John T. Pedersen Photography - 2018 BOXING IN KATANGA   THE BIG FIGHT:   This is the story of Moreen Ajambo. The story of hope. The story of not hanging at the ropes. The story of a big fight.   She is a 30 years mother of seven children, and she´s a boxer at the Rhino boxing club in Katanga, a large slum settlement in Kampala.  Since 2007 Moreen has been a member of the Ugandaen female national boxing team. Participated in international tournaments, such as Inter city tournaments in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as the East and Central African tournament. With several trophies.   In 2014, she participated in AIBA Womens World Boxing Championships - Lightweightweight in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Here she lost at TKO in the first round against Nazym Kyzaibay from Kazakhstan, who again became world cha

2018

BOXING IN KATANGA

 

THE BIG FIGHT:

 

This is the story of Moreen Ajambo. The story of hope. The story of not hanging at the ropes. The story of a big fight.

 

She is a 30 years mother of seven children, and she´s a boxer at the Rhino boxing club in Katanga, a large slum settlement in Kampala.  Since 2007 Moreen has been a member of the Ugandaen female national boxing team.

Participated in international tournaments, such as Inter city tournaments in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as the East and Central African tournament. With several trophies.

 

In 2014, she participated in AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships - Lightweightweight in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Here she lost at TKO in the first round against Nazym Kyzaibay from Kazakhstan, who again became world cha

John T. Pedersen Photography - She hopes to do well in all upcoming African tournaments, and again qualify for the World Championship, and then the Olympic Games.     There is a major challenge for me says Moreen Ajambo. There are no boxers who are at a higher level than me in Uganda, so I have to leave the country to find these. In countries like Kenya and Tanzania. To do this I need support and money, something that makes it difficult for me to accomplish.     The boxing club receives no outside funding. Men’s boxing has a long history in Uganda, but women boxers are often frustrated by the few opportunities to compete at an international level.

She hopes to do well in all upcoming African tournaments, and again qualify for the World Championship, and then the Olympic Games.

 

 

There is a major challenge for me says Moreen Ajambo.

There are no boxers who are at a higher level than me in Uganda, so I have to leave the country to find these. In countries like Kenya and Tanzania.

To do this I need support and money, something that makes it difficult for me to accomplish.

 

 

The boxing club receives no outside funding. Men’s boxing has a long history in Uganda, but women boxers are often frustrated by the few opportunities to compete at an international level.

John T. Pedersen Photography - THE SLUM:   More than 20,000 people live in Katanga, crowded together and often in extreme poverty.   Moreen grew up in a rough an poor neighborhood of Katanga with her mum and step dad. She has been living here all her life, with terrible sanitary conditions and open sewers in the streets.

THE SLUM:

 

More than 20,000 people live in Katanga, crowded together and often in extreme poverty.

 

Moreen grew up in a rough an poor neighborhood of Katanga with her mum and step dad. She has been living here all her life, with terrible sanitary conditions and open sewers in the streets.

John T. Pedersen Photography - THE FATHER:     “I never saw my biological dad”   I only knew him from the stories my mother told me. That he was a Samia (tribe) from Eastern Uganda, who used to work at the railway. My mother hated him, he was abusive. Later on she left him and remarried another man, my stepfather.   He died in 2006 following contraction of HIV/AIDS virus.

THE FATHER:

 

 

“I never saw my biological dad”

 

I only knew him from the stories my mother told me. That he was a Samia (tribe) from Eastern Uganda, who used to work at the railway.

My mother hated him, he was abusive. Later on she left him and remarried another man, my stepfather.

 

He died in 2006 following contraction of HIV/AIDS virus.

John T. Pedersen Photography - THE MOTHER:   The death of my stepfather left me the responsibility of having to look after my infected mother. I had to start doing petty jobs, from being a house help to cleaning and cooking in local restaurants.  This for as low as 100 Ugandan shillings daily. (0,27 us dollar)   “I had to beg a lot to feed my selfe and my mother

THE MOTHER:

 

The death of my stepfather left me the responsibility of having to look after my infected mother. I had to start doing petty jobs, from being a house help to cleaning and cooking in local restaurants. 

