Author - Jammy

Mombasa Historic Bank: Absa Bank

Growing up in Mombasa, I remember one of the banks I would go with my aunt was Barclays Bank on Digo Road. I would be fascinated by the tellers, and people transacting. It was my first encounter with banking systems. It was one of the few banks in Mombasa. The building was iconic. It was one of the banks people encountered with including the one in Nkrumah. The Nkrumah road branch was the first branch in Kenya, they opened in 1916, which became the springboard of their presence in the coast region.

After Over 100 years in Kenya, Barclays bank transitions to Absa Bank with officially launching in Mombasa on 26th February 2020 at Fort Jesus. The Launch was to introduce the new brand, and the redefined products and service with the new transition. They hope to combine the best of their century-long experience in Kenya, with new cutting-edge technologies, innovative products and a vibrant new brand to continue connecting the dreams and aspirations of the Kenyan people to the financial resources needed to accomplish them.

Some of the development progress include:

  • SME proposition to include unsecured loans of up to KES10 million; LPO financing and invoice discounting of up to KES50 million.       
  • Kenya’s first vertical credit and debit cards which offer customers increased convenience and a wide range of benefits including cashback rewards and discounts in shopping outlets across the world.
  • Redefined mortgage offering to include 100% financing, with the most competitive rate in the market of 11.75%
  • Enhanced Timiza, virtual banking proposition, to encourage a savings culture with the best rate in the market.

As they enter a new era they bring new energy and the vibrancy with the new Absa brand, they hope to achieve many more for the existing customer and new potential customers. Their objective is to a holistic financial services provider with a wide range of products including insurance, asset management, investment, virtual banking. Customers can expect to experience a more forward-looking, digitally led bank that is committed to offering world class service.

Customer Service contacts:





Facebook: Absa Bank Kenya

Twitter: @AbsaKenya

Instagram: @absakenya

Sights and Sounds from the Launch:

Mombasa Eateries : New Island Dishes

Mombasa is known for scrumptious and delicious food, people come from all over to try the tasty coastal savory dishes. Coastal cuisine is a combination of different culture’s cuisines, it showcases the integration of cultures in Mombasa. You will get food cooked in coconut milk, other deep fried and nothing beats grilled seafood. Mouthwatering and scrumptious cuisine from the coast is unique and different. 

One of the restaurants in Mombasa offering local coastal cuisine is New Island Dishes located inside Fort Jesus. The first opened in 2014 near Makadara and  moved to inside Fort Jesus in June 2019. They have flexible opening hours, from 7 a.m. to serve you amazing breakfast to 10 p.m.or late for dinner. There is always 6 serves to serve customers with delicious food from the diverse menu. 

The Menu

One of the beautiful elements of the restaurant is the ambiance, since it’s located inside Fort Jesus the interior is natural and the stone walls gives it an historic feeling. The historic surrounding and coastal cuisine will take you back in time to experience history and create memories for you. In addition, the decor of the restaurant is unique and different. Also, the location is ideal after a long tour of Fort Jesus, you can just enter the restaurant and have your meal without walking around looking for a place to eat. Once you have eaten, their form of payments include Cash, Mpesa, and Debit/Credit card depending on your preference. They offer free delivery for orders above 1000 kshs, In addition, they offer catering services for weddings, meetings, parties and etc.  So next time you are near Fort Jesus, visit New Island Dishes and enjoy Swahili and coastal Cuisine. 

For Reservation:

call: 0711-122-221

Instagram : New Island Dishes

Souvenirs heaven: Habari Boutique

When you travel, one of the key activities is shopping for souvenirs. You look for the city branded merchandise to remind you of the memories you created and also to give back as gifts to family members and friends. It’s always the mugs, fridge magnets, bags and T-shirts that are the most popular purchase. The sentiment value makes it ideal for gifting, and also some people like collecting a certain item as a way of showcasing their travels. Some like fridge magnets, where they show each city they have been and others T-shirts. There is no doubt that souvenir are popular in every city and are sold in different shops and vendors at affordable prices. It gives people a sense of belonging.

