It’s about time I confess why I have been spamming my social media accounts with pictures of Nairobi.
I spend a lot of my free time on Instagram and noticed that the tags ‘Nairobi‘ and ‘Kenya‘ show very little of our beautiful country and my beautiful city. By and large the tags are images related to Nairobi National Park, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Animal Orphanage, The Giraffe Centre or the Kibera slums. If this images are anything to go by, then Nairobi is a city full of animals that are fed by tourists, a huge slum that is fed by tourists and a devastated city that tourists are helping to rebuild. These tourists are giving us water, food and helping build schools and churches. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to what tourists do, after all tourism is one of our largest sources of income. BUT that is not the Nairobi that I live in.
Whereas the few pictures uploaded by Kenyan’s are either club scenes or the regular food and drink photos. Very few people are actively trying to populate social media with wonderful images that portray the daily life of Kenyans. From those few, there are only a handful that are being recognized for what they do.
Nairobi is a vibrant city and the world needs to see that. So I decided to head out with my phone and my camera to take pictures of Nairobi. I guess you are now waiting to hear about how I got robbed off my belongings. I didn’t.
On the contrary, I was harassed by zealous watchmen for photographing their buildings whice are ‘private property’ and should not be photographed; I was harassed by Nairobi City Council workers (wo alsoe refused to show their identity cards) for ‘taking photos without a commercial licence,’ who did not understand an iota about hobby photography. Then I understood that these are the same people who are the reason that we will never have images of our city that we can be proud off. They will harass and frustrate you but smile and wave at ‘tourists.’
This city is growing and it is growing fast, we need to document this for our future generations. More importantly, we need to show the world that we are a bright modern city.
I wish we could walk freely around Nairobi, take photos and post one picture a day of our beautiful Nairobi. I wish we could be allowed to take photos of our city without being bullied by watchmen, city council askaris and policemen. I wish we could show the world our NAIROBI.