A Creative's Haven

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About PAWA254

PAWA254 is an Arts and ARTivism hub based in Nairobi. It is home to some of Nairobi’s most creative photographers, graphic artists, journalists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, designers and poets.

A Workspace

PAWA254 is a workspace that offers workshops, trainings, forums and events for all artists who are creating for social impact.

Regular programs and training sessions foster skill-sharing and empower a new generation of young professionals and disadvantaged youth to effect social change through tangible, innovative projects. It is the first of its kind in Africa.

Pawa254 Programs and Events

A principal part of Pawa254’s mission has been to make the space and its resources accessible to persons at the grassroots level. Besides building a strong community in-house, PAWA254 has engaged more than 100,000 youths since its inception. This has been achieved through training sessions and diverse outreach programs. We continue to recruit, train, and equip a new generation of bold creative’s whose outlook will help reshape the media landscape in Kenya, the aim of impacting society positively through the arts. At the heart of the PAWA254 undertaking is improvement of the socioeconomic situation of youth from underprivileged backgrounds. Also, for self-motivated youths, participation in our training sessions and workshops leads to professional employment, and can be a spur to fruitful self-employment. Here is an inventory of the programs hosted at the PAWA254 hub:

Arts and Culture Program

PAWASalon and PAWAMasterclass

'Pawa Salon' poster example

‘Pawa Salon’

#PAWASalon and #PAWAMasterclass are forums that gives a professional / pioneer in a creative industry a platform to share with other professionals, students and general enthusiasts hands-on skills, knowledge and insight into their creative industry work.

At the onset, Pawa254 has primarily focused on photography, however we are now branching out into other avenues such as performance art, writing, poetry, fashion, music, illustration, design, film-making, videography and graffiti. The editions are well documented on both our blog, social media (via the hashtag #PAWASalon #PAWAMAsterclass) and on YouTube occasionally.

Off The Record Debate and Discussion

What is #OffTheRecord?


On July 2nd 2013, Pawa254 kicked off a series of talks and debates, which were christened #OffTheRecord.

This weekly event offers a unique space which unites people from different backgrounds together, were they can express their thoughts and speak their minds, strictly off the record, about various issues that affect our modern day society.

It has become a platform where participants can better understand issues around social justice, helping transform them into more tolerant, enlightened, critical and active agents of social change who can influence social positively.

Additionally, it seeks to help others build on and develop their presentation skills, as well as bring up brilliant, quick-thinking and concise individuals who have the courage to mould their ideas, share their ideas and fight for their ideas for a better Kenya.

Entrance is absolutely FREE. You’re invited to come and engage others in the Pawa Community, and discuss issues which are both important to you, and other like minded people.

#OffTheRecord takes place each Tuesday evening at the Pawa 254 Hub from 5:30-8.00pm.

Why do I attend off the record and why do I think is it important? Well, because I get to learn ideas from people and see their worldviews “ this has the effect of opening mine up. If you only see the world from your own eyes you’ll become narrow-minded. I think off the record is important because I get to know how Kenya is being governed and I attend it to get to know realities of this country I otherwise wouldn’t have known. (Anonymous, weekly attendee)

PAWA254 Film Forum

Pawa 254 Film Forum

The Pawa 254 Film Forum is committed to showcasing independently produced, often non- commercial work that has little opportunity of reaching the general public; highlighting social, political, cultural and historical realities.

We seek to provide a unique, engaging, creative and entertaining experience for both a public and online audience in examining films, documentaries and big ideas of our day, bringing together artists, film enthusiasts, students, professionals, government leaders and public intellectuals in a dynamic setting that is spirited, enriching and alive.

We hope to become the premiere choice for exhibitions of independent, experimental, and progressive cinema in the region.

The Pawa 254 Film forum seeks to also showcase alternative media. By featuring the voices and visions of truly independent media artists from Kenya and beyond, we will aim to expose diverse audiences to a range of artistic expressions, cultural perspectives and critical inquiries.

To support and encourage quality productions of diverse independent media art, we also seek to provide the inspiration, models, and information necessary for the production and distribution of new work through forums such as post-screening Q&As, screenings and special events.

These activities could possibly stimulate dialogue between social and professional networks of media and new media artists.


The Pawa 254 Film Forum allows you to connect with other professionals, film makers, enthusiasts and students, as well as discuss productions, quality, and all aspects of the films and how they affect society and influence the artistic imagination.

The Film Forum is open to everyone and is intended to be enjoyed by all those who appreciate art, culture, and ideas. We hope to provide public programming that is dedicated to intelligent, stimulating, thought-provoking, and entertaining talk. This happens every Wednesday from 6.00pm to 8.30pm at the Pawa 254 Hub.


Kenya Poets Lounge – Fatuma’s Voice

Fatuma’s Voice is a collaborative effort between Pawa254 and the Kenyan Poets Lounge to promote performance art and poetry in the country. A platform whereby young people meet to talk about the evils happening in the society and how they could solve them, their hopes for the future, their life experiences as well as networking hence expanding their social circles. We do this through poetry, live music, motivational talks, and open forum discussions where people air their views on a certain chosen topic of the day.

Fatuma is an underprivileged 50-year-old woman. She was born dumb which means she has over 22,000,000 Million words still trapped within her and yet she has not eaten for days However, Fatuma has hope! She has found new friends who are willing to speak on her behalf. Friends who are willing to speak on her behalf without expecting anything in return. Will her dream of speaking out finally come true or is this just a dream? Well, you decide because you are one of the friends who Fatuma’s future relies on!

The primary purpose for holding this event is to encourage young people to know how to express themselves, earn their self-esteem, improve their talents, be responsible citizens and to make them understand the value of networking. The organizers say:”We realized that young people do not really get the truth about life in their homes, nor in the churches or mosques, nor in politics or their social quotas nor in themselves. We had to think of something that will bring them together to talk about important things that will help them mature.

So far, the bigger bunch of our audience are budding artists. As we grow, we are already having people from the working class trickling in, concludes Rix Poet.

Join Fatuma’s Voice on a Saturday from 5pm-8pm for an evening of togetherness, heated debates, laughter, deep poetry and soothing music. Entry to Fatuma’s Voice is only Kshs. 100, and the event takes place each Friday evening from 4.00pm to 7.00pm at the Pawa Hub.

Growing up as an introvert, I was not vocal enough to always pass across my feelings and thoughts in the places I’ve grown up in. Then I met writing at the age of 16 and the rest is history.

Open Show Nairobi

Pawa254 has recently partnered with Open Show Nairobi to host incredible evenings of visual storytelling!  Open Show organizes live social events worldwide where the public can experience compelling work and interact directly with photographers, filmmakers and multimedia producers in high‐profile spaces.


Great projects shouldn’t be hidden in shoe-boxes or buried online. Open Show is a live forum to bring context to compelling work, connect audiences and spark professional opportunities.

This is a safe place to connect diverse organizations and individuals. Open Show shapes unique experiences that foster visual literacy and action on social issues.

This is an opportunity for everyone from visual storytellers to students to seasoned professionals. Come gain valuable presentation experience and practical feedback to sharpen your craft and project vision.

Each event will host a different theme. Photojournalists and videographers alike can submit work through the Open Show submission page (see link and requirements here:

Every month new artists – from beginner to expert – will have the opportunity to share and learn from one another – come one come all!

Open Show currently exists in cities all around the world ( You will be a part of the FIRST chapter in Nairobi!

Aarban Cypher



SLAM AFRICA brings you the best spoken word poetry showdown and performances in Nairobi.

It is a poetry slam, happening on a Sunday every month, which aims to nurture young poets and writers, create great performances, empower and educate others, and propel the poetry and spoken industry to grow bigger and better.