Mombasa being a destination city, many tourists visit the city to enjoy the beach, learn about the historic background and study the vibrant diverse culture. Therefore, souvenir is popular and reflect on Kenya’s heritage and Mombasa way of life to visitors. There so many shops, vendors and market dedicated to selling Mombasa and Kenya branded souvenirs and merchandise. One of the oldest in the city, is Habari Boutique. Located on Biashara Street, Habari Boutique opened its door in 1980 with the 3rd generation currently managing the store making it one of the historic shops that is still in business. For the last 40 years they have been sourcing and selling various items that reflect Kenya and Mombasa. They open from 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday to allow different people to purchase from their variety of products. On Saturday they close for lunch and open at 3pm to 5 30pm, and close on Sunday’s and public holidays.

In their shop you will find different items for yourself or to gift someone, from T-shirts all sizes, Ladies tussle tops, Ladies cap sleeve tops, and Kenya rugby T-shirts (not official jersey). Including beautiful Copper clocks that shaped like the map of Africa and Kenya, and also Gongs (tusks) made of copper. Also if you want to gift Mugs, Shot glasses with the Kenyan flag or picture of fort Jesus you will find one in different designs.  For those who love Fridge magnets, you will see variety of magnets that showcase Kenya culture, conservation campaigns and the Big Five. There is also pieces for home decorates like cultural Bronze cast figures, wildlife Clay cast figures and various wooden figures. In addition, Paintings for homes and offices of wildlife and Kenyan Cultures. And if you are into Semi precious stones jewelry, Habari boutique is the place to visit. The beautiful necklaces in different stones that match every skin tone.  Other items available for purchase include, Pen holders, Stickers, Safari hats, Caps, Flags and Beaded bracelets (adding more countries). And of course African Shirts and African dresses.

With emerging trends, they ship locally and internationally with shipping charges excluded in the price. All the products are priced between 100 kshs to kshs 40,000, they accept cash and Mpesa through Till number 671007 as forms of payments. So if want something customized, or gift for your loved ones abroad or just being patriotic Habari boutique is your place to visit for your purchase.

Social Media:

Instagram – @habariboutique

Contact Number:  0702727135

Mombasa Eateries : Nahlaans BBQ

Barbecue joints at night has become popular in Mombasa, every street you will find one or two vendors selling Mshikaki, chips and other barbecue menu.  Each vendor has different and unique specialty that people go for. Due to the affordability of menu, most people go with the families and friends and enjoy the night with grilled Mshikaki, tikkas and grilled seafood. It is more enjoyable because people seat outside under the night sky with cool night breeze.

One of the new places to open up recently is Nahlaans BBQ, located on Fidel Odinga road after Ratna Square opposite Texas Alarm building. With beautiful calming ambiance, they opened its door on the 20th November 2018 to offer all types of barbecue from tikka, kebabs, mshikaki, chooza and all other barbecue. Being new in Mombasa, they specialize in creating exquisite taste for customers to assure they keep coming back. They want people to remember the different cuisines offered through their spicy and scrumptious grilled menus.   Nahlaan BBQ operates with more 7 staffs, they usually open between 6 pm to 11 pm to serve you with tasty and delicious meals for dinner for those days you don’t feel like cooking.  The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Mondays.  Form of payment include cash and Mpesa. They also offer delivery in Nyali free of charge (T & C apply) and kshs 200 to town. There different combos to choose from as well, with fresh juices and sides such as masala chips, periperi chips and etc.

As the days goes by they hope to open more branches in town to cater to town customers. Their scrumptious lamb chops is their specialty, it is the most popular in their menu. They recently introduced dynamite prawns, for those sea food lovers, this tangy, spicy prawns cooked in sauce is great for your taste buds. The spicy sauce and combination of prawns will melt in your mouth, giving you tingly feeling.

So next time you are in Nyali, visit them and order their specialty, take your family and friends for scrumptious meal. Find their menu below for menus items and prices:

For reservation call: 0720893666

Social Media:

Facebook: Nahlaans Barbeque

Instagram: @Nahlaansbbq

Jina langu ni Mohamed Gharib Mazrui

Who are you and what do you do?

Jina langu ni Mohamed Gharib Mazrui, I grew up in Mombasa. I am married and a father of two.  I am a self-employed data consultant and an entrepreneur currently based in Nairobi. I am passionate about technology and leadership. I love books (non-fiction only), motorbikes and I would not miss an opportunity to mention that I love TEA.

