The title ‘activist’ in cities like New York, London or Oakland can carry some progressive prestige.
In Kenya, ‘activist’ is a dirty and dangerous word – at least according to Boniface Mwangi, one of the Kenya’s most prominent young demonstrators.
“It’s a label that is used very loosely for somebody who is outspoken,” Mwangi says. “People who are afraid to speak their mind call you a dissenter, they call you an activist, they call you unpatriotic. But I think opposition — that’s our patriotic duty.”
The Kenyan government does not appear to agree.
Mwangi, 30, is a ‘photoactivist.’ The photo part came first; as a photojournalist for Kenya’s The Standard, and then as a freelancer for AFP, Reuters and other international outlets. Below is the first in a series of video profiles of activists around the world, a project I’ve launched called inACTIVISM.
In 2007, violence erupted after Kenya’s fraught presidential elections.
Mwangi took to the streets to document horrific and widespread attacks. He then launched a traveling photo exhibition in ten cities across the country to spark dialogue and reconciliation. Continue reading