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Culture

A Life in a Day

On Thursday, 100 of the world’s best photojournalists will fan out across 53 countries. Their assignment: To capture life in the entire African continent in one day.

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Project directors Lee Liberman (right) and David Cohen on a location scout in Soweto, South Africa

At midnight, February 28, 100 photographers from 18 nations loaded their digital cameras and set about on a project unprecedented in the history of photography – to record a day in the life of the African continent.

From Cairo to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa consists of 53 countries, one billion people and over 800 ethnic groups. "A Day in the Life of Africa" will celebrate the breathtaking beauty, colourful traditions, exotic wildlife and staggering political, social and economical changes in this vast continent.

While the photographers swarm out into Africa’s 53 states to capture scenes of everyday African life, project director David Cohen will be biting his nails in suspense. "I am scared to death", he says of his innovation – this time, all 100 photographers will be working with digital cameras for the first time, and not on film.

In the hot spots

Project director David Cohen has produced 11 "Day in the Life" titles, including volumes on China, Russia and Japan. "A day in the Life of Africa" is the latest – and one of the most dangerous.

Photographers taking part in the Africa project will be in the hot spots too, including Angola and Sierra Leone.

Only experienced photographers will be on the project, including two from Germany, Gerd Ludwig and Peter Bialobrzski.

The team will include photojournalists from the African continent, to get "both an inside and outside view", says Cohen, who has worked in Sierra Leone and has travelled the world with wife and children.

The team of acclaimed photographers will be made up of numerous Pulitzer Prize- and World Press Photo winners.

A rich tapestry of life

After gathering in Paris to receive their various assignments and to get accustomed to their new digital cameras, the group was dispatched to locations ranging from Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge and the teeming bazaars of Dakar, to the Congo’s dense jungles and the barren Saharan deserts. African schools, workplaces and homes will be captured on digital memory, to create a rich tapestry of African life as it is today.

A selection of 300 photos from the expected 50,000 images will later be published in a book, to be sold for charity. All profits of the Africa book will go to various African AIDS charity funds.

David Cohen and Rick Smolan’s "A Day in the Life of America" book sold 1.3 million copies.

The projects have been made possible by generous grants from business, technologay and travel.

Cohen’s "Day in the Life" projects have raised up to a million dollars for charitable causes.

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