Tell us about your Entrepreneurship journey?

In 2012, while working as an ERP consultant in Nairobi, Hassan, a good friend of mine came up with a business idea ( – a recruitment website) that required funding. We decided to raise money within friends to set up the technology. We pitched the idea to potential funders when we were incubated at GrowthAfrica. While the incubation really helped us shape our business model, we were not lucky enough to get funding. We decided to continue bootstrapping until we got our first customers.

Late 2015, getting into self-employment I started doing some data consultancy work while running Since then I have been working on short term consultancy projects while trying to grow our recruitment business. I cannot say we are where we ought to be, but the journey continues.

Along my entrepreneurship journey, I have been lucky to partner with Athman from 1000 Alternatives an impact investment fund to identify businesses that are ripe for investment. Through the first Pwani Innovation Week at SwahiliPot hub, we identified 10 startups. The top two received seed capital and all the entrepreneurs received training (incubation) to help them grow their business and refine their ideas in order to scale. We have just launched another startup competition (#ImpactReimagined) in Kigali, Rwanda this year. It has been interesting working with startups.

What is the number one resource the youth lack in terms of self-employment?

The youth need skills that would enable them to become successful entrepreneurs. Having worked closely with Amani and his team at Youth Enterprise Program Initiative (YEPI) over the last year, I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand how equipping youth with the required knowledge is sharpening their entrepreneurship approach. While lack of capital has always been cited as an impediment into self-employment, it is encouraging to note that a number of youth have creatively overcome this “barrier” and have successfully setup interesting ventures.

What are the skills it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

One needs to learn the key business skills in order to understand the basics of running a business. In addition to business skills one needs to nurture and develop soft-skills like presentation skills and networking that will enable you to thrive as an entrepreneur. You also need perseverance above all else (lots of perseverance). Entrepreneurship is not easy, sometimes things just don’t work.

If you had 10,000 kshs what kind of startup can you start?

I would use 500Ksh to attend the YEPI Entrepreneurship Training cohort sessions that take place at the MEWA Library every month. I would then do a small survey to understand what business opportunities are present near me. The survey will inform me what kind of startup I should focus on. I will then leverage on small amount of capital left to start small as I look for more capital to grow the business further, potentially rope in more partners.

YouTube has become popular in the world, a lot of people have learnt skills through watching tutorials online on YouTube. But a lot of the Youth in Mombasa have not utilized this tool, how can we address this issue?

Some may remember Julius Yego, a Kenyan athlete who learned javelin throwing on YouTube and became a world champion. Will this example make the youth sing to the tune “Yego Baba Lao”? YouTube and a lot of other online tools present an opportunity for the youth to compete with the world. While one can learn skills like Yego, they can also use it a tool to showcase their work to the world like Mombasa’s own Farhana Oberson and Nadia Ahmed. It is encouraging to note that there are a number of youth groups and organizations in Mombasa working with the youth on digital literacy. As their effort continue to yield fruit, we will slowly see more and more youth making maximum use of YouTube and other digital tools to advance their agenda. We need to keep educating the youth about these opportunities.

What have you accomplished as an Entrepreneur?

I have learned a number of (hard) lessons through my entrepreneurship journey (and I am still learning). During our early entrepreneurship days incubated at GrowthAfrica we were lucky to have been mentored by Ali Hussein a seasoned entrepreneur, now it is our turn to give back. It has been fulfilling journey sharing lessons with upcoming entrepreneurs. I mentor some of them, trying to make them better entrepreneurs than we were. That to me, will be my greatest accomplishment.

What do you think we need to do to change the current mindset of the youth in Mombasa?

The County Government of Mombasa ICT Department through universities, asked the youth to pitch their business ideas. The Chief Officer ICT, Anwar and his committee selected the best Ideas which were showcased during the 2019 ASK Show in Mombasa. The youth in Mombasa therefore may not lack opportunities all the time, they sometimes lack awareness and maybe the drive to chase after opportunities. We need to keep sharing such success stories with the youth. The youth need to know that they too can do it, if they put their mind to it.

