Author - Jammy

Jina langu ni Rahim Kara

Your name and what do you do?

My name is Rahim M Kara. I am a content creator with a focus on Photo and Video as a medium of my content creation under my company Megapixels production.

Why photography?

Photography is a form of expression for me. A way in which I tell stories that I feel are important. I began my life in photography as a child when I used to play with my father’s camera and even since then, I can recall a fondness for working with the medium. It wasn’t too difficult turning my passion in to a career when I had the opportunity to begin working full time as a photographer.

What other skills do you have?

Apart from Photography, my career path led me to Counselling Psychology which I practice voluntarily however apart from Photography, I have a skill set in Computer Networking, Hardware, Web Development, Web Design, Graphic Design and I am an Adobe, Apple and Phase One Certified Professional.

You have been in the industry for so long, what are the changes you have seen in the photography industry in Mombasa?

With the advent of digital photography, I’ve seen a shift in the industry in our region of the country. There have been more and more photographers shifting to digital as a medium and there are still photographers shooting on film. So it’s a two sided edge at the moment.

Mombasa as an industry for Photography is interesting compared to a lot of other places. Unfortunately, for the moment the ethos in Mombasa is an individual centric mentality which has stopped the growth of the community in the area. Instead, there are individuals who are mushrooming in various areas and are growing but only to a certain limit before they themselves are forced to either concede and get a 9-5 job to supplement their income or become “glorified paparazzi”.

This is a mindset that we have as creatives in Mombasa unfortunately that is causing us to remain small as an industry as it causes more harm in the long run to the younger photographers / newer photographers who instead of seeing what should be a thriving industry, end up finding more failures and are immediately discouraged from taking it on as a career path.

What are the challenges you have faced?

Over the past 18 years, a lot has happened with respect to building and sustaining my career in photography / cinematography. We began in the time of film photography and 8mm DV Cam tapes so the first challenge at that time was investments. We had to work consistently and continuously for at least 2 years with our old equipment before we were able to invest in what we thought at the time was good and newer equipment. Without the internet though, we didn’t really have a gauge to meter what we were buying compared to what was available in the market at the time. It was more reliance on local vendors. So for at least 5 years, we worked on upgrading our equipment and had to keep up with the trends when the internet came to it’s near fruition with 2G data on our phones. By 2004, we felt we were in a good place to start with our first digital camera to test what the systems have and can bring to the table, it was a Fuji Finepix 2MP camera and we loved it. After that, we purchased our first DSLR which we still own. It was a Canon EOS 400D an 8mp camera. Weddings were suddenly more than just 4 rolls of film, a 4GB card could let us make mistakes and get some amazing photographs while at it.

I think there were only 4 photographers at the time shooting weddings on digital and that made the world of difference to some clients. Receiving a DVD instead of a printed set of photos from which to choose and make your own printouts was just a wonder for them.

We grew as expected and by 2009, we had 2x5D Mark ii cameras, a 1D Mark ii N, 50D, 350D, 400D, a hasselblad, 2 large broncolor lights and a plethora of other items in our kit that made us “Invincible” or so we thought.

Pride comes before a fall. A saying I now hold very dear to me. In 2010, we were robbed and lost almost 3 Million worth of equipment by my estimate.

Since then though, we’ve bought only what’s necessary and only when we need to. Till then, we’ll work with what we have and it’s been nice working on what we’ve got because that taught us our equipment’s worth.

A lot has happened within these 18 years that can be spoken about but one of the most challenging times was building up from losing all the primary equipment we owned.

Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with which it is possible to take pictures. What do you think is the difference between a professional photographer and any other hobby photographer?

I’d like to believe that the term “Professional photographer” initially sets apart the hobbyists by the first point of note being their getting paid to do a job. While that isn’t the most defining trait, it is an important one. Hobbyists too get paid for what they do sometimes, and I don’t want to dismiss them because I know a good number of photographers who enjoy the craft as a part time / retreat from their 9-5 day jobs and are honestly very good at photography but choose to leave it as a side hustle. That I believe would probably be a good definition for the difference.

A professional to me is someone that takes the craft very seriously and invests his / her time, energy and day to day to just that craft. They eat, sleep and breathe just that one craft.

And they are the embodiment of the craft. 

In Mombasa, we still have an issue of unemployed youth, what are the steps a youth can do to identify and develop a skill that they can generate income from themselves?

This is a loaded question and I don’t think there’s a straight answer to it. In my opinion though, I think there’s room for us as photographers to build our own industry because of this.

As the Mombasa Photographers’ association is now a formalized entity, perhaps the first point of action is an awareness campaign with the county so as to build awareness within the local populous that this can be a way of generating revenue.

If they do want to take this up as a career, it would be amazing. And then we can work on an education path for the members of the community. This builds personal growth as there’s more weddings in Mombasa alone than we as a unit can wave a stick at.

Well trained, well-educated photographers in the craft means that we’ll have more diversity and more work open up for everyone as well as a unified way forward for the community.

What major campaigns have you worked with?

One that was very close to me was a campaign against gender based violence which was a group project that was absorbed by the United Nations as well as the MSF that was one of the largest campaigns. Apart from that, over the past two years I’ve been working quite a bit on campaigns with the Aga Khan Development Network ( AKDN ) who are one of the largest NGO’s in the world and have been extremely active in East Africa for over 4 decades. They are easily identified by the Aga Khan Insignia and incorporate the Aga Khan Hospital, the Academies and one that I personally find most intersting, is the Early Childhood Development Madrasa Program, a project that began almost 37 years ago with the Muslim Ummah in Mombasa. The project was initiated to incorporate a balance between the secular and religious sides of education for Muslim youth in Mombasa initiated in as at the time, Muslim children were being marginalised due to the fact that they had almost no primary schooling. 

It is such ideas and projects that increasingly bring me more joy when working with the AKDN 

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Hopefully teaching. I’d like to be able to share as much information as I can as I believe that is all I can do to help with the industry / youth.

Parting shot.

Photography as a career is tough. Especially in East Africa where the market has not yet matured. It is unfortunate but it is true. I want to get to a point where we as an industry are recognized and are able to bring actual change and development to our region.