This for as low as 100 Ugandan shillings daily. (0,27 us dollar)

 

“I had to beg a lot to feed my selfe and my mother"

John T. Pedersen Photography - I was born with two siblings, a brother that died as an infant and a big sister that had got married at a young age to an abusive drunkard, that forced her to cut off her ties with the family.   Moreen never listen to the sound of the gon gong: Her mother’s sickness took a toll on Moreen as a young teenager.  One day her mother got so sick and Moreen didn’t have any money for transport, she carried her mother to hospital by herself. Along the way, she met a stranger that offered to help.   The mother’s condition got worse to a point where her ARVs (Antiretroviral HIV medication) could were no longer effective. She passed on a few days later.

I was born with two siblings, a brother that died as an infant and a big sister that had got married at a young age to an abusive drunkard, that forced her to cut off her ties with the family.

 

Moreen never listen to the sound of the gon gong: Her mother’s sickness took a toll on Moreen as a young teenager. 

One day her mother got so sick and Moreen didn’t have any money for transport, she carried her mother to hospital by herself. Along the way, she met a stranger that offered to help.

 

The mother’s condition got worse to a point where her ARVs (Antiretroviral HIV medication) could were no longer effective.

She passed on a few days later.

John T. Pedersen Photography - THE FRUSTRATED CHILD:   This began a new chapter of trials, she was hopeless, hungry and homeless. Her half-siblings had taken over the little rooms that her mom and stepdad had left behind. Her step brother burnt everything that belonged to her and her mother.   All these factors weighed Moreen down and made her an angry and a frustrated child. She watched violent movies in slum`s ghetto cinemas and wanted to try whatever she saw in the movies. From boxing, wrestling, fighting to tai chi.   “Rockey Balboa was my favourite actor”

THE FRUSTRATED CHILD:

 

This began a new chapter of trials, she was hopeless, hungry and homeless. Her half-siblings had taken over the little rooms that her mom and stepdad had left behind.

Her step brother burnt everything that belonged to her and her mother.

 

All these factors weighed Moreen down and made her an angry and a frustrated child.

She watched violent movies in slum`s ghetto cinemas and wanted to try whatever she saw in the movies. From boxing, wrestling, fighting to tai chi.

 

“Rockey Balboa was my favourite actor”

John T. Pedersen Photography - “I was really frustrated at that time”   Moreen talks of the hard times: I felt hopeless and was depresses, of doing all the petty jobs to survive.  This made me start streetfighting with the boys in the slum, as a way of letting out all the frustration inside my head.    It was during one of such days when she had gone to the cinema when she met Mudde Ntambi, a local professional boxer who was famous for fighting for money in Uganda and abroad. Mudde was curious about what a young lady was doing in a cinema infamously known to show translated fighting movies.  An area that was no place for girls.   Moreen explained her love for fighting and desire to one day fight professionally. Mudde then told her about a boxing club that had opened in the ghetto and asked her to join. 

“I was really frustrated at that time”

 

Moreen talks of the hard times: I felt hopeless and was depresses, of doing all the petty jobs to survive. 

This made me start streetfighting with the boys in the slum, as a way of letting out all the frustration inside my head. 

 

It was during one of such days when she had gone to the cinema when she met Mudde Ntambi, a local professional boxer who was famous for fighting for money in Uganda and abroad.

Mudde was curious about what a young lady was doing in a cinema infamously known to show translated fighting movies. 

An area that was no place for girls.

 

Moreen explained her love for fighting and desire to one day fight professionally. Mudde then told her about a boxing club that had opened in the ghetto and asked her to join. 