I spent the last few years interacting with the youth in Mombasa, I can attest that the old mindset is slowly changing. It has been great working closely with MTY youth group, Salma and her team are doing an amazing job changing the narrative and challenging the youth to rise to the occasion. The world is changing, the youth need to know that they are no longer competing with the country, they are competing with the World. I tell that to form 4 boys in my old school Sheikh Khalifah every year, encouraging them to change their mindset to a “YES WE CAN” attitude.

If we want the youth to get inspired by our very own Dr Mohamed Bahaider, we need to tell them his story. Dr Bahaider has raised the bar so high in terms of how much one can accomplish with the right mindset. We have Amani Katana, Zayyad Alawi, Ahmed Juma Bhalo and many other examples of the youth who are doing amazing things in Mombasa and beyond. There are initiatives like the monthly (Sav-Skills) Stories of Significance-Mombasa, which invites people from various walks of life to tell their stories. We need to keep sharing inspiring stories.  Jammy, you are a great example and you are doing a good job in changing the youth mindset through your blog. Let us keep telling our youth positive stories.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

God willing, I see myself in a University campus (I don’t know where), lecturing. I need to work on getting a Doctorate before that. While I am passionate about continuous learning, teaching and empowering others is also something I want to keep doing. In 10 years’ time, Insha’Allah I also hope to have accomplished a lot more in the entrepreneurship space. Wish me luck.

Parting shot?

Mombasa’s own, the late professor Ali Mazrui, went on to become a world renown Scholar. There are many more examples of Mombasa’s own who are achievers and they are out there. Like most societies in the world, Mombasa has its own unique issues. We should not be consumed by these (mostly negative) issues.  It is time we rise and tell our own positive stories to the youth. The youth need role models, mentorship, guidance, support and encouragement. We all need to do our part to work towards a better future for our people. That is the only way we can foster a better future generation. “Success is not owned. It’s leased. And the rent is due every day” – J.J Watt

Mombasa Eateries : Shehnai Restaurant

As day goes by, there are new restaurants that come up in Mombasa. From burger joints to mshikaki places and Swahili food. Each having special menu that attracts different clientele. The different establishment located in different parts of Mombasa, some opening at night only and others 24 hours. But there are restaurants that are celebrating over 30 years in Mombasa, their authenticity and traditional menus makes them unique.

One of the restaurants that is celebrating 36 years in Mombasa is Shehnai restaurant. Located at Fatemi House Mungano Street business district, Shehnai Restaurant opened its door in 1984. Specializing North Indian Cuisine with Mughlai and Tandoor (BBQ) Delicacies, the spicy and savory menu will tantalize your taste buds. With 15 staff always ready to serve you during their opening hours, for lunch 11.45 a.m. to 2.45 p.m. and Dinner from 6.45p.m. to 9.45p.m.. They offer BBQ during both opening hours, you can order juicy Murgh Tikka Shahjahani (Boneless pieces of chicken marinated in authentic masala and cooked in Tandoor) or JHeenga Tandoori (Fresh prawns marinated in Tandoori masala and grilled slowly in clay oven). In case you don’t feel like dining in, they offer delivery 100shs within CBD and 300shs out of CBD but free delivery for order above 2000shs within CBD and free delivery for order above 4000shs out of CBD.  The prices are affordable with Vegetarians menu costing between 800 shs to 1200 shs, and Non Veg. from 1500 shs to 1800 shs, including seafood menu ranging from 1800 shs – 2500 shs.

As they plan to open other branches, Shehnai Restaurant remains one of the many old restaurant still existing in Mombasa creating memories generation after generation. Many people hold sentimental value to Shehnai Restaurant, remembering the beautiful memories they have created with their loved ones. Named after an Indian musical instrument which is the very soul of joy and merriment, symbolizing the ambience of Shehnai Restaurant where eating is an art and an exciting occasion. Next time you are looking for place to eat, choose Shehnai Restaurant. Their food is 100 % Halal.

For Reservation call: Tel: 254 722 871111 / 254 722 411711



Social Media:

Facebook : Shehnai Restaurant Instagram : @Shehnairestaurant

Mombasa Eateries : Mombasa Dishes

Life has become different nowadays, eating out has become a norm in Mombasa. Most restaurants are busy during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even business meetings are conducted over lunch hours. Having a restaurant that offers wide variety for the different demands will get you a good clientele every day.  A good location can also help you with getting traffic to the restaurant, one of the restaurant on Mazrui road also known as Makadara is Mombasa Dishes. Located behind Stan-Chart T-square and central bank of Kenya, Mombasa Dishes specializes in Coastal infusion, Swahili cuisine and barbeque.

