Unscrambling Africa, A Tale of African Cities

Unscrambling Africa, A Tale of African Cities

December 08, 2016

Anyone who has googled most African cities, like Nairobi, will most likely 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 to 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. Joe, Lulu & Josh all share the conviction that "perspective shapes what we see and what we see shapes our mindsets and ideas about places." So together with these three creative, Mutua is preparing for his next adventure with the purpose to disrupt the narrative about urban Africa. The four team members have all worked in our their individual capacities with telling stories from the African continent that educate people about this place we call home. Africa.

The four storytellers are now in preparation for an ambitious road trip around Southern Africa to capture images that balance the existing perception of African cities. And they would love it if you want to be part of this quest, or as Mutua says; "Together we are stronger and better. This is why we want you to join our journey. We are trying to raise 35,000USD in the next 3 weeks."


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]
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]
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] 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] 

Unscrambling Africa

Is a road trip project with the purpose to explore what defines urbanity across our continent, Africa. From Nairobi to Durban, the team will see and document what these cities look like, meet the people that reside in them, interact with the sub-cultures and photograph the built environment of these cities. The journey and photos will be shared with anyone interested using various social media platforms.

Why Unscrambling Africa?

Unscrambling Africa is a project that will go into urban areas all over the continent, from Alexandria to CapeTown, Yaoundé to Addis Ababa (starting with Southern Africa):

  • To explore the different personalities African cities have.
  • To document what urbanity means in the African context.
  • To document how we use, define and relate with our spaces in Africa, whether explicitly or implicitly defined.
  • To explore African architecture (does it exist?).
  • To explore how different (or similar) the culture of urbanity is in different African cities and most importantly.
  • To share this information so that more of us can have an idea of how it looks like in our neighboring cities.

Hopefully this could be one of the many ways to unscramble our continent using photography and video as a key tool.

"We believe in the importance of documenting Africa as Africans from an African perspective. We believe this is the beginning of an active documentation of African cities for future generations."

Support to this incredible initiative by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign, which is ongoing until December 24th.

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