In 2006, as Kofi Annan ended a decade at the helm of the United Nations, he called on African farmers to wage a ‘uniquely African Green Revolution’. This is the seed that planted Agra. Since then, Agra has been fulfilling the vision that Africa can feed itself and the world, transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive, to a business that thrives. Last July, I was picked to join the Arete Stories team that was documenting Agra’s success stories across Africa.
It’s where I was born and called home for more than 25 years. These are the streets that shaped me, where I played shake, hid and sought and watched apartments grow in what were once open fields. When I was born, my parents were living in Buru Buru Phase 2. From there, they moved to Umoja 1 before settling in Doonholm in July 1979. They have lived there ever since. #OnetouchLive_Eastlando was a walk down memory lane for me.
The 2016 Canon Kenya Photography Awards were held in Nairobi on 19th June. At the event, this image which I shot in Masai Mara won in the Nature Category. Allow me to share the story behind the image.
If you didn’t play in a pool of water without chlorine when growing up, you can consider yourself having had a deprived childhood. It was one of the reasons I got spanked over and over again but I still did it. It was irresistible. Yes our school (Hospital Hill) had a beautiful pool but nothing matched the fun I had in the murky waters of excavations and quarries that surrounded Doonholm Estate in the 80s.
It’s not a place many would like to visit because of the stories of carjackings and muggings that have happened here. These were also my objection statements when I was invited to pay a visit by Arune, one of the friends of the forest. In her defence and that of the forest, she told me there’s parts that are completely fenced off ensuring safety for those visiting. Convinced, I called on friends from Onetouch to come along for the ‘myth debunking tour’.
With family spanning almost every administrative ward since the 1950s, Nakuru is naturally my second home. It’s a place that I’ve visited more times than I can remember, making beautiful memories filled with smiles from family and friends. As it came up on the Onetouch calendar last April, I knew it would be a challenge to find something new to shoot there, but still booked my seat in Shani’s Forester for the ride to Nakuru.
I never set out to shoot farmers specifically, but many documentary projects I’ve worked on have gravitated towards spending time with people who work hard to make sure we have locally grown food on our tables. Two weeks ago, I found myself riding shotgun in a SoilCares-branded ProBox headed to Meru, on what was my latest project documenting farming activities in Kenya.
Masai Mara will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was the first place my wife Gina and I went on an expedition together. That was back in 2004 when I was throwing darts at her. I returned there last August, eleven years later, to experience the beauty of Mara once more, this time with Joe Makeni and Kelvin Shani, brothers from Onetouch.
Rarely does one have the privilege of being in the presence of unashamedly God-worshipping musicians who have mastered their craft, won countless awards and accolades, toured the world, mentored other musicians to greatness, and still express themselves in a down-to-earth way that speaks humility at all levels. Mine was last Thursday as I soaked in Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Gerald Albright, Shelea, Kevin Whalum and John Stoddart perform alongside Kenya’s AfroSync Band.
Before departing for Uganda, Pope Francis addressed Kenya’s youth at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani. The youth came from all over by school bus, matatus and on foot. It’s good that schools are closed so there was no hindrance for many who wanted to see and hear from the Pope who loves the youth.
I will never forget my first time at Java: it was around 2003 at Adams Arcade. I’d never been to a coffee shop before and I wanted to impress a family friend who was visiting from the US. When I got there, I decided to order an expresso. I didn’t know what it was and the guy in me didn’t ask. Since my friend was running late, I decided to make it a double – I thought it’d drink it for longer as I waited. Lo and behold when the smiling waitress delivered in the tiniest of cups full of the stiffest drink I had ever tasted!