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Monday, November 15, 1999 Published at 18:32 GMT


World: Africa

Picture gallery: Life in a Nairobi slum



Nobody could have predicted quite how extraordinary the results would be when 32 teenagers from families living in Nairobi's largest slum of Mathare were given point-and-shoot cameras for a project called Shootback. The poignant and sometimes funny collection of photos are being exhibited around the world and have just been published as a book.


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Girls in Mathare play with homemade footballs made from plastic bags and string. Many youngsters dream of playing football professionally as an escape from the poverty.


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The children were very excited by having their photos taken. One of them said they had never seen young Kenyans taking photos before - only tourists.


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During the rainy season many people lose their homes, but with nowhere else to go they rebuild. Cholera outbreaks are common.


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When this boy grows up he wants to be president. He is imitating President Moi by carrying his trademark rungu.


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The Mathare Youth Sports Association started as a development project in 1987 to organise sports and community activities. It now runs Africa's largest youth football league with more than 1,000 teams and 14,000 boys and girls.


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Children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school often end up working and looking after younger siblings.
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This boy says he wants to kill an antelope so that his family can celebrate.

Shootback is published by Booth-Clibborn Editions and costs 25 ($39.95). All royalties from the book's sale goes towards school fees for the Shootback team of photographers and a fund for a Mathare community media centre. Exhibitions are planned in the next few months in Germany, Norway and Holland.





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