David Atilola Interviews Biko Macoins, Kenya-based Photographer Re-Telling The Kibera Story
Biko Macoins, who was recently recognised as the most influential young African during the Africa Social Media Awards is a photographer. He tells stories about Kibera, a rural community in Kenya through photography. Biko says, the life in Kibera is not what people see. The story of the people are misrepresented by the mainstream media, he says. Through his lens and a daily photo story on instagram, he is changing the story of Kibera.
Read the interview:
David: I browsed through your website and saw fantastic works. Your passion is really extreme. What inspired you to create slum photography?
Biko Macoins: My desire was to change the mentality of people towards the slums, because people have a certain attitude towards the guys leaving in the surrounding.
Many people hear about the slums in the Media (TV stations) and read on newspapers but most people have never been there, so people have a certain mind set towards the slums and people who live there.
David: It seems that you don’t only let people know about the slum, you also try to tell the stories of the people living there through photography. Can you tell us more about what you do?
Biko Macoins: I have been able to take ten kids back to school. They had dropped out of school because their parents could not afford to pay their school fees. I show the part of the slums that the media will never tell us about.
David: Projecting the slum is a responsibility you’ve taken up, which is one of our goals at ruralreporters.com
Biko Macoins: That’s great…
David: Tell us a little bit about how you started- the challenges. Did people support you?
Biko Macoins: It’s been challenging because it’s requires of me give and not receiving. I’ve had people coming in to support, but most give up easily, because it’s more of a lifetime thing not a one day.
David: That is really true. Change is never a one day affair. Now, tell us– how did you feel being awarded the most influential African?
Biko Macoins: It was something I never expected to happen. Voted most influential In Africa! At my age being most influential in Africa. I felt amazing when I got to know I was the most influential.
David: Has the award changed or affected your work in any way?
Biko Macoins: Yes. I am working on a photo exhibition to bring different universities and schools around the city of Nairobi together. The theme is ‘Celebrate Life’. The photos are to change people’s mindset about how they take life and the slums.
David: What’s your assessment on your effort to change the story in the slum so far?
Biko Macoins: It’s a bit difficult task but through God’s Grace I will change the mindset, but most people are ignorant.
David: You talk about God boldly. You even quoted some bible passages on your blog. Can you explain the reason?
Biko Macoins: I am first a Christian before a photographer.
David: Oh okay. That is good to know. What will you say to someone who is struggling to survive and make it in life?
Biko Macoins: God is Alive. He sees our struggles and the problems that we go through and we only need to cry to Him because He will never forsake us…Psalms 135 :5-6.
That verse talks of how God know about everything happening around us.
You can check out Biko’s slum photography on his blog: