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A road trip project to explore and visually document different cities across Africa, their people, sub-cultures and built environment.
A road trip project to explore and visually document different cities across Africa, their people, sub-cultures and built environment.
416 backers pledged £30,631 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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£30,631

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Our Story.

Anyone who has googled most African cities like Nairobi will know that the images that come up are not exactly flattering. It's mostly slums, conflict or at best, wildlife.

One day, Mutua Matheka went up to the rooftop of one of the taller buildings in Nairobi and saw the city, from a perspective new even to him. He realised Nairobi is actually beautiful. This moment changed everything. Mutua saw the distortion of what is presented to the world versus what is. He set out to photograph his city, in order to show the beauty he saw in it and, to balance the imagery that introduces the world to Nairobi.

This journey has led him to like-minded individuals who share the passion for shattering the common perceptions associated with African cities. We all share the conviction that perspective shapes what we see and, what we see shapes our mindsets and ideas about places. Together, we are preparing for a new adventure, with the purpose to disrupt the narrative 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.

We four storytellers are now in preparation for an ambitious road trip around Southern Africa, to capture images that balance existing perceptions of African cities. We would love for you to be part of this quest. As Mutua likes to say, "together we are stronger and better". That's why we've chosen crowdfunding as a tool to kickstart this project and why we want you to join our journey.

Unscrambling Africa 

Kampala
Kampala

This is a road trip project with the purpose of exploring what defines urbanity across our continent. From Nairobi to Durban, the team will see and document what these cities look like, meet the people that reside in them, discover the sub-cultures and photograph the built environment. The journey, stories and photos will be shared with all who are interested, via various social media platforms.

why cities?

In the city we affectionately refer to as, "Nairobae"
In the city we affectionately refer to as, "Nairobae"

There are over a billion people living in Africa and it is projected that in the next 15 years, half of them will live in our cities. As city dwellers ourselves, proud citizens of Nairobi, we have seen our city grow and evolve so rapidly in the last 10 years. We have been shaped by these developments and in a way have also shaped the urban landscape and the culture that is inextricably linked to it. 

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.

Dusk in Cape Town
Dusk in Cape Town

Unscrambling Africa is a project that seeks to ‘discover’ urban areas all over the continent, from Alexandria to CapeTown, Yaoundé through to Addis Ababa exploring the different personalities to African cities. Mutua has already documented 5 African cities and will be taking this opportunity to photograph 13 more cities to document what urbanity means in the African context. His passion leads him to uncover how we use, define and relate with our spaces in Africa, whether explicitly or implicitly defined; to explore African architecture; to discover how different or similar the cultures of urbanity are in different African cities, and most importantly to share 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.

how we plan to do this

Our visual exploration begins on January 10th 2017.  

We plan to travel to more than 13 cities, on a journey covering 15,000km within a period of 8 weeks – documenting Architecture, public spaces and the people and cultures that exist within them.

We depart from Nairobi and drive through; Tanzania – Malawi – Zambia – Botswana – Namibia – South Africa – Lesotho – Swaziland – Mozambique – Zimbabwe …

…and then all the way back home to Nairobi.

We want our journey to demonstrate what’s possible with imagination, collaboration and action. We want to overturn the widely held belief that it is difficult to cross borders and travel within our continent. Through this we aim to illustrate that the distances between us need not separate us. We will do all this by leveraging off the virtual relationships that we have managed to forge, thanks to social media, internet and mobile technology.

The Team

Mutua Matheka

Photographer, artist, former architect and avid traveler, with a great eye for showcasing African landscapes, architecture and cultures. He has been a photographer since 2010 and has a dream of photographing all African cities. Mutua chooses to see the beauty in the mundane.
 Instagram: @truthslinger

Joe Were 

Travel and documentary photographer, linguist, Instagram influencer and adventure-seeker. Joe has an eye for landscapes and capturing human moments of beauty.
Instagram: @jaydabliu

Lulu Kitololo 

Artist, designer, creative director and storyteller whose current tools of choice are illustration and graphic design. Inspired by nature, tropical colour as well as culture and craft traditions from across the continent – content creation is her cup of tea.
Instagram: @lulukitololo

Josh Kisamwa
Travel & Documentary storyteller using film as his medium. Inspired by the stories he hears from the people he meets all over the continent.
Instagram: @joshkisamwa

we would love to take you with us!

Kampala
Kampala

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.

Vlogging, behind-the-scenes
Vlogging, behind-the-scenes

Some of the content we will be creating includes:

These activities will begin in the run-up to the journey, documenting the preparation.

Photobook mock-up – we will be using new images from the trip
Photobook mock-up – we will be using new images from the trip

 

Print mock-ups – we will be using new images from the trip
Print mock-ups – we will be using new images from the trip

 

Postcard mock-ups - the final sets will feature 8 different images from the trip
Postcard mock-ups - the final sets will feature 8 different images from the trip

After our travels we plan to compile and showcase our collective work in a variety of ways including:

  • A video web series (12 episodes)
  • A photography coffee table book
  • Photographic prints
  • A colouring book 
  • Postcards
  • An exhibition that will eventually travel to all the cities we visited

Risks and challenges

Travelling across Africa by road is still relatively unchartered territory, especially given so many border crossings. This, along with the usual road trip risks, means that our travel may potentially take longer than planned.