YEPI Governors Startup Challenge 2019 Winner

“I think what you need is not the money but what you need is the passion and drive that will enable you get to earn (eventually),” is how Anzazi Kiti sums it up.

This is her advice especially for fellow youth aspiring to dive into businesses.

The message aptly captures her own entrepreneurship journey, seeing that she took it up out of passion. “Since my childhood I was the child who was always in the kitchen. So despite my background as an accountant, I decided to shift into my passion which is to spice up kitchens. I found it’s more fulfilling,” she had told panel judges.

Anzazi Kiti, from Kilifi South and founder of Taste Afrique Ltd, is the winner of Governors Startup Challenge (GSC) 2019. She runs a food company dealing in manufacturing, distribution and selling of food seasoning products dubbed Chibundiro and Siri spices.

The Governors Startup Challenge is a program of the Mombasa based Youth Empowerment Programme Initiative (YEPI), and that seeks to stimulate and promote youth led businesses.

There had been 10 finalists representing the best and brightest startups to compete in designing and building entrepreneurial projects that also solve community problems.

Anzazi came up tops to claim the prize award of an equity funding worth 100,000Kes.

Her company is about three years old now and Anzazi has been at the centre of nurturing and navigating it to a path of growth, and now sees the business slowly but surely moving forward with what she terms as the ‘Chibundiro effect’ digging in. The demand is growing, they’re creating employment, sales project a promising trend et cetera.

But what is Chibundiro, you may ask? The natural seasoning product draws its inspiration from the Chonyi (a Mijikenda sub tribe) culture, but with a unique formula skillfully made out of onions, ginger, garlic alongside other organic spices. It comes in three styles in the forms of all purpose seasoning with chilli, non-chilli and mild offerings and packaged from a range of a 10Kes sachet to a 700Kes jar.

Taste Afrique also produces the Siri product series; Siri ya Chai, Siri ya Pilau and Siri ya Mchuzi!

Life in Mombasa had a brief chat with Anzazi:

What made you participate in the GSC?

I saw the commitment of YEPI on this programme and I could feel the vision that the vision bearer was having and decided I want to be part of this noble intervention.

What have you learnt?

I am happy that in the five days of the boot camp I’ve learnt a lot of things that I’ve never learnt in my business journey so far. YEPI has taught me different ways that I can employ to succeed in business, and have also learnt ways to provide community solutions through entrepreneurship.

Why do customers like Chibundiro and not your competitor’s products?

I think there are different tastes and preferences but because Chibundiro is all natural and convenient we are able to impact customer’s lives. So that they save time, save money and also eat natural food.

Describe how the experience for 2019 GSC was?

I feel like it was beyond my expectations and honestly I didn’t expect to win so for me it’s humbling. I thank YEPI.

At first I thought (the boot camp) would be relaxing but it was back-to-back work and quite engaging. So I am really excited to go back to work now and continue the journey of entrepreneurship

The 2019 YEPI Governors Startup Challenge Finalists

In an earlier post we highlighted the Governors Startup Challenge, one of the programmes of a Mombasa based Youth Empowerment Program Initiative (YEPI) that seeks to stimulate and promote youth led businesses.

The Governors Startup Challenge (GSC) does this by bringing together select young entrepreneurs representing some of the best and brightest startups to compete in designing and building entrepreneurial projects that also solve community problems.

2019 marks the second edition of GSC, and as hinted in the last post this year’s edition presented very interesting, ambitious and energetic 10 finalists that earned their way (out of a pool of over 130 applicants) to the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp that epitomizes the GSC.

The 10 young fellows were officially unveiled by YEPI at a networking cocktail event held at Mombasa’s Pride Inn CBD hotel.

The industries repped by the #GSC2019 finalists are as diverse as they come with blue economy, arts, health, cuisine, agri-business, event management, media & communications, technology and waste management taken care of.

Below are profile of the 10 finalists:


Josephine is the founder of Awescribers, an early stage startup which provides video scribing, augmented reality & 2D and 3D animation services. Her mission is to disrupt the education sector by stimulating the uptake of graphic illustrations as the alternative to engaging and interactive learning experiences.

Her creative productions also aim at changing the narrative of how presentations and advertisements are packaged.

“Participating in programs like the GSC will help me professionalize my project. It also helps me publicize my work, few people knew about it because mostly I used to do it ‘chini ya maji’” the creative from Kilifi County says.  

Animation skills sound like a complicated skills set to acquire, right? Then you might be surprised to know that Josephine taught herself all this thanks to that old, useful quality: curiousity. And the internet!

“When you are excited about something it’s easy to learn. It took one week.”


Ali’sLikoni Creative Cleaners Services is a community business tackling environmental pollution by providing garbage collection and clean-up services as well as creating awareness on proper waste management practices.

It is estimated that Mombasa produces up to 2,000 tons of solid waste per day. So you think this is all dirt. Ali thinks he is literally ‘sitting on a gold mine’, plus an opportunity to help in fixing this problem.

“I took a keen interest in the GSC so that I can be inspired. The program has mentors who are basically entrepreneurs who made it from scratch and learning from them can be motivating,” says the 20-year old.


Elizabeth’s AfriFabri-Collection is a business that up scales fabric waste materials to produce custom made, multipurpose African print bags, pillows, cushions and shaggy door mats. The Kilifi County based social entrepreneur is also a fourth year student at Pwani University.

Apart from word-of-mouth referrals that gives her business, she also markets her products on social media where she sells and make deliveries.

“My long term goal is to enhance skills development especially for the women of Kilifi County. When my business grows I would want to run a workshop and train women on tailoring,” she says.


Evlyneis a self-taught baker who is passionate about food. She founded Healthy Bakes, a home based business aimed at providing consumers with freshly prepared bakery, pastry products and educating people on healthy alternative at all times.

Evlyne’s healthy baking concept is built around usage of alternative baking ingredients such as millet flour, rice flour, amaranth flour, cassava flour, honey et cetera. Her yummy products are not only for gluten intolerant people and those on diets, but also customers who seek to venture into healthy eating.