Traffic Jam Sessions


Creating awareness, discussion and education on the daily commute…

Sarabi and Pawa254 are working together with a clear aim in mind – to ignite social change in Kenya through the arts. Traffic Jam Sessions is the latest project which we are working on. This grassroots creative project aims at creating awareness and facilitating discussions among Kenyans about the current political climate and relevant social issues, through music. It aims to use ‘soft’ protest to spark social change in Nairobi. How will we do this? By creating, and mass distributing a mix tape to be played a number of matatu routes. This mix tape offers listeners an alternative to mainstream radio programming and provides intelligent, engaging and relevant content. The mix tape will feature conscious tracks by Kenya’s biggest musical artists and will have elements of spoken word and poetry incorporated into the playlist. The aim of this project is to offer Kenyan’s an alternative to mainstream radio programming and engage them in thought and discussion about issues facing Kenya.



Rental Space at PAWA254

The PAWA254 hub has become one of Nairobi’s most unique venues for creative workspaces and event venues. PAWA254 offers these state of the art workspaces at an affordable rate and the hub has been designed to ensure that the rooms are easily transformed into spaces ideal for workshops, seminars, film screenings, concerts, special events and other conference types.

What We Offer:

Dynamic Space: All spaces have a modern, urban, professional feel. Spaces can accommodate up to 110 people and can be used for all creative endeavors and professional events.

A Creative Atmosphere: The PAWA254 hub is always buzzing with vibrant individuals from all artistic mediums. By choosing to work with PAWA254 you are exposing yourself to a network of artists from around Nairobi and around the world. Thousands of collaborative projects have been ignited because of connections made at PAWA254

A Fabulous Location:The hub is located just a short walking distance from town. It offers one of the best views of Nairobi Central Business District’s skyline, but is nestled safely away in a lush green neighborhood just off State House Avenue.

Fully Equipped Work Spaces: Our spaces include the following provisions:

  • High-speed Wi-Fi internet
  • Large HDTV screen (Direct Internet, USB, HDMI and VGA cables for PCs) | Shujaa
  • Screen and projector | Mageuzi and Ubuntu
  • Sound system (auxiliary cable) | Mageuzi, Ubuntu and Shujaa
  • White board / Flip Chart and makers
  • Office beds available for teams working at night (and a bathroom to freshen up)
  • Extra tables or seating furniture for your event
  • Breakfast and lunch *at an added catering cost
  • Bartending and DJ services *upon special request, at additional costs
  • Security
  • Parking

Social Enterprise: Revenues generated from venue rentals support the facility’s arts programming and services.

Spaces are Ideal For:

  • Film Screenings
  • Professional meetings
  • Corporate Events
  • Rehearsals and Performances
  • Film Interviews and Television broadcasts
  • Trainings, workshops and seminars
  • Fundraisers and Galas
  • Exhibitions
  • Community Events
  • Product Launches
  • Conferences


At 10×4.8 metres, Ubuntu can seat up to 45 people comfortably. Equipped with a slightly raised platform, and supplied with multiple power points and a couch, this room is ideal for workshops, small performances and meetups for creatives.


At 7.5×4.8 metres, Shujaa is a boardroom equipped with a state-of-the-art, 46-inch screen and a 5.1 surround sound theatre ideal for video conferencing, presentations and tutorials. The conference table can seat up to 20 people; also around the room is space for two additional tables.

Mageuzi (Unavailable)

At 1125.50 square feet, Mageuzi used to feature state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities, and can seat up to 110 people. The wing included a projector, a photography studio and video equipment, and includes the surround audio system. Most of the facilities available in this Space will be included in the new Theatre which is currently under construction. [Expected completion is end March 2015].


At 3297.60 square feet, the Pawa 254 Rooftop wing is ideal for a variety events and offers a breath-taking panoramic view of the Nairobi Central Business District skyline against a backdrop of lush city suburbs. The rooftop also comes with the option of gaming equipment, including footsie ball, a punching bag and a pool table and there is also the option of spray cans and a graffiti wall / floor. A perfect space to host events and concerts, bar tending and catering can also be made available.

PAWA254 Media House – Photography and Video Services

PAWA254 has an exceptionally skilled in-house team of professional photographers and videographers. They have a vast amount of experiences in documenting corporate events, award shows and creating tailor made projects for companies and individuals.


PAWA 254’s collaborative and creative space has great videography capabilities. The hub has exceptional videographers whose eye for detail in capturing issues, events and personalities is unmatched. The editors also have unique talents in weaving to precision, the requisite details for clients. The institution has over two years experience in videography assignments both for internal and external purposes.


