his passionate support of AWF programs.
Former First Lady of the Republic of Tanzania and widow to the late H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, Mrs. Anna Mkapa said, “It is an honor to see this great competition enter its second edition. It gives me great pride to be associated with an African name that will transcend the hands of time because of the integrity and passion exhibited by my late husband.”
She added, “The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards are a true embodiment of what the late Mzee would have loved to see in every African. I would therefore like to wish all the potential entrants the best of luck as they put their talents to good use, and I look forward to announcing the winners later this year! Let us continue to make Mzee proud!”
“Bringing Africa to the World, and the World to Africa” defines this global competition, geared towards developing new, multi-media platforms that engage and involve Africans and those traveling to Africa in a blended narrative of conservation and visual storytelling.
“In alignment with our 60th Anniversary celebration at AWF, we are proud to open the 2022 Benjamin Mkapa Awards competition on World Wildlife Day as it represents such vital storytelling and conservation-driven initiatives throughout the continent,” said AWF Senior Vice President and program co-founder Craig Sholley.
Speaking from the inaugural Awards event last year in Nairobi, Kenya, AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya said, “One of African Wildlife Foundation’s primary goals for the next decade is to inspire, foster, and support African conservation leadership and engagement. This goal could not be more vital. In developing the Mkapa Awards concept, we knew that an annual global photo competition that spoke to youth and Africa’s specific conservation challenges would resonate far beyond the contest at hand.”
In line with AWF’s mission to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa and Nature’s Best’s initiative to display the beauty, diversity, and importance of wild Africa, our collaborative goals are to attract photographers at all levels of expertise, while encouraging young talent to become advocates for generational behavioral change towards wildlife conservation. This impressive body of work will bring immediate and long-lasting impact to public understanding and stewardship of wild Africa.
The Mkapa Photographer of the Year will win a grand prize award of $5,000 USD, a stone elephant sculpture, and an interview in Nature’s Best Photography magazine’s100-page Special Edition devoted to the Mkapa Photography Awards. In addition, category winners will each receive $1,000 USD, a stone elephant sculpture, and be featured, along with selected Highly Honored photographs, in the Special Edition. All winning images and videos will be displayed at the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya and other venues across Africa and the USA.
Zander Galli, the 2021 Mkapa Awards Youth International winner, said, “I recently received the Mkapa award sculpture — it’s absolutely stunning! What a remarkable piece of art and such an inspiring story behind it. These opportunities still feel like a dream, and I truly can’t thank you enough for this stage to share my work and help motivate conservation action!”
The competition will enhance the visibility of African wildlife through the following categories: African Conservation Heroes, Coexistence and Conflict, African Wildlife at Risk, Fragile Wilderness, African Wildlife Behavior, African Wildlife Portraits, Africa’s Backyard Wildlife, Art in Nature, Creative Digital, Mobile, Africa in Motion/Video, and two Youth Photographers of the Year.
In further elaboration of the Mkapa Awards, Nature’s Best Photography President, Stephen Freligh, says, “Through my 40 years as a publisher of photographic works, I have personally witnessed the positive results of combining the creative and documentary talents of professional, amateur, and youth photographers alike. Their extraordinary memories are our new, defining discoveries and their stories are our ever-changing window into nature.”
Learn more and see the winning photos
ABOUT AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science, and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wildlands. Learn more at www.awf.org
ABOUT NATURE’S BEST PHOTOGRAPHY
Now celebrating its 26th anniversary, Nature’s Best Photography was founded to inspire, educate, and motivate a better understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural world through the art of photography, storytelling, and personal wellness initiatives. This dynamic public engagement platform has produced award-winning publications, large-format print exhibitions, multimedia televised presentations, and prestigious museum events hosted around the globe. Visit https://www.naturesbestphotography.org/
Mrs. Anna Mkapa, former First Lady of Tanzania, at the inaugural Mkapa Photo Awards ceremony at the Nairobi National Museum on Oct. 28, 2021.
The specially-commissioned Mkapa Awards sculpture prizes are based on unique African art forms and provide important economic support to artisanal communities based in Africa. The sculptures depict the African elephant—arguably the continent’s most iconic wildlife species and emblematic of the African Wildlife Foundation logo and brand throughout its 60-year-long history.