Wednesday, June 12, 2024

TAYO Fatunla’s Diary – Rendezvous with Kenyan Cartoonists in Nairobi | PICs

Nairobi Kenya - Ozone, Maddo, GADO, TAYO Fatunla, Ray, Celeste Wamiru and Victor Ndula
Nairobi Kenya – Ozone, Maddo, GADO, TAYO Fatunla, Ray, Celeste Wamiru and Victor Ndula

*It has been an exhilarating experience visiting Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa. Yes, President Barack Obama has his roots from there. I had flown in from Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim was to meet up with the prolific Kenya cartoonists. I have met GADO and Victo Ndula during my travels but not in Kenya.

Arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport my driver assigned to pick me up, Charles by name, drove me into town on the Nairobi Expressway toll road connecting the airport to Nairobi’s Westlands area where I was lodged. To those who prefer to beat the Nairobi traffic, it is worth using the fee-paying expressway. Jomo Kenyatta was the first president of independent Kenya and was one of the very first to feature in OUR ROOTS during the developing stages of the feature strip at Kubert Art School in New Jersey, U.S.

Superstar Kenya Cartoonist who goes by the name GADO ensured that my visit would be memorable. Charles my driver was like a Tourist guide who took me around Nairobi. I visited The Nairobi National Park, and the Nairobi National Museum to mention a couple. I also ate nice Kenya staple foods whilst there. Then came to meet other cartoonists. Kenyan cartoonists pulled out all the stops to host me at the Sagret Hotel Equatorial, Nairobi.

They included well-known female cartoonist, Celeste Wamiru, GADO, Victor Ndula, Ozone Mwenyewe, Paul Maddo, Igah, Ray Phillips” and *Julian Macharia of BuniMedia. A couple of cartoonists sent their best wishes namely Gammz and Patrick Ghatara. It was a meeting that also brought the Kenyan cartoonists together, thanks to my visit. We were able to discuss work with each other and there was an appreciation of how we had helped each other in the past. It was a night to remember and that my visit had accomplished what I set out to do with Centrust Care based in London who supported my mission with donations.

I also had a very good discussion with the CEO of Buni Media Studios Ross Franks, one of those behind the Buni TV XYZ puppet Show. Being welcomed to the studio’s warehouse in the Westlands was such an exciting moment for me having been a fan of the show that parodies African leaders and personalities.

BuniMedia Studio - Warehouse with latext puppets and props used for XYZ TV Show
BuniMedia Studio – Warehouse with latext puppets and props used for XYZ TV Show
Puppeteering at BUNI MEDIA in Nairobi Kenya - BuniMedia Studio
TAYO Fatunla doing some puppeteering at BUNI MEDIA in Nairobi Kenya – BuniMedia Studio

As a fan of puppets myself since the Muppet Show, I thought that I would give puppeteering a go by parodying the former President of Kenya, Uhuru whose puppet was readily available.

The XYZ Show is Africa’s hilarious and controversial political satire show produced by BuniMedia in Nairobi, Kenya. Africa’s hilariously original satire series, starring all the favorite characters – in puppet form. This concept started in 2003.

On a trip to Paris, for an exhibition, GADO took time to visit the set of “Les Guignols de l’info” or the “News Puppets” a spoof newscast featuring latex puppets. It has been one of France’s most popular shows ever. Same with XYZ to Kenyans with an African audience.

Buni Media remains a multimedia organization involved in the development, production, and distribution of video, audio, animation, digital and print publication content; in the organization and curation of events; and in training and capacity building.

To GADO, it was immediately obvious that the same concept would not only be a huge success in Kenya but could also have an important social impact by exposing, with humor, the rampant corruption and mismanagement of the country. Initiatives like this require funding for artistic independence and continuous input without backdoor censorship.

Inside Nairobi National Museum
Inside Nairobi National Museum
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park

I had time to visit the Nairobi National Park. It was a thrill of an African experience of an African safari without leaving the city, of Nairobi. You couldn’t visit Kenya without a tour of its National parks where animals roam freely without a Zoo type of enclosure. Flying back to South Africa. Whilst, Heavy rains caused flooding in the city of Nairobi and other parts of Kenya. I saw for myself, fallen trees and floods.

TAYO Fatunla - For EURWEB
TAYO Fatunla – For EURweb.com

TAYO Fatunla whose work has been featured on MSN.com via EURweb.com is an award-winning British-Nigerian Comic Artist, Editorial Cartoonist, Writer, and Illustrator and is an artist of the African diaspora. He is a graduate of the prestigious Kubert School, in New Jersey, US., and recipient of the 2018 ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award for his illustrated OUR ROOTS creation and series – Famous people in Black History – He participated at UNESCO’s Cartooning In Africa forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Cartooning Global Forum in Paris, France and has held a virtual OUR ROOTS cartoon workshop for SMITHSONIAN- National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. His Fela Kuti image is prominently featured in Burna Boy’s mega-Afrobeat hit song “Ye”. TAYO is the illustrator behind the pictorial Black history walk map on a lectern that guides the walk-in Camberwell, South East London, U.K. https://www.instagram.com/tfatunla123

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