“I am also in the process of making lactation cookies which am still perfecting the recipe,” she lets on.


Anzazi is the founder of Nairobi based Taste Afrique Ltd, a healthy food companythat manufactures and sells organic food seasoning products dubbed Chibundiro and Siri spices.

Three years now down the line since the business started, they are growing bit by bit but she has an even bigger vision for it. Anzazi wants to see her brands become Kenya’s leading natural food seasoning products and available in all households.

On her participation in the GSC2019, “I saw the vision in YEPIs program and that’s why I wanted to be part of this noble intervention. I hope to learn something that I’ve never learnt in my business journey so far,” she says.


Lavender is an Agriculture and Enterprise Development Graduate and co-founded ATM as a concept to bring affordable solution to small-holder cassava farmers often experiencing post-harvest losses and exploitation by middlemen.

She and her team aim to be market enablers for cassava farmers through decentralized agro-processed facilities thus killing two birds with one stone; adding value for end user’s benefit and offering better prices for farmers.

“We need capital to make our idea work and I saw this (read Governors Startup Challenge) as an opportunity to access an asset that will grow our business,” she quips.


Said is the founder of Cobra Event, an event security company that aims to recruit and train marginalized youth on conflict management, customer care, health, safety and physical intervention skills in order to create job opportunities.

With some experience having worked in the sector abroad, he thought that by training college-going as well as youth who never had a chance to pursue tertiary or higher education studies in event security it would empower them to eke out a living.

“The idea came when I was in the UK, and before I left my home in Kisauni (Mombasa County) there had been increasing cases of youth crime. Apparently idleness was cited as the root cause,” he narrates.

That’s what motivated the birth of Cobra Event Sec. To provide the youth in his community with part-time gigs.


A 19 year-old student at Thika Training Institute, Moses’ entrepreneurial light bulb is to start a fish farming project in the sea areas of Jomvu in Mombasa County addressing the issues of sea waste management and boosting protein intake around the coastal communities.

Let’s face it, traditional fishing practices & techniques are simply no longer sustainable in the long run and this equals to danger in terms of sea-food security. Fish cage farming is the future of fisheries with the potential to boost food production and supply.

 “I believe lessons I’ll take from the Governors Startup Challenge program will be impactful in bettering my idea,” he says.


Stephen is creative and passionate about youth matters. His digital media agency empowers young people through impactful storytelling by sharing content on issues affecting the youth and possible solutions via its Mwangaza Magazine.  

It all started in 2016 as a campus publication, but went on to rebrand outside university to accommodate a wider audience as well as to assume a more serious outlook in terms of content offering. It has since grown to also include a commercial wing providing branding services.

“Each one of us has a talent which they can use to develop themselves and others,” he advises.


She is strong, is simply how you can describe Radhia. The 24 year-old almost got crushed by the jaws of depression, but this courageous and energetic young woman fought back and eventually founded Mind To Canvas.

Yes, Mind To Canvas because she’s a gifted artist and given her experiences, she chose to start a social enterprise that employs art to pass across social messages around mental health themes.

“At first I didn’t use to sell my (artwork), but my friends encouraged me to because they liked them,” she says.

“Though I realized most people don’t understand art and that’s why they don’t buy artwork. So I incorporated mental health messages to sell the idea that drawings (and paintings) are just as valuable as books. And now people are starting to buy.” 

Jina langu ni Cindy Lithimbi Ondego

Your Name and what do you do?

My name is Cindy Ondego, born Lithimbi. I’m married to a wonderful man, we have 2 beautiful daughters and I have the ultimate blessing of being called ‘mum’ about 1000 times a day.

I am also a business owner: MombasaWorks is a coworking, learning and event space that I opened in October 2018; and an international development practitioner. I was born in Mombasa, and it continues to be home to me and my family.

How did Founders come about?

When the idea for MombasaWorks first entered my mind, I parked it for a long time because I just didn’t’ see myself as a business owner or entrepreneur. But I got a lot of inspiration from Guy Raz’s podcast ‘How I Built This’ – a US-based entrepreneurship podcast. The show is full of raw, real-life accounts of how ordinary people have built wildly successful companies. But it’s a US-based podcast; and I struggled to find local content that also celebrated the entire journey, recognizing achievements and success, but also unpacking the failures, personal sacrifices, breaking points etc. That’s how the idea for Founders came about.

I also really wanted to create a platform for Coast-based entrepreneurs to share their story, to demonstrate that Mombasa is working, and there is an entrepreneurship and innovation space here.

Naturally, it has sort of become our flagship event series as MombasaWorks.

Has Founders been helpful to the attendees?

Yes! You get to hear the unscripted, real and detailed stories from a founder who is either from this region, or whose business has a presence in this region. So it’s like vicariously living through someone else’s experiences that are probably not far from your own. It’s essentially a huge learning opportunity without any risk.

We’re really honoured and blessed to have had guests who are generous with sharing their experiences – so nothing is off the table in terms of discussion: we’ve discussed everything from racism and the politics of venture capital fundraising, painful exits and contracts gone sour, work/life balance, and really major fails. The series provide a risk-free learning opportunity, and meets people where they need it most, wherever they are along the entrepreneurship journey.

It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people living and working in/around Mombasa, in a relaxed environment. I’ve had two people tell me that they started their ventures after being inspired by the stories from founders. I didn’t expect that so was really pleased to hear that!

I’ll add, I don’t think there is one path to being a successful entrepreneur. Nor one ‘model’ of a successful entrepreneur (in terms of background, education, race or class). I’ve seen that in the guests we’ve had (and will soon have) on Founders. This diversity in entrepreneurship makes it really quite exciting as well as accessible for people.

What is your vision for Founders?

To see Founders reach more people: so for the discussion to be available in different medium. And for Founders to be a vehicle through which we can demonstrate the vibrancy of the local ecosystem, to ultimately spur more local development through more local/community-level investment. 

Are you planning to have creatives like photographer, content creaters etc. to share their stories?

Definitely! I think the journey of a creative entrepreneur is so rich in lessons particularly because we have a relatively nascent creative economy so hurdles are bigger and the potential for learning that much bigger as well.