John T. Pedersen Photography - Moreen explained her love for fighting and desire to one day fight professionally. Mudde then told her about a boxing club that had opened in the ghetto and asked her to join.    Moreen did not know about the boxing club and even though she usually passed by it, she thought it was another hideout in the ghetto where the youth went to smoke marijuana.

Moreen explained her love for fighting and desire to one day fight professionally.

Mudde then told her about a boxing club that had opened in the ghetto and asked her to join. 

 

Moreen did not know about the boxing club and even though she usually passed by it, she thought it was another hideout in the ghetto where the youth went to smoke marijuana.

John T. Pedersen Photography - THE TURNING POINT:   She went to check it out anyway. At the boxing club, Moreen met two other girls that were already training. The girls, Hellen and Diana were sisters.   They welcomed me into the family and soon they all became like sisters to me, usually helping each other overcome the toughest life situations.   At the age of 14, she had her first child. She now had to balance motherhood and boxing. She sometimes left her child with the neighbors, or good Samaritans.   Hellen and Diana usually offered food to Moreen and her child.  

THE TURNING POINT:

 

She went to check it out anyway. At the boxing club, Moreen met two other girls that were already training. The girls, Hellen and Diana were sisters.

 

They welcomed me into the family and soon they all became like sisters to me, usually helping each other overcome the toughest life situations.

 

At the age of 14, she had her first child. She now had to balance motherhood and boxing. She sometimes left her child with the neighbors, or good Samaritans.

 

Hellen and Diana usually offered food to Moreen and her child.

 

John T. Pedersen Photography - Moreen was skinny and underweight at first and could not be allowed to participate in big tournaments. This forced her to train more intensely.   Soon she secured her first major international fight. She trained for three months straight, she was sure she would win but she got beaten.   Her and the child’s father lived separately for a while but reunited later and she had two more children with him. She continued doing petty jobs and one of her employers offered to pay school fees for one of her children.

Moreen was skinny and underweight at first and could not be allowed to participate in big tournaments.

This forced her to train more intensely.

 

Soon she secured her first major international fight. She trained for three months straight, she was sure she would win but she got beaten.

 

Her and the child’s father lived separately for a while but reunited later and she had two more children with him. She continued doing petty jobs and one of her employers offered to pay school fees for one of her children.

John T. Pedersen Photography - THE SLUMLIFE:   She started to learn hairdressing, she graduated as a hairdresser in 2012, a job that now feeds her family of 9. She is not employed in any salon, but is called up when needed.  For a single job her salary is then between 3,000 and 20,000 Ugandan shillings. (0,8 us dollar-5,35 us dollar)     Slumlife is all Moreen has known.    I have raised my children in the slum and hopes they find a way out. I dream that my children will have the opportunity to complete school and education she sayes. My man is a driver, but I do hope he will get a more stable job in the future. And hoping for my man, who is a driver, to get a stable job.

THE SLUMLIFE:

 

She started to learn hairdressing, she graduated as a hairdresser in 2012, a job that now feeds her family of 9. She is not employed in any salon, but is called up when needed. 

For a single job her salary is then between 3,000 and 20,000 Ugandan shillings. (0,8 us dollar-5,35 us dollar)

 

 

Slumlife is all Moreen has known.

 

 I have raised my children in the slum and hopes they find a way out. I dream that my children will have the opportunity to complete school and education she sayes.

My man is a driver, but I do hope he will get a more stable job in the future. And hoping for my man, who is a driver, to get a stable job.

John T. Pedersen Photography - I have made my closest friends in the boxing club, they are my boxing family.  At the sporting level, participation in the Olympic Games is my goal.   “I fight for the future” And one day I will be able to get out of the slum with my family sayes Moreen. 
   Copyright © 2020 JTP

I have made my closest friends in the boxing club, they are my boxing family.  At the sporting level, participation in the Olympic Games is my goal.

 

“I fight for the future”

And one day I will be able to get out of the slum with my family sayes Moreen. 


 

Copyright © 2020 JTP