Photography lies at the heart of the establishment of PAWA 254. Through visual images themed on social change, we have been able to show the world different our great talents and outstanding qualities. The photography done by PAWA 254 is horned on the need to create visual images that have impact, meaning and long lasting to the audience. It is our belief that photos can make a difference. The photo gallery on the website is a testament of this belief in ability through experience and knowledge.


Photo Studio:

PAWA254 offers a fully equipped photo studio for rental. The space includes: 12 seamless colored back drops, 3 studio lighting kit, 2 reflectors and professionally photography consulting and assistance. It is a comfortable spacious studio with room for photographer, talent, hair stylist, make up artists etc.

Equipment Hire Rates Pawa 254 Space Hire Form


The Community

Membership to the hub is open, by application, to creative industry professionals, start ups, SMEs or related individuals or organizations interested in joining the community and working from the space on a regular basis. PAWA254’s community of like-minded and active professionals, who meet and work daily in the flexible co-working space.

Members pay a subsidized rate to use the Hub facilities. PAWA254’s individual and corporate members benefit not only from all the usual office amenities, but also from state-of-the-art multimedia and online communication facilities. Importantly, there is the added benefit of networking opportunities being part of a cohesive community of creatives.

Membership levels are as follows:

Premium Membership: Kshs. 15,000 Per Month + 16% VAT

This membership level is available to up to 15 creatives who will have a guaranteed workstation in either the Ubuntu common room, or the Mtaa Room. This membership includes:

  •  High-speed Wi-Fi internet
  • Access to the Pawa254 boardroom (based on advance booking) which features a large HDTV screen  (Direct Internet, USB, HDMI and VGA cables for PCs), white board / Flip Chart and markers
  • Access to a library with a wide range of books, magazines and writings
  • Lots of Coffee or tea!
  • Security
  • Parking
  • Breakfast and lunch available (at your own cost)
  • Access to for use of all other facilities at the Hub at automatically subsidized rates (30% OFF!!)
  • A direct link to the entire creative community in Nairobi.

Membership is ideal for journalists, photographers, designers, small NGOs, filmmakers, writers and all freelance creatives.

Premium members are required to be involved in at least one Pawa254 social impact initiative by either training or engaging their skill set with the purpose of highlighting a social issue or imparting knowledge at select times during the duration of their membership.

*We’re currently accepting applications for premium members for the year 2015. CONTACT US

Daily registration: Kshs. 700

This Membership level is accessible to walk-ins on a daily basis without making a greater commitment.  Daily members will work in the open communal area within the hub. They will have access to internet and are free to interact with other premium members, though are highly encouraged to be involved in Pawa254 social initiatives. There is space for approximately 10 daily members. Walk-ins have no guarantee of space but can call ahead of time to check on availability.

Community Membership: FREE

This membership level is open to anyone interested in the activities that take place at the Pawa 254 Hub. With this membership, one is added to the mailing and contact lists to receive regular updates of events, forums, workshops or any other related / relevant activities taking place at Pawa 254. Entry to the Hub and use of its facilities with this level of membership is restricted to OPEN DAYS and other timings when open events or forums take place.

Send us an email to community(at)pawa254(dot)org  with your contact information to be added to the mailing list.

Open Membership Application (Currently Closed)

Are you involved in the creative industry, or know anyone who is, and are looking to get the right push to boost your ideas, creativity and network within a dynamic community?

Pawa254 is giving you the opportunity to set up base at its Social Change hub by introducing the Open Membership plan. We’re giving a total of FIVE industry enthusiasts, professionals and/or experts, workstations at our Hub, located at the AAYMCA Building off State House Crescent Road in Nairobi, Kenya.

Pawa 254 is a growing collaborative space that brings together students, professionals and enthusiasts from dynamic creative industry fields, with the primary aim of achieving social change. It is in line with the goal of empowering talented artistes to pursue and achieve their dreams, as well as develop their talent and skills, that we are opening up the Pawa 254 community space to a maximum of 5 free members beginning June 2014.

