I was recently called upon by the King Baudouin Foundation to document the innovations of this year’s King Baudouin African Development Prize winners. The Prize rewards outstanding contributions to development initiated and led by Africans in Africa. It also seeks to draw public attention to the many inspirational stories, including challenges and successes, emerging from Africa.
In the beautiful heart of northern Kenya sits one of the most scenic community conservancies in Kenya. It covers 49,000 hectares teeming with wildlife that attracts visitors from far and wide. Apart from that, Kalama Community Conservancy is where some of Kenya’s most exquisite jewellery is made.
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 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.
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.
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.
As far as the east is from the west…
That’s how different it was shooting in Kitui and western Kenya for Farm Africa. While farmers in Kitui have unreliable rainfall and poor soils working against them, farmers in Western Kenya have some of the most fertile soils in Kenya, and beautiful weather to crown their favour. But having these isn’t enough. A lot of training is needed for the farmers to take advantage of their blessings to achieve the best harvests. And that’s where Farm Africa step in.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Kitui, telling stories of farmers benefiting from Farm Africa’s projects in the county. I’d never been to Kitui before this so I was excited at the prospect of tucking another county under my travelling belt and meeting more farmers who feed Kenya.
Last November, I had the privilege to visit Lakes Magadi and Natron. You can read more about that trip which has been my most epic to date here. When we got to Lake Magadi, we made our way to the hot springs where we met Maasai ladies selling curios and crafts in an open air market set up daily so that anyone who visits the area can get some memorabilia to take back with them.
Towards the end of April, Cerebra, an integrated strategic communication agency that builds, engages and activates communities around brands got in touch asking me to share what Africa looks like through my eyes. It was quite an honour and I was excited at the prospects of my images being used in a highlight video to be released on Africa Day, which is celebrated on May 25th.
In the last couple of months, there’s been a lot of talk about phasing out 14-seater matatus in favour of higher capacity buses. This is in an effort to decongest Nairobi’s streets and hopefully have more people preferring public over private transport. But will 35 or 50 seater buses solve the problem? Why not have buses with higher capacity?
When news started coming in of the Garissa Attack last Thursday, I held my breath and went into a cocoon, not wanting to believe the reality. It turned out to be my least favourite Easter weekend, occasionally coming up for air to receive updates on social media about what happened and what shouldn’t have. On Monday, I saw a tweet about Tuesday’s vigil and decided to attend.
On February 13th 2013, Boniface Mwangi organised what was to be his last protest. After leading several demonstrations against ills in the country, he felt Kenya wasn’t worth dying for and his family needed him more. I followed Boniface from home to his office to Uhuru Park where the demonstration was dispersed by anti-riot police.
Last Friday, I received a call from Samir Dave asking me if I wanted to shoot at Holi. I quickly said yes, thinking we were to fly to India for the colourful festival. He clarified it was an event by East FM and was to be held at Simba Union Club in Nairobi the following day. I was a bit deflated but excited at the opportunity.
There’s been a lot of interest in the operation of unmanned aerial aircraft in Kenya in the recent past and especially this week, with two mainstream media outlets publishing different drone-related stories on the same day. And for this reason, my long break from blogging has come to an end.