There’s something about Kenya, isn’t there? It’s got to be something in the water there that inspires creativity and confident self-expression. I don’t know anyone who has visited Nairobi in recent times who hasn’t expressed their desire to return, maybe even live there full time. I haven’t been but it is way up on my list.
Here’s a really short list of my favourite Kenyan creatives on Instagram. These are the ones whose feeds I stalk almost daily. My imaginary friends and kin, safeguarding my spot in Nairobae.
- Mutua Matheka, (@truthslinger)
I’ve followed his work for quite a while now. I think he’s the first Kenyan photographer I followed on Instagram, the one who made me realize that there’s more to Kenya than the safari (of course, there is!), the one who made me start thinking of Nairobi as bae, and from whom I got introduced to other cool cats in the city. I love, love, love his images; portraits and cityscapes.
The little man is 2. 2! When did we become those people with a two year old? It has been quite the experience. I've never been as protective of a human this much. He's taught me so much about my own vulnerability, softness as I have because of being a father. I pray that he grows to be more than I am. Much more. God help us parent him well (whatever that means) Happy birthday @minislinger. Stuff your face in cake. It's still early. #MiniSlinger
What's your greatest fear? (This is heavy to bring up on a Saturday night. I know). I think mine is rejection. I used to think it was just rejection of me as a person, and with acceptance of me as I am by my wife, thought I was cured. But now I still fear rejection of my art, my thoughts. It has taken me a while to come to terms with who I am or to even understand that. But it's freeing to live in that state of peace with self. Does the fear keep creeping back in? Of course. It's the demon I have to battle every once in a while. Face your fears every so often y'all. It's kinda satisfyingly scary. #MadeofBlack254
Sometimes it's easy to want to be part of the crowd. It's just less effort. Standing out can be so much work. Having to explain your different opinion. Having to try and make sense to other people. Sometimes it's easier to just be part of the crowd. Until you remember who you really are and realize that's a lie. Embrace who you are and wear it like a badge of honor. Lessons learnt in my life so far. #MadeofBlack254
The earth took me in chewed me and spit me out. I'm alive. This series was in part inspired by @xprsnst. Peep her feed. Is there any instagramer that has inspired you in some way to create like they do or maybe such that when you shoot something, you are reminded of them? Please share if so. And who if you can. I think we are made of the people that influence us, more than we know. Again, man vs 30sec timer. #MadeofBlack254
#Nairobae. Yes, please!
And this incredible photo he took of our darling Kitchenbutterfly .
Finally got to meet Ozoz from Lagos aka @kitchenbutterfly in Nairobi last week and it was more like meeting a close friend from another country. We walked the streets of Nairobi, saw Nairobi from above, saw an exhibition, she won a print from @onetouchlive, had a Jollof throwdown, tried to get us off pilau (didn't work 😂). Many instagram posts later (hers mostly), I think it's safe to say Nairobi is her other home now. It's been a pleasure Ozoz. See you in Lagos sometime. #MakePortraits #igersNairobi #cityofNairobi
- Trevor Maingi, (@the_mentalyst)
I think I first followed him on Twitter before discovering his Instagram feed. Despite my fear of heights, I somehow imagine myself looking down on the city from rooftops. And he’s always on some roadtrip or the other with gorgeous people, eating beautiful food. Take me, please!
Ohhhh the cityscapes are gorgeous! The heights…
- Sarah Waiswa @lafrohemien, visual artist travelling through Africa by road (one half of the africancityzens duo).
I love her vibe! There’s something so love & light about her that draws me in. And she gets to travel through Africa. Sigh. Pure bliss.
She takes some really dope photos; of places and of people. Her Instagram feed is one of my happy places.
Then she put up this photo of Aloe Blacc and won my heart forever… Because he is bae and then some.
Some people constantly have their coolness level on a 10 without even trying, she’s one of them. Achingly cool! Her style game is 100 and then some.
Idk, idk, but I don’t think I need more than one reason to go to Nairobi, she’s it! Can you tell I’m in love with her? Not enough words, my friends…
Plus working in an art gallery. See?! Kindred!
And girrlllll, when can I move into your space??
‘P mentioned her in her Writers on Instagram post so I’m not going to wax lyrical, she’s reason number 5 I’m packing my bags and moving to Kenya. Amen?
Yes, Kenya is great and all, the ‘scapes are epic(!) but more than anything, it’s the people who make me want to visit so bad, and I’ve just shared 5 reasons with you. If you aren’t already familiar with their work, fix up!
Have you been to Kenya? Do you have favourite hangout spots in Nairobi? Favourite people? Share with us, please.