We’re looking for artists, creatives, graffiti artistes, script writers, film makers, Musicians, Designers, social media experts, Community Organizers, Journalists, Photographers and anyone else who considers themselves as part of the creative industry.

Pawa 254 will provide  open members  with access to office space, Internet, office equipment, conference space, knowledge resources, photo studio, Video Editing Suite and other services as Pawa254 may provide from time to time.

Rules and Regulations:
1. The duration of the  open membership  is 3 months
2. Bi-weekly progress reports on all open members will be required
3. Monthly presentations to the Management team on projects the open members are involved in
4. Open members  have the opportunity to run their programmes as they see fit, so long as there is tangible progress
5. Open members  give some of their time towards wider Pawa 254 community projects geared towards social change
6. Priority of equipment and space usage is given to Pawa 254 premium members
7. Open members have designated areas of workstations within the Pawa 254 Hub

N.B: The open membership application is currently closed.

Community Members

Nicholas Benequista is a dyed-in-the-wool newsman

Nicholas Benequista is a dyed-in-the-wool newsman

Premium Member View Details
Brian Murimi

Brian Murimi

Open Member View Details
Brian Obara

Brian Obara

Premium Member View Details
Njeri Gakuo

Njeri Gakuo

Premium Member View Details
Job Mwanga

Job Mwanga

Premium Member View Details
LightBox Africa

LightBox Africa

PREMIUM Member View Details
Sheila Bett

Sheila Bett

PREMIUM Member View Details
Peter Murimi

Peter Murimi

Premium Member View Details


Member View Details
Armstrong Too

Armstrong Too

In House Photographer View Details
David Meffe

David Meffe

Premium Member View Details
Nicholas Benequista is a dyed-in-the-wool newsman

Nicholas Benequista is a dyed-in-the-wool newsman

Premium Member

By Brian Obara

We have a seasoned newsman in our midst! Nicholas Benequista, a new Premium Member at PAWA254 has worked as a freelancer, as a foreign correspondent and as a Bureau Chief in Latin America for Bloomberg News. Most journalists have self-dramatizing way of describing their calling but Nicolas, who studied anthropology in college, says matter-of-factly that he switched careers because he simply had to eat.

Nicholas, who grew up in the US state of Arizona, is no slouch in the academic department either. He is currently doing his PhD in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science so if you see him typing away on his laptop you know what he is working on.

Always a bit of a purist when it comes to reporting, Nicholas founded Networked News Lab in 2013 to bring journalists, academics and other thorough-leaders in Kenya together with the aim of encouraging dialogue and innovation in news media.

“Network News Lab is the public face of my PHD studies. I’ve learnt a lot in the last few years on this project by simply rolling up my sleeves and doing the work,” he says.
The happily married father of two says the Network News Lab project has opened his eyes to what he calls a “settlement” in the Kenyan news media:

“When I started my focus was on how technology can shape news coverage in Kenya but I’ve come to learn that the reality of most local news rooms is different from what I had imagined. The best way to understand Kenya news coverage is as a function of how journalists handle political conflict in the news room. It reflects a settlement in the news room between different political and tribal factions,” he explains.

This reality hit home for him most starkly with the coverage of last year’s elections;
“No one put in the work that we did about the coverage of the 2013 elections. I have a problem with the peace vs. truth narrative because it implies more choice than many Kenyan journalists actually have in their news rooms. Journalist could have wanted to investigate more but there was no one really giving information not the IEBC, not the politicians, not even civil rights organizations. A lot of people decided not to speak that week,” he asserts.

Nicholas has put a lot of time into his research on the Kenyan news media in general and says he has a problem with the prevailing narrative that the shortage of investigative pieces can be solved with training alone:
“There is a lack of investigative journalism. What my research shows is sure there are some lazy and corrupt journalists out there but one of the reasons is because of the political tensions in the news rooms. You’re casting seeds into the ocean with the endless trainings. The future of news belongs to the news room that resolves that political problem,” he says.