Can you give us an insight to what topic will be covered?

All Founders typically follow the same format, one founder and one moderator having a frank discussion about the former’s journey building an organization. So, the conversation is broad, but generally covers a founder’s early years, origins and motivations, experiences raising capital, and insights into entrepreneurship and Mombasa’s economy in respect to the certain industry in question.

But the rest of the conversation is entirely led by the audience and their questions. Some events have focused a lot on raising venture capital, others on the business model and operations, some on entrepreneurship and family life and values.

We summarize all events on our blog so one can get an idea of previous conversations there (

Where do you see Founders in the next 10 years?

In numerous MombasaWorks locations across the Coast region, through different mediums, telling stories of founders and spreading the values of curiosity, humility, kindness and diversity in business.

Parting Shot

Ask lots of questions, always, of everyone. But especially of yourself.

Mombasa Photographers & Videographers

As we create more memories and enjoy our holidays, and celebrations and milestones, most people are finding a way to capture these moments. They can either hire a photographer or videographer or both to capture the smiles, the cries and the joyous occasions. In Mombasa, hiring a photographer and videographer for your wedding, for birthdays, events and etc. has become popular.  More people are capturing these moments, and as the demand increases so are photographers and videographers.

But as days goes by, you can find about them through friends or social media. Life in Mombasa has curated a list of photographers and videographers from Mombasa who specialize in the different genres of photography and videography.

NB: This list will be updated regularly.

Photographers/Videographers Artist: To be added to this list send an email with our Name, contact, specialty and Social Media account to


  • Name: Shira Washira
  • Specialty: Wedding (Destination) & Portraits Photographer
  • Contact: 0772105150
  • Social Media: klensed & sozoed
  • Name: Johnah Kariuki
  • Specialty: All kinds of photography & Videography
  • Contact: 0722318536 | 0734318536
  • Social Media: laughtersphotography
  • Name: Sifa Dena – Sayari Photography
  • Specialty: Documentary and Lifestyle Photography
  • Contact: 0787080870 / 0707254044
  • Social Media: sayariphotography_
  • Name: Perlexy Photography
  • Specialty: All round Photographer
  • Contact: 0723778112
  • Email:
  • Social Media: PerlexyPhotography
  • Name: Jose Macharia
  • Contact: 0712386580
  • Specialty: Fine art, Lifestyle, Wildlife, Photojournalism, Portraits, Fashion, Events and travel photography.
  • Social Media:  JoseMacharia
  • Name: Boaz Muoga
  • Contact: 0724701510
  • Specialty: Corporate events, Private Events & Travels/Tours
  • Social Media: Boaz Fob Photography
  • Name: Ian Kafuna
  • Contact: 0701389204
  • Specialty: Portrait | Corporate functions | Weddings
  • Social Media:  Silver Klique
  • Name: Joshua Muya
  • Contact: 0714585784
  • Specialty: Documentary & Fashion
  • Social Media: Maquss Photography
  • Name: Hamid Al-Timami
  • Contact: 0722277777
  • Specialty: Portraits, Weddings, Wildlife, Properties, Landscape Photographer
  • Social Media: Hamidslens
  • Name: Kelvin Kariithi
  • Contact: 0719 368 644
  • Specialty: Commercial & Documentary Photographer
  • Social Media: klenses
  • Website
  • Name: Kibwana Abdul (Baba_Esha Photography)
  • Contact: 0703749100 / 0753009957
  • Specialty: Portrait
  • Social Media: Baba_Esha Photography
  • Name: Collins want onto
  • Contact: 0704711948
  • Specialty: Wedding/parties
  • Social Media: msonopics
  • Name:  Said Abdillah Said
  • Contact: 0716750063
  • Specialty: Creative Commercial Advertising Photography for Products, Packs, Jewellery, Foods, Liquids and any kind of advertising photography requested by clients. We also do Portraits through special requests.
  • Email:
  • Social Media: scofieldmedia
  • Website:
  • Name: Don Makameleon Photography.
  • Contact: 0703692026 / 0780692026
  • Specialty: Events, portrait and product photography.
  • Social Media: Don Makameleon Photography
  • Name: Raphael (rafaelo Mkenya)
  • Contact: 0724486235
  • Specialty: Wedding and Portraits
  • Social Media: Rafaelo Pixels
  • Name: Swabir Fuad
  • Contact: 0704426767 /
  • Specialty: Portrait, Fashion and Lifestyle photographer.
  • Social Media: Official Royal Arts
  • Name: Kipchirchir Felix- Lovelace Entertainment Ke
  • Contact: 0708140200
  • Specialty: All round photo/videographer
  • Social Media: Lovelace Entertainment Ke
  • Name: Tobias Musyoka
  • Contact: 0700336620 / 0729897305
  • Specialty: Portraits, Fashion,  Events,  Wedding, interior and Drone coverage
  • Social Media: tobbylineclicks
  • Name: Dennis ndegwa
  • Contact: 0728917320
  • Specialty: Portraits, Wedding, Products And Portable Studio Photography.
  • Social Media: andefa_films

Female Photographers:

  • Name: Leyla Shelly
  • Contact: 0799962390 / 0772946824
  • Specialty: Birthday events, Weddings, Corporates, Kitchen parties, Maulid, Burials, Events etc. Video coverages
  • Social Media: LeylaGphotography
  • Name:  Rosebell Owiti aka BelaBela.
  • Contact: 0721895987.
  • Specialty: Lifestyle, Fine Art and Portrait Photographer.
  • Social Media: artsy_ belabela
  • Name: Patty Pamela
  • Contact: 0721976727
  • Specialty: Weddings, Engagements, Family, New born, Maternity, Corporate
  • Social Media: pattieparriephotography
  • Name:  Maryam Nassir
  • Contact: 0715685434 / 0732822821
  • Specialty: Wedding, Birthday, anniversaries, seminars Videography & photography. Hiring PA system and stage decorations.
  • Social Media: Maryam nassir production
  • Name: S.KreationZ photographers
  • Contact: 0738407236 | 0723846662
  • Specialty: Wedding, Party, Corporate Evenst
  • Social Media: S.KreationZ photographers


  • Name: xtreme photograph254 & video production
  • Contact: 0708385223
  • Specialty:  photography and videography
  • Social Media: xtreme photograph254
  • Name: Patricky Protich Lan – Plan Media
  • Contact: 0724895177
  • Specialty: All round Videographer and Photographer.
  • Social Media: Plan Media

The Governors Startup Challenge by YEPI

The Governors Startup Challenge (GSC) is one of the program menus served up by the Mombasa based Youth Empowerment Program Initiative, popularly known by its acronym YEPI.

