For the longest time, western media has pushed a narrative of Africa as a continent full of poverty, disease and strife. This was aided by the fact that Africans did not tell their own stories but relied on the foreign press to tell these stories. This often resulted in foreign journalists telling these stories In their own view which was most often than not negative. However, in the recent times Africans have taken up the challenge of telling their own stories which the foreign press is not usually interested in . These are stories include how innovations like Mpesa are changing the lives of many among many others. This has slowly but surely changed the narrative of Africa being a hopeless continent to “Africa Rising.”
Whereas some people have taken to writing in a bid to portay our continent in a positive light, others have taken to photography to showcase it in all its beauty . Mutua Matheka is one such photographer. Some time back if you had googled most African cities, the images which would pop up used to ones of slums, conflict and at best wildlife. It was during this time that Mutua Matheka happened to have gone up to the rooftop of a skyscraper in Nairobi and saw the city from a new perspective. It was then that he came to the realization that Nairobi was actually beautiful despite its many challenges. He was able to see the distortion in what was presented to the world versus the reality. It was after this that he set out to photograph his city to show others the beauty he saw in it and change the imagery of Nairobi that is presented to the world. And guess what the work that Matheka and others like him have put in to showcase Nairobi has actually paid off. Try checking out the images of Nairobi and you will see.
After seeing that his efforts have paid off in our city, Mutua Matheka and other likeminded individuals that is Joe Were, Lulu Kitololo and Josh Kisamwa would like to do the same for other African cities. This has given birth to Unscrambling Africa, a road trip project with the purpose to explore what defines urbanity across our continent. From Alexandria to Cape Town, Yaounde to Addis Ababa the team will see and document what these cities look like. Meet the people, reside in the cities and interact with the sub-cultures. They will share the journey and photos with those interested on the various social media platforms.
This group rightly believes in the importance of documenting Africa as Africans from an African perspective. They believe that this is the beginning of an active documentation of African cities for future generations.
To undertake this ambitious project, Mutua and co. need to raise a total of USD 35,000 in the next ten days. They have so far been able to raise Ksh.412,000 and are still In need of funds. You can support this worthy cause by donating here and here.