From grilled prawns, to spicy masala chips and Samaki wa kupaka and to tasty biriyani or a wrapped shawarma, the menu has variety to cater to everyone’s needs.  Everything is cooked fresh for your order, with touch of homemade taste. The restaurant has 12 staff, who are always ready to serve you and give you a memorable experience.  The price ranges from kshs 50 to kshs 3000 per item and kshs 200 to kshs 3000 per meal. Open between 10 am to 10:30 pm every day to cater to all clients and customers.  They accept cash and mpesa payments for your meals. They work with different delivery agents such as tuma rider and also tuktuks to deliver orders to homes, place of work or any preferred location on standardized delivery rates.  

Because barbeque is popular in Mombasa, they offer barbeque menu every day from lunch till night. The menu includes grilled tikka, girlled prawns and fish, depending on your order. In the evening, tables are set outside the restaurant to offer dinner under the night sky. So next time you are looking for a place to have a nice biriyani, or pilau or grilled prawns visit Mombasa dishes to enjoy a nice, delicious meal.  As they plan to open more branches around Mombasa, you can call for deliveries and catering on 0713-959-999.

Facebook: Mombasa Dishes

Instagram: @Mombasadishes

Mombasa Bakers and Sweet Delights

Cakes are always in demand; everyday people celebrate birthdays. One person can receive up to 5 cakes on their birthday, and then there are all other celebrated days that people receive cakes. Weddings, anniversaries, new baby, all these days deserve a cake to celebrate.  Celebrations all so go with snacks and sweet savory delights to add to the festive mood. In Mombasa, there is an influx of bakers who make amazing cakes. Each person having a unique way of their decorations and taste, which will cater to all types of demands from different occasions to celebrate.  From cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts and to all types of sweet savory delights, there is variety to choose from for those special occasions or just to satisfy those sweet tooth cravings.

Every day on Instagram, Facebook you will discover a new baker who is advertising their work. Sometimes you want to know who can provide a cake for a different occasion, hence Life in Mombasa has curated a list of bakers and sweet delicacy bakers from Mombasa who specialize in the different types of baking.

NB: This list will be updated regularly.

All Bakers and Sweet delicacy makers: To be added to this list send an email with our Name, contact, and Social Media account and specialty to

  • Name: Sameera Parpia
  • Contact: 0717267243
  • Social Media : doughnut_eatme
  • Specialty: Hand crafted English Doughnuts
  • Name: Aahil’s Cakes – Nawal Esmail
  • Contact: 0728256771
  • Social Media: aahilscakes
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name:  Sausan Shallo
  • Contact: 0741150875
  • Social Media: s_saadan_cakes
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name: Qamariyah
  • Contact: 0722785407
  • Social Media: FooDelish.254
  • Specialty: Cakes and Sweet Delicacies
  • Name:  Amina K Ahmed
  • Contact: 0796952881
  • Social Media: Minny Bakery
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name: Mariyah behlul.
  • Contact: 0715474652
  • Social Media: Meltingcakes
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name: Farida Qaizaar
  • Contact: 0723424719
  • Social Media: faridaqaiz
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name: Khadija Said
  • Contact: 0799708705
  • Social Media: astwinbakers
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name: Cynthia Ogeya
  • Contact: 0714397509 / 0734088804
  • Social Media: ceo_tastytreats
  • Specialty: Cakes
  • Name: Fatma hassan
  • Contact: 0703561633
  • Social Media: Whispering_cakes
  • Specialty: Cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies (for all occasions)
  • Name: Amne Abdulgawi Ahmed
  • Contact: 0705554455
  • Social Media: sweettreats_by_amne
  • Specialty: Bake & Dessert Making
  • Name:  Huseini Bakery
  • Contact:
  • Social Media:  huseinibakery
  • Specialty: All cakes and baked snacks
  • Name: Rahma Ahmed Mohammed Othman
  • Contact: 0741929945
  • Social Media:
  • Specialty: Baking cakes and desserts
  • Name: Tasneem Bashir
  • Contact: 0705275984
  • Social Media: @tashuu_delicacies
  • Specialty: Indian sweets and fusion cakes.
  • Name – Minaz Feroz
  • Contact – 0727531111
  • Social Media Pages: Instagram – Minschocoloco Facebook – Mins Feroz Abdulla
  • Specialty – Professional Chocolatier/Baker/Dessert Maker.
  • Email: Minschocoloco@Gmail.Com
  • Name: Mohamed Eyaz
  • Contact: 0716607744
  • Social Media: @eyazmithwani
  • Specialty: Delicious snacks and sweet delights including samosas, cutlets, bajias and gulab jamun
  • Name: Nafisa Khuzeima Hassanali
  • Contact: 0777861112
  • Social Media Page:
  • Specialty: All types of Cakes (including eggless) and Brownies.
  • Name: Qamili Dave 
  • Contact: 0735 496 820 
  • Social Media: @chaqula_
  • Specialty: Brownies 
  • Name: Maria
  • Contact: 0791370590/0734421276
  • Social Media: @bakerriaaa
  • Specialty: All type of customized themed cakes, Cupcakes, Donuts, Exotic cookies, Brownies and Cinnamon rolls
  • Name: Swabah Ahmed
  • Contact: 0716478708
  • Social Media: swabby bakes
  • Specialty: cakes, cupcakes, cookies and pastries(for all occasions)

