Unscrambling Africa is a road trip project to explore and visually document different cities across Africa, their people, sub-cultures and built environment.
Why Unscrambling Africa
The scramble and partition of Africa in the 1880’s and 90’s totally interfered with Africa’s progress – its social and economic life. Over a century later, we still live and feel the effects of this partition especially in the separation of people on the continent. It’s hard for Africans to travel within the continent and so it’s hard to have information and experience of what life and people are like in different countries. We have to rely on news channels, whom we see not to share the interest of unifying the continent as their top priority.
Josh Kisamwa – travel & documentary storyteller using film as his medium; myself, Lulu Kitololo – artist, designer, creative director and storyteller whose current tools of choice are illustration and graphic design; Mutua Matheka —photographer, artist, former architect and avid traveler, with a great eye for showcasing African landscapes, architecture and cultures; and Joe Were — travel and documentary photographer, linguist, Instagram influencer and adventure-seeker.
We share the conviction that perspective shapes what we see and, what we see shapes our mindsets and ideas about places. Together, we are on an adventure, with the purpose to disrupt the narrative, particulary about urban Africa. We have all worked, in our individual capacities, on telling stories from the African continent that educate people about this place we call home – Africa.
Unscrambling Africa is a project that seeks to ‘discover’ urban areas all over the continent, from Alexandria to Cape Town, Yaoundé through to Addis Ababa exploring the different personalities of African cities. We are looking at how we use, define and relate with our spaces in Africa, whether explicitly or implicitly defined; exploring African architecture; finding out how different or similar the cultures of urbanity are in different African cities; and most importantly, sharing this information so that more of us can gain an insight of what stories our neighbouring cities behold. Undoubtedly photography and video will be one of the most impressionable ways to unscramble our continent.
The first leg covers 13 cities, on a journey covering 15,000km. Countries include Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
We want to travel lightly and respectfully through the places we go, learning from and collaborating with people we meet and leaving both parties with many positives from the experience.
What we’re creating
After our travels we plan to compile and showcase our collective work in a variety of ways including:
- A video web series
- A photography coffee table book
- Photographic prints
- A colouring book
- An exhibition that will eventually travel to all the cities we visited