These images were shot in Kenya and Uganda in 2006. I wanted to photograph musicians, artists and dancers at work, at home and at play for two reasons. The first was simply to highlight the creativity and determination that seemed to be so often ignored in depictions of African lives. The second was a desire to explore the conflicts that these young creatives faced in pursuing their often global ambitions while remaining dedicated to their inherited family values.

In Kenya I got involved with Hip Hop collective ‘Ukoo Flani’, based in Mombassa and Nairobi. Their style of mixing English, Swahili and *Sheng into their lyrics, whilst simultaneous aspiring to emulate American Hip Hop culture seemed to perfectly illustrate this contemporary conflict.

In Uganda I collaborated with Photographer/ Artist Joseph Bukenya, and we spent a month photographing Ras Clan, a group of Reggae DJs in Kampala. We recorded their home lives as well as the club nights, and went with them on a journey to play in Gulu, Northern Uganda (the part of the country worst affected by the Lords Resistance Army). Although Ras Clan are part of Kampala’s rapidly modernising social scene, they talk reverently of traditional cultural values and believe ‘love can bring an end to the suffering of Africans’.

Sasa means what’s up in Sheng. *Sheng is a street-slang dialect of Swahili.
Sasa means now in formal Swahili.

Africa Sasa

Ukoo Flani's warm-up dancers just off stage in Mombassa, Kenya.
Ukoo Flani's favourite designer jeans designer in his studio in Mombassa, Kenya.
At home Abdul's Mum in Kampala, Uganda.
Kids playing outside Canibal's family home in Mombassa Kenya.
Ralph's (aka Canibal) family portrait in Mombassa Kenya
Trying to catch a glimpse of Ukoo Flani's video shoot in Nairobi, Kenya
Preparing for the video shoot in Nairobi, Kenya.
Lunch time with Ukoo Flani in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ralph and his Grandad at Grandad's house near Mombassa, Kenya.
Dancing at a Ras Clan gig in Kampala, Uganda.
Ralph at home with Mo and Hassan in Mombassa, Kenya.
Ralph's little brother Georgie in Mombassa, Kenya.
Setting out on the Ras Clan road trip to Gulu. Kampala, Uganda.
Dancers waiting to go on stage in Nairobi, Kenya.
Bruce settling down for dinner in Gulu, Uganda.
Mo practicing his ball skills in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ben, fashion designer in Mombassa, Kenya.
Hassan, internet entrepreneur in Mombassa, Kenya.
Sharama and his son at home in Mombassa, Kenya.
Sharama's kids looking at family albums in Mombassa, Kenya.