“Afronauts” by Spanish photographer Cristina De Middel is a fictional photo essay inspired by the true story of Zambian school teacher and eccentric Edward Makuka Nkoloso, who started an unofficial amateur space program in his home country in 1964, during the height of the Space Race.
Here is a video of the story that inspired the photo series. The video below mocks the attempt for the space mission, but it served as an inspiration to many artists and filmakers.
Hinted in Alexis Madrigal’s blog post about Nkoloso, Old, Weird Tech: The Zambian Space Cult of the 1960s, is a sense of the end of liberation struggle, Zambia’s independence day celebrations and, perhaps, the same kind of naiveté, optimism and euphoria we’ve seen frozen and capsuled by photographers like Philippe Koudjina and Malick Sidebe in the black and white pictures they took of Malian youth in that hopeful time.
Zambia’s forgotten space program 1964