Kibera slum, seen from the south © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Nap at midday, Ebenezer Day Care$ School, Mathare Valley slum © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Daniel is unemployed, like approximately 45 % of all Kenyans. He comes from upcountry. At the end of the first school cycle, he asked to his parents to finance his studies in secondary school, but they couldn't afford to do so. He came to the capital and has benn living in Kibera for almost ten years. He hopes to find a job for long enough to save some money so that he can resume his studies, something that would allow him after all to look further than just the end of the day and going to sleep with a full stomach every evening © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Street with heavy traffic and lots of shops © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Phillip, a social worker, lives and works in Kibera. Before the post-electoral riots in December 2007 he worked part-time for an association. Following these events, with more than 1000 deaths in Kibera alone, he decided to work full-time. His association builds and restores houses in the slum to counteract the problems of overpopulation and insalubrity. The aim is to encourage the "employees", from different ethnic groups, to mix, to speak, to exchange and finally to realize that they would gain more by helping each others than by killing one another © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
School dining room. No cutlery, single menu all week long © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Maureen, Conlyn and her son Deryl live together in the same room in Dandora Estate, an underprivileged and outlying district of Nairobi. It is necessary to live in groups in barracks in order to be able pay the rent. Here the walls are solid, the rooms are hygienic. All the inhabitants work, so the standard of living is better althoug the life is still difficult. Maureen is a primary school teacher at the Rehoboth Community Center, a school founded trough a private initiative © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Football pitch on a saturday afternoon © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Daisy is a pupil in her first year of schooling. She is a lively and mischievous child. When she is not at the school, she helps her mother or is lies about in her grandmother's fruit and vegetable shop together with other children, with her cousins as well as with the uncles and the aunts who are hardly any older than she is herself. In the evening, she goes to her grandmother's with some other companions. They eat and watch TV. Daisy is particularly interrested in badly-dubbed Mexican Télénovelas (especially Tormenta en el Paraiso), that cheer her up © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Georges (in the second place from the left) and the orphans © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Joyce is a farmer who grows Sukuma Wiki, wich means literally "get through the week", a cheap vegetable. It is cultivated in bags of jute because of the lack of space. It is a very resistant and long-lived variety. Three months earlier, Joyce cooked and sold chappattis (thick pancakes made of wheat flour and water) and kidney beans. She has been living in Kibera for 15 years. She comes from Kiriyuga, the region around Mount Kenya. She has four children, two boys and two girls. They are healthy. The only legacy which she can pass on to them in these conditions is education. It is sometimes a challenge. She cannot pay school fees for all of them so she feels very guilty. Her greatest suffering is not being able to feed them or to send them to school. Her husband is a mason, he is from a different tribe. He works a lot, he is very tired, worn out, made sick by his work. He can never afford to stay with his family for long. © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Stray dog looking for food, near Fort Jésus © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Dieudonné (from the Ivory Coast), Jacques (Congolese from RdC) and Mathew ( Kenyan) are ministers. Jacques is sometimes invited by Mathew to preach in his church in Kangemi, an underprivileged district similar to Dandora. Rooms for religious practice are often modest, set aside in buildings and fitted out according to needs. At least one musical instrument accompanies the prayers and the singing of Gospels. People dance, sing, laugh, and sometimes enter trance © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Evangelistic mass, Kangemi Estate © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
Daniel looking after his shoes © Jérémy Saint-Peyre
I have done this report in Kibera (the most populated slum of Nairobi, in Kenya) in July 2009. It was my first time on the African continent, so I had a lot of prejudices that Westerners and Europeans usually have. I had well planned my report, around four months before leaving. That’s how I passed three weeks in Kibera, staying with the locals in order to make my own opinion about their difficulties (social, hygienic, ethnic, cultural…).
Anyway, my prejudices shattered. Before my departure, thanks to the persons with whom I had some exchanges by e-mails or phone calls, I would have focused myself on the relationships between the different ethnic groups, that were the cause of the riots after the elections of December 2007 and January 2008. But, since my first step in Kibera, and throughout my report, I was shocked, at first, by the extent of that place where more than one million of people are living on 4km². Then, by all the problems, that are both causes and consequences, like the educational system, the ethic rivalries, finding food, finding somewhere to live, the importance of the local and religious beliefs… It’s a big picture in order to show the interaction between the different problems and their extents. Take a particular problem, like the lack of food because of the overpopulation, is not enough pertinent for me. We can find that difficulty in other places all around the world. But, it is the interaction of the problems -through the stories of regular Kibera people and their function- between them that permit people to make their own opinion to understand better a very particular context. Regarding the choice of black and white, I haven’t made it because of nostalgia or to take pictures in the manner of some photographers. I have noticed that when the photograph is in colour, we usually stay on the colours themselves, the sky is too blue, the green is not bright enough for example. For me, eliminating this problem was a way to draw people’s attention to the subject and to bring a stronger aesthetic and plastic appearance to my work.
Resume of the memory :
Kibera is the most populated slum of Nairobi, in Kenya. In that place; more than one million of people are living on 4km² and all the problems are both causes and consequences. It’s a big picture in order to show the interaction between the different problems. Take a particular one is not enough pertinent for me. We can find that difficulty in other places all around the world. But, it is the interaction of the problems between them that permit to understand better a very particular context.
I was born on Febuary 24th 1987 in Annecy, France. I discovered photography in history books when I was a teenager. I saw uncredited shots by Capa, Burrows, Ut… I remember my astonishment when I learned that being a witness to historical events like this could be a profession, and that these pictures were not just souvenir photos taken by the protagonists.
I started taking photos while I was studying graphic art in Paris.
From a hobby it became such a passion that I was hardly able to continue my studies. Finally i was accepted by a school of photography (Centre of Vocational Education in Vevey, a.k.a CEPV), where i developped solid technical skills and reinforced my taste for reportage at the same time as I was developing an interest in documentary photography. During these two years I did my first serious project in Kibera. It was the first time i had been to Africa, so I had a lot of the prejudices that Westerners usually have. I had planned the project well, for about four months before leaving. So i was able to spend three full weeks in Kibera in order to making up my own mind about the social, hygienic, ethnic, and cultural difficulties i encountered. Anyway, my prejudices were shattered. From the time i took my very first picture right up to the end of the project, I realized that I could not deal with the different aspects of the subject separatly, because they were the causes and the consequences of the context, constently influencing one another. To cut a long story short, having seen the Eiffel Tower does not mean you know Paris. I continued to developed this approach in the following years, at the same school, in the course Advanced Training in Photogaphy. Except for a little less focused artistic work, this approach has been omnipresent in my photography.