YEPI is a non-profit and youth led organization primarily existing to empower young people from the coastal region as it seeks to address the sticking challenges of unemployment, poverty and violent extremism.

Through its GSC component whose 2019 edition (the 2nd edition of GSC program) is currently underway, YEPI seeks to stimulate and promote youth led businesses that impact positively on the society. It brings together 10 select young and aspiring entrepreneurs to compete in designing and developing new entrepreneurial solutions to community challenges.

For instance this year’s 10 finalists were sieved from a very competitive three month’s identification process that saw over 130 applicants from over 9 counties across Kenya express interest. So in other words, the 10 are the big deal as far as promising, sustainable community centered entrepreneurships are concerned.

The collective profile of this year’s finalists in terms of their industry, county and gender representation is as dynamic as they come. The peak of the GSC is the Boot Camp (on-going currently), a week-long, residential knowledge transfer activity focusing on a business development regime in the ways of entrepreneurship and innovation, peer to peer learning, networking, collaborative sessions, discussions and mentoring.

The C in GSC stands for Challenge, the boot camp usually culminates in a pitching competition where each finalist puts their best foot forward to make a case for why their businesses or ideas are worth investing in. The winning pitch(es) receive an equity funding prize award.

The boot camp sessions and its business development thought and literature content.  It’s an open secret that many entrepreneurships collapse before they even begin due to a mix of capacity and focus. And so participants are guided through design driven startups, business modeling, smart financing options available for entrepreneurships et cetera.

The heart of the GSC component as one of YEPI’s anchor programs is the concept of social entrepreneurship, such is that leadership, integrity and ethics also feature heavily on the in-class and mentorship experience.

The GSC program goes beyond the boot camp.  For instance, after the camp each entrepreneur is matched with a seasoned mentor to guide them in their business journey and issues they face in their own communities.

The Governors Startup Challenge is not affiliated with any political leaders or entities. The objective is, when young people are equipped with the right skills and knowledge then they’re able to govern their businesses well.

Mombasa Heena Artists

Heena has become part of Mombasa culture, most cultures have embraced the different designs and patterns that originate from different parts of the world. You will find beauty schools and individual teach heena application classes at reasonable prices. In a previous blog we wrote about the beauty of Heena.

There is always a reason for women to look for heena artists in Mombasa, be it a wedding, Eid celebration and just to adorn their hands with beautiful heena patterns.  The demand is always there, with different artists in Mombasa sometimes it is difficult to find one who fits the patterns you are looking for.  Life in Mombasa has curated a list of Heena artists in Mombasa. The below are different artists that offer different types of Heena application, click on their social media to see their work.

NB: This list will be updated regularly. 

Heena Artist: To be added to this list send an email with our Name, contact and Social Media account to

  • Name:  Umema Aunali
  • Contact: 0 724841762
  • Social Media: umzmehndi
  • Name:  Thureiya Abdallah
  • Contact: :0725297561
  • Social Media: Thureiya_heena
  • Name:  Nush Hamid
  • Contact: 0721286787
  • Social Media: Nush Hamid
  • Name:  Arwa Khuzeima
  • Contact: 0719116059
  • Social Media: heena.By.Arwa
  • Name:  Farida Hussein Swaleh
  • Contact: 0790856426
  • Social Media: eeyder__
  • Name:  Sakina Aslam
  • Contact:  0710955786
  • Social Media: sakina_ariff
  • Name:  Hanaa Noorani
  • Contact: 0733955757
  • Social Media: hanaanoorani

Mbaraki Ancient Mosque Pillar

Constructed between 1400 and 1450 AD the Mbaraki Ancient Mosque Pillar is located just to the west of Likoni Ferry roundabout behind G4S HQs. The Mbaraki Pillar stands at 50 FT tall and is gazetted as a national monument and making it one of the historic places in Mombasa.

The coral stone pillar is the second oldest monument after Fort Jesus. The mosque had fallen to complete ruin by 1550 AD before being rebuilt in 1988. It has a large prayer room, 2 anterooms and stone-built cisterns for storing water on its north-eastern and south-western corners.

Jina langu ni Shufaa Yakut

Your name and what do you do?

My name is Shufaa Yakut. I create content online. Communication, social media management etc. I am a writer, I write creative nonfiction and short stories.

I serve the community full time. Currently the senior administrator and communication director at swahilipot hub.

I manage all social media for Jaffery Academy Mombasa.

I am a web development/web design student of Pwani Teknowgalz, recently completed my first project of redesigning swahilipot hub website. You can check it out,

I vlog for YouTube sometimes. Currently been a bit active in Ramadhan,  check out

Tell us about is a website that has stories and articles which mostly favour the female young adult -soon to introduce kid’s stories too. It matured from two years ago. Blogging was inspired by my lawyer friend, in around 2014-2015 who (sadly) no longer writes. I used to publish long notes and poems in Facebook until Carole started sharing links to me from her WordPress account. I thought it was a great idea and decided to download the WordPress App. From there, I met very many writers via Facebook, Instagram and events.

Recently found out that I write for young adults. I put myself in a teenager’s shoes and I feature her. We rarely read stories that these young adults in high school can relate to except for movies, which most contain controversial issues that other parents find offensive. Most teenagers read novels that are not of their age. I have realized there are no stories about the real things happening to the current teenage kids. These people read, they are always online so in as much I want it to look real, I try to make it cool for them.

I put myself in a lady attending a boring meeting so I write something for her too. A lady can multitask. The lady stuck in a traffic jam or you who can’t listen to a podcast, you are welcome.

What do you love the most about writing?

