Less than 20 kilometres from the heartbeat of Nairobi is a settlement that many living on the opposite side of Nairobi fear to visit. Famous for being the home of Nairobi’s main dumpsite, Dandora is also where enthusiasts believe Kenyan hip hop was born, bred and continues to thrive to this day.
Nairobi’s beauty has many people – especially photographers – wanting to click away at every junction. Nowadays, it isn’t unusual to see a photographer or two taking long exposures of the city after dark, or posing newly weds on a median over the weekend. Just like any activity held in a public space in Nairobi, permissions should be obtained for commercial photography on the streets of our city, and here’s how to get them.
In January 2015, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, who are mandated with regulation and oversight of aviation and safety in Kenya, issued a directive banning all use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Kenya. Rightfully so, because many had been spotted flying in public and private functions without any regulation on when, how and who was allowed to use them. The ban was put in place as a security measure and to give the government time to set up a regulatory framework for the use of drones in Kenya.
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.