You will never see a crowd gathered this much in Kibera apart from politics. But, this gathering is of a different kind since it doesn’t divide people based on institutionalized ethnicity or ideology. Of course, people are divided into teams but the joy of playing, of watching and the dream of a better life unite these young men. That’s what Gordwin Odhiambo truly wants to capture and tell.
This documentary photographer from Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya touches on daily life and social issues within the community, among them; nuances of reductive stereotypes, the disenfranchised, and access. His work revolves around his neighborhood, the place he calls home. Kibera is a dynamic place that has its challenges. However, joy, connection, and determination form a huge part of this community.
As a young man, growing up through the challenges, he, himself, had to improvise and adapt to life situations but he found it very interesting. His works have always focused on young men in Nairobi’s low-income communities and how they navigate the tough economic realities around them. Amidst the dynamism that exists in Nairobi’s low-income communities, how do the young men dream? This is his quest.
“Kenya is known for athletics ‘Kipchoge keep jogging’. Hence, it might surprise someone as to why there is so much love for soccer in this country.”
” Their style of play is influenced by European leagues but how the opponent approaches the game will determine the tempo. These games are never boring, flair, style, and math are all there to be seen.”
This project stems from the fact that he himself played soccer and the connections he made through became very important up-to-date. Sports as a unifying factor play a huge role in this community that sometimes does face volatile moments especially during the times of elections. It has become an emblem of peaceful coexistence and it attracts the largest number of young men who love it and learn from it. It has come to a point where some games have created a sense of belonging and this photo series is an authentic illustration of it.
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