Mombasa Make-Up Artists

The cosmetic industry is growing at a rapid rate, brands compete each day with newer and better products for consumers. Today, every woman has one or two cosmetic product in their handbag and multiple products in their homes. Some women are loyal to certain brands, and they only purchase products released by the certain brand. Make-up has become trend with influencers, you will find various tutorials and videos on YouTube.

Today, with high demand for make-up from consumers a lot of Make-up artists (MUA) are becoming popular and on demand. With weddings, event and other official functions more and more women opt using a make-up artist to glam themselves. Since the demands is so high, more women are getting into the industry to fill in the gap. Because there is a demand for different MUAs, Life in Mombasa has curated a list of Make-up Artists from Mombasa who specialize in the different Make-up for different occasions.

NB: This list will be updated regularly.

Make-up Artist: To be added to this list send an email with our Name, contact, Social Media account to

  • Name: Mahaasin Abdulrahim
  • Contact: 0780334316
  • Social Media: mahaglamour
  • Name: Leylah Yusuf
  • Contact: 0711109770
  • Social Media: Makeover_letu
  • Open to travel within the country. I do house calls too.
  • Name: Charity Sonje- Kakey Makeup
  • Contact: 0725633285
  • Social Media: kakey_makeup
  • Name: Aisha Said
  • Contact: 0725484028.
  • Social Media: aashuni
  • Name: Sumaiya Abdulkarim
  • Contact: 0782222001
  • Social Media: ajmal_glam
  • Name:  glamour.holics
  • Contact: 0707717123 Aisha and 0700338610 Mirfat
  • Social Media: glamour.holics
  • Name: Shahina ibrahim
  • Contact: 0706802786
  • Social Media: shahiiiiina
  • Name:  Manaal Jamal
  • Contact: 0701052050
  • Email:
  • Social Media: manaals.mikyaj
  • Name:  Naseem Amin
  • Contact: 0712211180 / 0754115246
  • Social Media: Nasmohaamhas
  • Name:  Nawaal Harith
  • Contact: 0786279644 / 0729256702 (whatsapp only)
  • Social Media: makeup_by_nawaal
  • Name:  Muna Kassam Ahmed
  • Contact: 0700881915
  • Social Media: mombasamua
  • Name:  Sameera Styles Makeup Studio, Ganjoni
  • Contact: 0715156664
  • Social Media: sameerastyles001
  • Name:  Faith Gwada – Fleekworth by Fay
  • Contact: 0723983050
  • Social Media: fleekworthbyfay
  • Name: Hawa Hassan
  • Contact: 0746075534
  • Social Media: hawa’s makeup
  • Name:  Shadya Ibrahim
  • Contact: 0702137194 / 0784137194
  • Social Media: Shadya_dada
  • Name: Mwanaidi Mohamme
  • Contact:  0723689943
  • Social Media: kimwana87

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.