Writing is interesting. A writer has to be able to think like both a man and a woman, both a kid and an old person, both a sane and a mad person to achieve the message they want to communicate. This makes me research a lot and in the journey, learn a lot too. I find new strength in writing, especially being open about controversial topics. The prophet said there’s no shame in learning, that is why i am finding it now easy to call a spade a spade when I write. Initially I would hide words till I learnt the power of description. I haven’t fully gotten it but I am not where I used to be.

Do you prefer fictional writing or non-fictional?

Initially, I preferred non fiction because that was all that made sense to me. I did not believe in what does not exist. Recently I read BINTI, a science fiction book and found it interesting. It makes a reader more creative by imagining things and struggling it to make sense in the eyes of a reader. Being able to give life to a story and creating characters is becoming very interesting lately.

How many African writers book have you read? And what makes you keep on reading?

Quite a few, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nnedi Okorafor, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Elnathan Jones I think and a few more.

I have also read local writers from the country and from Mombasa e.g. Jj Lanji Ouko, Lubnah Abdulhalim, Nadia Naddy etc. It feels good reading the works of a person you have met or a person you can relate to.

Well, reading inspires me to learn the different writers’ brains/thoughts.

How do you get inspired to write?

Mostly by reading. Whenever I read, I get an idea to either write something similar or totally opposite. It jogs my mind and challenges my abilities. Sometimes movies and people’s stories. I have a lot of people’s stories to publish in my website, just watch what you say to me. (laughing). Very few times, I go look for inspiration from places where many people gather, like market places or Salon. Other times even in public transports. When you hear someone say “hii Kenya yetu Hii…” know there’s a story following and 60% of the people in the matatu will contribute.

Women in Mombasa are slowly emerging in different sectors, how can we use writing to tell the stories?

We can always come up with a page in a site to celebrate the success of women in Mombasa.

As writers in Mombasa, we need to take a woman’s success as our own individually. Applaud them even if it’s in a collective article. I believe in team work especially for victory. In one blog I.e life in Mombasa, every writer can contribute a sentence or two talking about one specific person’s success every month. This way, all of us will have a share in it and share it widely. We can introduce feature stories and interviews for the same too.

What are your future plans for your blog and writing journey?

I believe it’s every writer’s dream to publish a book one day. Those who have already published now wish to have their own publishing sites and maybe a library. Apart from wanting to publish my own story, I hope to publish a setbook in future. This will be read by generations to come, both book lovers and non-readers. Everyone will talk about it and teachers will use my work as examples. My works will not be easily forgotten. I want to capture people’s thoughts from when they are in school.

In the near future, I’m planning to introduce a kid’s section where I’ll be writing stories for kids and find a way to get them published in the local newspapers. I will be updating my website quite often and adding every new feature I learn, now that I have web development knowledge. I am also planning to create a subdomain for blogs about social media and content creation after Ramadhan in shaa Allah. I hope it works out as I have planned. Maybe, just maybe, I will add a shop page. I will be selling thrifted clothes when the need grows because people have been asking me where I get dressed, during events. 90% of the clothes are thrifted. So I’ll help a sister out.

What resources would you advice the youth to use to grow their passion, be it writing, acting, singing and or any skill they have?

The main one is using youth centers and safe spaces like Swahilipot hub and MTY impact hub. Here, they will meet people from all corners of life and grow in thoughts.

Second, attend events. Especially art related events for the talent lovers. Here you get exposed to people and the world.

Third, use their voices especially in events, talk to people more and build networks.

Finally, YouTube university. Do more research and allow yourself to make mistakes then correct.

Parting Shot.

If I could, I would advise my younger self to not be afraid of taking risks, not be afraid of the results and not be afraid of what the society will say. I would start the moment I thought about an idea.

Dare to do more than what you think you can.

Nobody is born wise. Let us read as much as we can and keep on learning. Prophet Mohammed (SAW) said, “Indeed, knowledge only comes by learning.”

Organic Beauty Products from Mombasa

Beauty industry is growing daily, every day we are introduced to a new brand that caters to our skin type, skin tone and etc. Every products boasts to be the one that will work to clear our face, even out our skin tone and/or make our face glow. Most of these products have chemicals that are harsh to our skin type even though they claim to help us. As the industry keeps growing, some women have come up with organic products that are less harsh to our skin, purely natural and actually works for all skin types.

There are several women in Mombasa, who have created organic products that are essential for many women, most of them natural and pure. Some are from traditional ingredients that have been used for years generation after generation. Below are a few brands that are in the market in Mombasa:

Name of your Brand?

We are skincare by ROZaNa

An online based skincare brand that’s bringing back traditional recipes using natural ingredients with some aspect of the Islamic Sunnah (Based on the way of life of the holy Prophet Mohammad PBUH)

What is the purpose of your products? (IE body wash, hair oil etc.)

We specialize in Karafuu, a herbal clove based face & body scrub made from 5 natural ingredients with no preservatives and no chemicals, it’s suitable for all skin types. It exfoliates, helps to heal and prevent acne and has anti-aging properties.

Name of your different products.

We stock Karafuu face & body scrub,

    – Qasil powder which is locally known as mkunazi

    – seaweed bar soap

    – castor/ baobab oil blend

What inspired you to start your business?

My inspiration came from my own need for a lifestyle change due to health issues. I started reading ingredients on products instead of looking at packaging and brand loyalty and was surprised at all the harmful chemicals we use on ourselves daily. I decided to take inspiration from our ancestors and started to research ancient health and beauty traditions and was hooked! Now I’m hoping to encourage the people of Mombasa to embrace ancient beauty secrets and ditch the chemicals.

What are the challenges faced?

I know my products are not for everyone but I wish people would just give them a try before judging. It’s challenging to convince people to give up sweet smelling skincare products In packaging that’s probably more expensive than the actual ingredients and use natural alternatives instead that are not as attractive but contain much safer, skin friendly ingredients.

Also getting good quality plastic free packaging is very important to me but quite costly as we have to import.

Name of your Brand?

Mama’s Organics

What is the purpose of your products?

Most of products are for body and Hair

Name of your different products.

