Subsaharan Africa’s city streets can feel like they were laid out by a three-year-old with too much
manilla paper and extra crayons. Nairobi’s road layout feels particularly haphazard. It’s as if the
eventual traffic snarl-ups were the colonists’ last “f-you” to their former colony’s capital. Combine
that with the volume of cars on the road, potholes the size of small kids and ever-present
roadworks that are supposed to “fix the problem” and you have a commute from hell that will
drive you crazy. Pun intended. The average Nairobian can spend up to 4 hours a day just sitting
in traffic trying to get to work! Our mini-series of documentaries on Nairobi’s bustling
collaborative creative scene would have been near impossible if we relied on ubers and matatus.
It’s hard to imagine any other way to transport crew and gear back and forth across the city
without a car isn’t it?
That’s where Motos/Okada/Phen Phens/Oleiya’s or as we know them in East Africa,
Boda Bodas came in. We’ve even called the series of videos Boda Boda tales in reference to
the mighty nduthis that carried our crew AND gear across the city. Three bikes, three film crew
members. 2 4K cameras (PACKED VERY CAREFULLY MIND YOU), boom poles, 6 mics, 5
lights (later 3, two never made the journey) and 20 documentary treatments zoomed around the
city in the sun for one month.
Our ride through Nairobi was not without its misadventures. A dodgy cop on Ngong road was
sure our boom was a weapon, a very long panga perhaps? And one of the Boda Bodas driving
our crew from a Karen location over to Westlands actually (ACTUALLY) gave his fare in
Bangla-Pesa (Google it).
Filming this was an honour and a thrill. Whose heart wouldn’t be racing as
they zoomed off to interview artists with hundreds of thousands of shillings worth of equipment
strapped to the back of a motorbike taxi? At least we had helmets!

The Acacia Collective is a group of professionals and artists who came together to foster and nurture creative talent. The collective works with new and emerging artists within the creative sector in Nairobi as well as established artists and companies. They are based on Acacia Road in Karen where recording artists, photographers, videographers, visual artists and advertising agencies have access to a professional and fully functional co-working space. At any one time, you can find visual artists
painting in the garden, musicians and podcasters recording in the studio or people attending creative industry masterclasses in the main house. Their end goal is to foster camaraderie and collaboration amongst artists and creatives. They are currently working on a compilation album that will showcase a tangible body of work created by the recording artists currently in residence.

Buni Media is a multimedia company based in Nairobi, Kenya and Los Angeles, California that
seeks to use a variety of innovative media techniques to tell thought-provoking, modern
stories that challenge the status quo. How they don’t spend their days in court constantly over their hard-hitting no holds barred satirical show XYZ, is beyond us. Buni Media is a Kenyan based multimedia company founded by Gado Mwapemba, a political cartoonist already known for his caricatures of Kenyan society. Their first product was the XYZ Show that produces satirical content depicting current social and political issue in Kenya and the world.
However with time, the Buni crew have branched out and now works on several other projects: TV production, films for commercial PSA both off and online audiences, animation and, set design and content production. Buni Media’s work isn’t just entertainment for the sake of a few laughs, they hope to see Africa become accountable in civic spaces so that we can finally have an open society.
The Hive is an art studio where artists come together to paint and interact.create paintings and have fun with the feel of the paint while interacting with each other. The Hive is one of the residents at Karen Village and hosts established artists and upcoming painters both of whom are willing to learn and are constantly creating. Headed by Patrick Mukabi AKA ‘Panye’, they also function as a gallery and allow visitors. The Hive moved from its original location in the CBD once its popularity resulted in demand for a larger space. artistic space is open to visitors.
Sarakasi Trust is a performing arts development organization working towards building capacity in the arts sector in Kenya. The Trust works as a mechanism for culture for development by effecting actual demonstrable transformation in the livelihoods of young people from low-income backgrounds and neighbourhoods, by expanding their scope, networks and capacity through performance-based training, exchange programs and contracts and special projects that influence the young artist’s ability to reach a high level of professionalism and thus access a sustainable income. The Sarakasi Dome that is also the trust’s office, is a multifaceted space, suitable for theatre productions, corporate functions, concerts, workshops and seminars, wedding receptions, children birthday parties, training programs and team-building activities among other things. It is also a rehearsal space.
The NRB Bus is a double-decker bus converted to make a space where creatives can share, develop and produce, rent and trade, love and create. The NRB Bus has been a creative space for visual artists and musicians since its official opening in 2012. It is also the spiritual home and mobile office of Cultural Video Production and Cultural Video Foundation, two organizations with twelve years of experience in East Africa and multiple award-winning productions. The NRBbus has partnered with many creatives including Paul Onditi, The Hub, Wazi FM, Different Cinema, Summer Monks and Muze.
Nairobi Design Week is an annual week-long festival showcasing work from Kenya’s design industry. It was originally a one-off event but due to the overwhelming support it received, NDW took on a persona of its own and grew into a staple within the creative community. NDW also has platforms for creatives to collaborate that further their mission to prove the value of creative design. They host the Afrika Design podcast, which features conversations with some of Africa’s top designers and run EatDesignRepeat where their community hangs out, showcases their work and shares opportunities.
Karen Village is an art, culture, and creative innovation hub with studios, spaces, shops and restaurants with over 450 people working at Karen Village. The Villagers include; artists, social entrepreneurs, painters, glass artists, artisans, framers, sculptors, fashion designers, lecturers, animators, music producers, theatre companies, art galleries, recycling artists, tour operators, event agencies and digital artists. Karen Village is a space that encourages entrepreneurial growth and networking. Their Villagers and their guests have plenty of opportunities to network and have fun whilst playing football on the field, participating in regular events, eating or drinking in the coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, surrounded by green landscaped space.
The Alchemist is Nairobi’s creative event space in Westlands with a collection of wacky and determined entrepreneurs in food, fashion, music and many others. More than just the club people think it is, The Alchemist is home to lovers of craft and offers an opportunity for event organizers to share their vision by hosting open-air film screenings, club nights, open mic sessions, fashion shows, yoga and more.
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