Being raised up in the largest slum in Africa made Kelvin a victim of misrepresentation by the mainstream media. His first instinct was to visually represent his community without bias. Over the years; Kibera slum, located 6km southwest of Nairobi City, Kenya; has been highlighted by global media with negative bias. It is popularly associated with filth and dirt, crime, hopelessness, insecurity and generally uninhabitable environment. Some publications referring to it as “The Darkest Place on Earth.”
Disrupt by Kelvin Juma
Kibera is one of the biggest informal settlements in the world with an estimate of 400,000 to 1 million slum dwellers with not a single land owner because the land is still owned by the National government of Kenya. The 2.5km sq piece of land was “gifted” to Nubians (a local tribe) the first settlers, by the British colonial rule. These settlers date their roots back to Western Sudan. Sudanese soldiers from Darfur region collaborated and helped the British during World War II. After the War, they were settled in Uganda while others in the outskirts of Nairobi as a “reward” after assisting the British army. This is a period when Kenya was approaching its independence. Kibera used to be a dense forest and the first settlers named the area “Kibra” Nubian word meaning “forest.” Other communities moved in, from other regions of Kenya, over years in pursuit of education, job opportunities and generally to better their lives as levels of urbanization increased. Being strategically placed near the city center, this eventually led to the growth of the largest informal settlement in Africa.
Distracted by Kelvin Juma
Today, Kibera slum depicts a dynamic culture with a complex livelihood. A slum community where individuals uphold a strong sense of community, resilience, beauty, flooded with talent and potential and with unique personalities.
Buyand Sell by Kelvin Juma
This project documents the livelihood of individuals, going beyond the stereotype, noticing the nuance, acknowledging their challenges as well as their little successes, which evoke a sense of hope. Also covering the general mundane while maintaining its people’s dignity, from an insider’s point of view. It aims to help the global media and the world unlearn and learn, engage in thought provoking conversation that realizes unbiased representation of a community and Africa as a whole. In addition, this project hopes to connect Kibera community with policy makers and people who can provide substantial solutions towards the pre-existing and developing challenges.
The Community by Kelvin Juma
“A slum community where individuals uphold a strong sense of community, resilience, beauty, flooded with talent and potential and with unique personalities.”
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Born in Nairobi, Kelvin Juma is a passionate, Kenyan, Documentary Photographer living in Nairobi. Being raised up in one of the largest slums in Africa (Kibera) made him a victim of misrepresentation by the mainstream media. He always thought the general imagery on media search engines did a superficial representation his childhood home. His first instinct was to tell real stories from his community without bias. In May 2019, He started an online ongoing long-term photo project “Daily life Kibera” on Instagram. Focusing on taking photos of the nuance on Africa’s largest slum - the daily life inside his community from his own perspective. Living in Kibera for a major part of his life has gained him unique access to his community and enabling him to tell their stories in a dynamic view. With this, he intends to help the world unlearn and learn, about Africa, and offer a better understanding on the way of life as an insider.
Kelvin is has gained major knowledge on photography by self-learning. A passion that he intends to keep growing. He was among the 10 African students awarded scholarship by the VII Academy to be a part of its Interdisciplinary Seminar on Photojournalism and Visual Storytelling. Through this he has managed to gain unique professionalism in his Career as a visual storyteller. He has worked with local NGOs, documenting impact and development stories. Kelvin is also an intermediate level documentary videographer aiming to represent African stories based on impact/development and social issues.
Graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Multimedia Production at Edulink International College Nairobi in 2018. Kelvin was raised in Kibera slum, an urban informal settlement, 6km from Nairobi City Centre. He developed an interest in photography in 2015 as a hobby and later in 2018 started pursuing it with much higher commitment.
Kelvin had a joint photo exhibition and publication in London as a contributing photographer in The Guardian's " Living In The Slum" in 2019. Collaborated as one of the local directors in Kenya on BBC's "PANDEMIC" 2020, a global series about the spread of Covid-19, featuring the stories of ordinary people affected by the virus all over the world. Aired on BBC TWO.
© Kelvin Juma
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