Shea Butter for body and hair:

Restores elasticity to the skin

Helps to heal cuts and burns without scarring

Minimizes stretch marks

Natural sun protector

Strong antioxidant

Prevents premature aging

Promotes healthy skin


Rich in antioxidants

Hair sealant

Stop scalp irritation

Offers protection from heat

Reduce UV damage

Hair softener

Green tea body scrub:

Full of antioxidants and vitamins your skin needs, anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and irritationSugar: Gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells

Hair growth stimulator:

promotes hair growth

strengthens hair

prevents hair breakage

reverse damaged hair

eliminate dry frizzy hair

restores shiny

conditions hair

dandruff remedy

What inspired you to start your business?

I myself love beauty products. For this reason, whenever I travel I always find myself in search of natural and effective beauty products that are out there.

As family and friends abroad would notice my interest in beauty products, they kept requesting me to bring them unrefined shea butter from Africa whenever I intended to visit them. This triggered an interest in shea butter for me and to go a step further by trying to find out the best ways of using it as well.

What are the challenges faced?

Being a small batch producer we face quite a number of challenges:

• logistics i.e. delivering products outside of our city on time and at a reasonable cost.

• finding raw material in small batches.

• sourcing the same packaging material consistently.

Name of your Brand?

Salummy Beauty Products

Slogan: Modernizing Traditions

What is the purpose of your products? (IE body wash, hair oil etc.)

My products are 100% organic and the main purpose they serve is to grow, moisturize and nourish hair of all kind and type. So far, all my products serve that purpose except the soaps which are used to treat eczema, pimples, acne and any skin-related issues.

Name of your different products.

  • Salummy’s Ayurvedic and Lavender Hair oil
  • Salummy’s Moisturizing lavender butter
  • Salummys’ Beard oil
  • Salummy’s Organic Conditioner
  • Salummy’s Sulfate-free shampoo
  • Salummy’s Sheabae powder
  • Salummy’s Deep conditioning Magic
  • Salummy’s African Black Soap
  • Salummy’s Weekly Deep-conditioning Programs- 20 slots available for homemade deep-conditioning masks each Friday.

What inspired you to start your business?

My main motivation was to create awareness on the side effects of chemicals on hair. Studies show that they cause life-threatening ailments like reproductive problems, heart diseases, different forms of cancer, early puberty, fibroids, and even mental health disorders. Relaxers are able to disrupt the chemical balance of our bodies by entering our system through cuts and burns. I also wanted my brand to remind other African women that they are beautiful. Their hair represents their identity, culture and self-love. When African women and men know their value and are not influenced by trends or misconceptions about their identity, they flourish.

What are the challenges faced?

One of the main challenges is being able to maintain the growth of clients and ensuring that both the old and new clients can still come back to purchase my products.

The other challenge is sometimes scarcity of a particular raw material can delay the production process and because I work with herbs, I have to ensure that they are ready for use and the rains favor me.

As the business progresses, there might be a need to increase production more than the normal rate and this can demand a lot of money-I call it a good problem and I am still trying my level best to understand how to effectively manage my finances, keep proper records, and not let the market down.

The other challenge I experience is adjusting with the business when I travel. Apart from this business, I am a Civic leader and writer and I therefore travel quite frequently and this sometimes affects my business. I might leave enough stock to last my suppliers and personal assistants for the time I am away but people would still want to communicate and consult me with regard to various products and this sometimes makes me so overwhelmed when I am back from my trips.

Name of your brand?

Afroganics Essentials Limited

What is the purpose of your products?

We have a range of coconut-based products for different uses in the home, divided into two categories;

  • Beauty and cosmetics
  • Edible products

Under our Beauty and cosmetics range we have the following products;

  • Coconut oil

100% organic cold pressed coconut oil which contains anti-aging properties that can be used as a daily moisturizer for your hair & skin. A very gentle makeup remover, it is also suitable for use as a carrier oil in mixing with other products such as essential oils, scrubs and masks for both hair and skin. Its gentle on baby’s skin & is great for dental hygiene through oil pulling

  • Coconut scrub

Our coconut scrub is made from amazing all-natural ingredients including coconut flakes, sugar, virgin coconut oil and some essential oils. The scrub exfoliates your skin to help improve elasticity and blood circulation which aids in collagen production. It is guaranteed to hydrate & rejuvenate your skin to give an overall smoother, brighter, more youthful appearance.

  • Coconut Jelly

The Coconut jelly is a sensational product which is a client favorite due to its versatility. We have 6 different types, (eucalyptus, pine, lemon, rose, strawberry & natural). It can be used on babies to prevent diaper rash. Great moisturizer for hair and skin and is easy to carry around for everyday use.

In our edible products selection, we have the following;

  • Coconut vinegar

Afroganics Coconut Vinegar is made from the sap of coconut which is fermented naturally to preserve its nutrients, which have the same benefits as apple cider vinegar, and then some! It is therefore a good source of probiotics, minerals and vitamins, including potassium (which helps balance electrolytes, control blood pressure, and process sugar), vitamin C and certain B vitamins, particularly B2 or riboflavin (an important vitamin that is essential in the body’s energy production, cellular function, and metabolism).

The Afroganics coconut vinegar can be used for various functions in the home such as your favorite salad dressings, marinades, and sauces for an extra pop of flavor.

It is also great for the skin as it reduces dark circles and can be used on your hair for that extra shine. A truly versatile gem, this product is worth a try by everyone in the family.

  • Coconut nectar

Afroganics Coconut Nectar is a low fructose natural sweetener that is a nutritious alternative to use for both raw and cooked recipes. A great alternative to honey or maple syrup, it has a very pleasant sweet mineral flavor, with a hint of floral. Its neutral flavor does not alter the taste of the food it is added to, unlike other sweeteners and it can be used in various recipes in your cook book.

Our coconut Nectar is extremely healthy too, it is high in mineral content, a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. It also contains vitamin B1, B2, B3 & B6

It is completely natural, unrefined and preservative free.

  Name of our different products.

  • Afroganics coconut oil
  • Afroganics coconut body scrub
  • Afroganics coconut jelly (eucalyptus, pine, lemon, rose, strawberry & natural)
  • Afroganics coconut nectar
  • Afroganics coconut vinegar

What inspired you to start your business?

