Old media and new in a revolution reaching young Kenyans

Anonymity assured: “DJ B” records his pirate radio show By Mike Pflanz KAREN, April 4, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – The collection of hipsters, artists and passionate young designers that is the team at Shujaaz.fm has broken many taboos and launched itself into the consciousness of an entire generation of previously ignored Kenyan young people in its short life. The group is behind the immensely popular Shujaaz.fm comic book, a linked radio show broadcast daily on 22 FM stations nationwide, and a booming online community on Facebook, Twitter, text message and a website. Together, all these media are used to one end: to boost the confidence, pride and outlook of the 27 million people, 73% of Kenya’s population, who are aged under 30.

Vox Nairobi | 1

Name – DJ B Age – Young enough to know better Work – Pirate radio DJ, Superhero Lives – It’s a secret, man KAREN, Nairobi, April 4, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – Thousands follow him on Facebook, tens of thousands hear his radio show, millions see his life illustrated in Kenya’s monthly Shujaaz.fm comic. DJ B is a secret superstar for his country’s youth, a man with a mouth, a mission and a message. He jealously guards his identity, and agreed to talk to Mike Pflanz only by telephone from his shack-studio somewhere on Nairobi’s outskirts.

Under starter’s orders

Under starter's orders

Jockey J Lokorian riding Kimberly on Derby day at Ngong Racecourse | Photo: Brendan Bannon Can a new influx of trainers, jockeys and owners revive Nairobi’s 107-year-old tradition of thoroughbred horse-racing? By Mike Pflanz. JAMHURI, April 3, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – Henry Muya is angry. A year of dawn training runs, a year in the saddle slowly coaxing the best from his horse, a year of preparing for this race on this day, all for nothing. Three false starts to the biggest event in Nairobi’s racing calendar, The Kenya Derby, spooked Ngobi, his horse. He was among the last out of the stalls, failed to pick up position on the back straight, and flew over the line 2,400m later clumped up in the pack several slots off the money. “Inside, I’m gutted, I’m torn apart, all the hard work it takes to come to this,” the 26-year-old jockey said after Read More…

Resilience 101

Resilience 101

Small enterprises line a street through Kibera | Photo: Brendan Bannon Mike Pflanz hears from the Olympic Small Business Organization about how they rebuilt their companies after Kenya’s 2007/8 election violence KIBERA, April 2, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – Less than an hour after the results of Kenya’s presidential election were announced late in December 2007, the fires started in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum. Supporters of rival political parties launched a month of attacks against their opponents in a wave of violence which eventually killed 1,300 people nationwide. Along one of the frontlines in Kibera lay the 100-odd small shops – selling everything from bottles of Coke to cheap plastic flip-flips – lining the 500yd road leading down to Olympic Secondary School.

“You have to be faster”

“You have to be faster"

Emmanuel Sinzole weaves his minibus taxi through Nairobi’s morning traffic | Photo: Brendan Bannon Mike Pflanz rides the matatus through Nairobi’s sun-rise stress and rush-hour hustle KAWANGWARE, April 1, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – It’s already past 7:15am and Catherine, a 32-year-old civil servant, knows she’ll be late for work. It’s less than two-and-a-half miles from the Petro gas station, the start of the Route 46 bus near her home in Kawangware, to her Upper Hill office just west of the city centre. But that will take Catherine at least an hour this morning, as steady sheets of dawn rain fell and traffic crawled along the slum’s choked streets.