Friday, October 29, 2010

Kenya and Kibera Current Issues Series--All Video Special!

There is no shortage of videos online about life in Nairobi and Kibera, but many of them have a simplistic, fatalistic tone. As I’ve written before, I hate this reductive take on Africa; I support Uweza because it recognizes and promotes ability and opportunity. This week, I’ve collected informational (and fun) videos about projects in Nairobi which build the local economy, media, and artistic scene.

Voice of Kibera is an online interactive forum which encourages sharing of information. Residents send in text messages with information about happenings in their neighborhood, and the Voice of Kibera web team adds the new information to a handy online map.

Beyond the dissemination of information, Voice of Kibera hopes that it will be a tool and vehicle for greater respect and understanding among the tribes and groups in Kibera. You can watch an interview with a staff member below and learn more here.

Few visitors to Kenya leave without being impressed by the ubiquitous matatus (minibuses). Crowded, noisy, driven at hair-raising speeds—matatus aren’t just a mode of transport, they’re a veritable cultural experience! And with their vibrant colors and topical themes, they’re also a local form of artistic expression. The New York Times recently posted a brief article with two videos about matatus. See one of the videos below and read the full article here.

Other Kenyans are employing a different mode of creative expression—performance art—to enrich themselves both artistically and financially. The Sarakasi Trust trains at-risk youths from the Nairoibi slums in dance and acrobatics, helping to instill greater self-worth and providing a tangible skill to improve their livelihoods. Hear the dancers’ stories and watch their awe-inspiring moves here.

And more innovative artists: Jewelry makers in Kibera are benefitting their wallets—and the local environment—by using bones discarded by local butchers in their designs. Learn more in this news clip.

Lastly, these adorable and talented children are concerned about sustainable use of the massive amounts of garbage in the slums—so concerned that they’ve written and performed a rap song to tell us that “Trash is cash!” Watch their music video here.

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