To explore the potential of coconut which is vastly available on the coast and spread awareness about its effective and efficient use.

What are the challenges faced?

  1. Brand awareness. Our brand is yet to reach a level of awareness to the general public that we would hope for. Especially since we have such a unique range of product such as the coconut vinegar and nectar
  2. Saturated market. The market is full of similar products which may not be as good of quality as ours but since we produce the same kind of goods, it is easy to get lost in the sea of options available.
  3. Difficulty in accessing mainstream market through facilities such as supermarkets and large retailers.

Name of your Brand?


What is the purpose of your products?

Suwis herbal hair Oil and Suwis herbal hair Food are for Natural hair only and Suwis handmade Tumeric body soap is for skin.

Name of your different products.

Suwis herbal hair Oil

Suwis herbal hair Food

Suwis handmade Tumeric body Soap

What inspired you to start your business?

To be Self-employed and to be role model to young people on being creative and business minded.

What are the challenges faced?

Most of the time competition is High.  Convincing customer to purchase the products sometimes it’s a bit hectic, other customers are very rude.

Many Wholesalers they don’t pay Cash, sometimes it’s very difficult to get hard cash to continue with another Batch.

Name of your Brand?

Well that’s going back to the memory lane!  RANNY is the name of the brand. But before we go into more detail about RANNY, I would like to give people a little tour of my company. Originally, I started as SVERIGE.


Sweden as commonly known in the western world is a Scandinavian medieval kingdom in the eastern part of Scandinavian Peninsula. In Swedish language “Sverige” means Sweden just here in Kenya we call ourselves Kenyans. I am Kenyan born. Sweden is my second home. Initially when I started, I chose the name Sverige because of my deep roots and connection during my time living in Sweden. Happy memories and one of the best times in my life. To appreciate my adopted country, I chose Sverige.

Now back to RANNY. Why did I change from Sverige to RANNY? As the business started to grow and my fan base started to get bigger and bigger I realized that my customers were having difficulties in pronunciation. After careful consideration of customer’s reviews and feedbacks I decided to change it to RANNY.

To avoid confusion, the name of the brand is RANNY under the license of Sverige enterprise limited.  Sounds confusing, well life is like a multiple-choice question. The choices will confuse you not the question. I believe someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now let’s laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears and keep reminding ourselves that everything happens for a reason.

What is the purpose of your products?

To be quite honest to say the purpose of my products is just Oil, Shampoo and Conditioner will be a lie. RANNY was a journey of self-discovery. During my stint in Sweden I was struggling with hair loss. As you are aware the European weather can be horrible thus it can have some drastic effects on your wellbeing and more importantly the hair. Statistically, over a third of the women say hair loss leaves them feeling depressed. It’s not surprising that it has the potential of affecting our mood and self-esteem.

In Sweden the emotion of hair loss took its toll and unfortunately, I was a victim of severe depression. Lack of good quality hair supplements and oil related products in Sweden I was forced to take matters into my own hands. Back to Mombasa, the coastal people were well known to have beautiful natural hair. In 1980s and early 1990s when I was growing up in Mombasa, my charismatic grandmother used to prepare, cook and herbally extract “pojo” to make hair oil for us the grandkids and much to the extended family. Back then there was hardly supermarkets or the likes of “Loreal” in Mombasa homes. In the old days, it was part of the “Swahili” culture and tradition to cook and prepare hair oils.

The hair loss in Sweden forced me to use local herbal remedies previously taught by my grandmother. Therefore, the purpose of RANNY isn’t just business and producing oils. Our objective was to get cure and help thousands of women in Sweden and now in my hometown “Mombasa”. Mine is to give women the sense of belonging and boost their confidence. I wanted to help women who were struggling with hair lose. Yes, it’s a business but it’s more of a personal fulfilment rather than profit and sales.

Name of your different products.

At first, we started with RANNY oil and now few years later we have expanded into Shampoo and Conditioner & hair food. We have few more end products on the horizon but we are not in a rush to be a commercial interested company. We want to treat women not to retreat them with endless money-making schemes. It took us more than two years to carefully taste our latest shampoo and conditioner before it was released to the public. RANNY is a firm believer of excellence. Excellence comes when one balances quality with quantity. Quality takes time and reduces quantity, that’s why RANNY’s quantity is less than its competitors but in sense its more efficient and precise.

What inspired you to start your business?

At first, it was fun and self-healing. I was losing hair in a dramatic fashion and that’s why I resorted back to old fashioned herbal extracted grandmother’s “Swahili” remedy. I asked her about the recipe and cooking of the RANNY oil. 

Like I said it wasn’t for profiteering at all. It was purely for my own needs just wanted to save my hair. Slowly and gradually my hair started to become stronger and more replenished. My Sverige white friends started to notice the difference and I was happy to share my RANNY with them. Days, weeks and years past I became a perfectionist in cooking RANNY at home. More and more mutual friends came for RANNY due to recommendations and positive reviews.

Well that’s the birth of RANNY. I started to cook more oils and packaged them into a tiny little bottle and the rest is history. RANNY isn’t a business. It’s the passion and the love to cure women’s number problem i.e. hair losses. I had an idea and a vision and fortunately I decided to do something about it. I call myself an entrepreneur because I am doer not a dreamer.

What are the challenges faced?

Our primary challenges at RANNY is how to cure hair loss in women. How to protect receding hairline and thinning of hair etc. At RANNY we want to get treatment for Alopecia and baldness amongst men population. Honestly speaking through challenges, we have found opportunities. Our motto in RANNY is very simple. Challenges are opportunities and that’s what make life interesting.

Yes, it wasn’t easy when we first started. It was rough and exhausting. On the business side of things yes there were so many challenges and setbacks. For example:

As an entrepreneur it is nearly impossible to convince women out there. Most women will prefer to use the world famous brands i.e. L’Oréal. But being a pessimist, I just pushed and overcame those barriers. We are anticipating more challenges in future as we plan to expand our business and products. But being challenged in business is inevitable, being defeated is optional.