To ensure that any delay in our schedule will not have a knock-on effect on our rewards production schedule. We are doing a lot of the work before we even depart (e.g. working out the design of the book, format of the web episodes etc.).

We each have over a decade of experience in our respective fields and are confident that between our complementary knowledge and skills, as well as our wide networks, we will be able to overcome any challenges to do with the creation of our rewards.

If we do anticipate any delays, we will let our supporters know as soon as possible.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £8 or more About $10

    Shoutouts

    There is power in numbers. Every amount helps to get our wheels on the road to document our beautiful Africa. Your £8 (approx. $10) are meaningful to us as they will go a long way in covering a crew members meal for a day, a bed for the night or essentials we need in our daily explorer routine. As a thank you to you, we will shout out your name on our social media.
    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £16 or more About $20

    Wallpaper

    For £16 (approx. $20) Africa will travel with you wherever you go. You will have the beauty of our continent right at the heart of your digital world. Choosing from the best images captured on our trip, we will create exclusive wallpapers for backers of our campaign. They will be high resolution and packaged for your computer and your mobile devices.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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    78 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    Card sets

    We used to write postcards to our loved ones. Beautifully captured destinations sent around the world with loving captions. You can share this sentiment with your £20 (approx. $25) contribution. This set of 8 postcards will be a selection of our finest shots captured, and you can send them around the world. It’s an affordable way to share such beauty, whilst showing support to projects like ours that hold great promise.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £29 or more About $36

    Colouring book

    Our continent is a feast of colours and patterns, long lines of ancient traditions reflected across our beloved Africa. For £29 (approx. $35), the "Unscrambling Africa" colouring book will have you colour your own visual journey into the African countries and cities we will visit; 10 countries and 13 cities.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $50

    Digital photobook

    For your £40 (approx. $50) contribution we will create a paper-free digital book, a special download for you to savour the very best of our journey at the click of a button. The "Unscrambling Africa" digital book is a showcase of the African countries and cities we will visit; 10 countries and 13 cities. The digital book will be exclusively created for our Kickstarter campaign.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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    55 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $149

    Signed photobook + unreleased video + …

    The beauty of crowdfunding is you, our crowd. If 200 of you participate in creating this exclusive book of our very best images, you will bring us close to our goal. Imagine savoring our journey holding a complete coffee table book that is a gem of the best of everything we will discover? The "Unscrambling Africa" coffee table book will bring alive the visual journey into the African countries and cities we will visit; 11 countries and13 cities. The 15” x 12”, 200 page hardback book will be printed on beautiful silk coated paper and will be exclusively created for our Kickstarter campaign. Thus, your £120 (approx. $150) affords you a rare opportunity to own a piece of a limited edition.
    In addition you will receive our digital wallpaper, a set of 8 postcards and a digital download of unreleased film content from our web series. This film content will include exclusive behind-the-scenes from the trip following our adventures. We might add in some priceless outtakes to keep it fresh!

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £162 or more About $201

    Signed photobook + colouring book + more

    Your £162 (approx. $200) will get us a long way beyond our shoestring budget. Whilst we can pack a punch with this contribution, we can also create a nice package for you. This combo of our coffee table book, colouring book, cards, wallpaper and a personal shout out on our social media is probably the closest we can bring you to our trip.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £242 or more About $301

    1 print (choice from 20 images)

    In return for £242 (approx. $300), you get a slice of our best shots straight on to your walls. We will compile the best images from the road trip and make them available as high quality signed prints. You will be able to choose whichever image you want to be printed, out of a selection of 20. Size: 16” x 24”.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £809 or more About $1,005

    3 prints + everything else

    With £809 (approx. $1,000) we will create a stunning triptych for your walls. We will compile the best images from the road trip and make them available as high quality signed prints. You will be able to choose 3 images from a selection of 20. Size: 16” x 24”.

    In addition you will receive an autographed hardback book, colouring book, set of 8 postcards, digital wallpaper, Instagram shoutout and a digital download of unreleased film content from our web series.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £8,000 About $9,934

    1 week trip (4 people max)

    This is what we do best. We travel, we explore and we shoot. You can be one of four people to join us on this exclusive luxury trip showing you our beloved Kenya. For £8,000 (approx. $9,933 – airfare not included), you will get to spend 3 days in Nairobi; 3 days in Maasai Mara where you get to see Kenya’s legendary wildlife; and 3 days to relax at the beautiful Indian Ocean Coast.

    In Nairobi, you’ll get to hang out with the crew and discover our favourite parts of the city, famous sights and hidden gems. You will see Kenya through our eyes, and we will make sure it will be an unforgettable adventure for you.

    You can bring a friend, spouse or child for a supplemental fee of just £1,208 (approx. $1500).

    In addition you will receive an autographed hardback book, colouring book, set of 8 postcards, digital wallpaper, Instagram shoutout and a digital download of unreleased film content from our web series.

    You will also get the opportunity to watch web series episodes before they’re publicly released.

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Funding period

- (30 days)