Nicholas worked for some time in Ethiopia before settling with his family in Kenya. He credits Kenya’s status as the “Silicon Savannah” for helping him make up his mind adding, “there are all kinds of interesting things happening here.” The only concern for him right now is the security situation in the country:
“I am almost nostalgic for the days when all we had to worry about were the car jackings and house invasions. And the officials haven’t, at least, publicly, demonstrated any progress in the investigations. They don’t inspire much confidence so yeah I am concerned,” says Nicholas.

On PAWA254 Nicholas says he’s been a “believer” since he first heard of projects like Picha Mtaani:
“I’ve only been at PAWA254 for a week but I’ve been keeping tabs on you guyz for much longer. After following how you’ve implemented projects like Picha Mtaani and others, it’s safe to say that I’ve been won over. I am a believer!” “I think PAWA254 does really important work and you have a really vital community here,” he adds.

So what does he bring to PAWA254? Well working as a globetrotting journalist means that Nicholas has had the chance to rub elbows with activists and opinion-shapers from around the world. He says he’s looking forward to putting this wealth of experience to use at PAWA254;
“Through my work I’ve had the privilege of meeting activists from countries all over the world like Nigeria, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Brazil and Mexico .And I’ve also had the honor of working on a global research project into activisms and social movements and really learnt a lot during that time and I hope I can contribute some of that knowledge to the PAWA254 community,” he says.

Brian Murimi

Brian Murimi

Open Member

Brian Murimi is a 22 years old engineer and film maker by training. He is also the founder and Chairperson of Love Light Fifty Eight – 58Movement.

Love Light Fifty Eight, also known as 58Movement, is a Community Based Organization in Nairobi, Kenya. The organisation is inspired by Isaiah chapter 58 in the Bible to reach out to the underprivileged in society by providing them with platforms to thrive holistically through their projects, which edify and provide economic and educational opportunities constantly to underprivileged children and adults worldwide.

Their current project is one dubbed Project City Lights. Project City Lights is a platform for sustainable long term solutions for families living off the streets, by helping street families become whole, skilled and able to exploit their full potential.

Random facts about Brian:
1. He’s an avid biker
2. He’s always wanted to be a pro-swimmer (lol. still working on it) and
3. He’s a comedian at heart.

Brian Obara

Brian Obara

Premium Member

Brian is a writer based in Nairobi. He grew up in Mombasa watching WWE Wrestling and action movies but is very well adjusted, considering. He hopes to use his site ( to give readers a sense of the larger world around them and their place in it.”

LongFormAfrica’s main goal is to educate the public about their own country and the ones around it. If Kenyan reads about the steps that Egypt is taking to pull from the brink then perhaps then it would encourage him or her to be a better citizen. We aim for an informed, inquisitive and conscious public, a agenda that marry’s perfectly with Pawa 254.

At we are trying to tell the African story through longform pieces from around the internet. The site catalogs longform pieces on different African countries and by the best writers.

Njeri Gakuo

Njeri Gakuo

Premium Member

Njeri is a freelance Photographer and budding writer. She runs her own photography company called Picha Perfect Images and has an interest in portraits, humanitarian and nature photography. She’s a curious soul that likes exploring the unknown, pushing boundaries and generally talking through her lens. She is currently working on a photo project exploring women in male dominated roles at the bottom of the pyramid and what motivates them to discard popular gender stereotypes when it comes to the work they do.

As a creative, she would like her love for photography and media to make a difference in the way young people and women experience the arts, education, books, technology, and themselves so that no matter what their background is they can have the chance to become their best selves and develop their inherent gifts at an early age. More specifically, she’s like to let disadvantaged children learn, somehow, that if they choose to think differently/out of the box, they can eventually emancipate themselves from depressing life circumstances without having to wear a suit, earn a degree or do something illegal.

Random Facts about Njeri

– She began taking photo’s whilst she was at Baraton University for the school ‘Yearbook’ in 2002 and I never really stopped.
-She is passionate about what she does for a living but every once in a while (ok more than once in a while) she likes to let my hair down, chill and just be silly
-She loves turtles/tortoises
-She has a phobia for cockroaches
-She loves desserts…
– Wii Boxing with her brother Zack is one of my favourite pastimes
-Hey cryptonite is great smelling cologne!
-She would love to meet Annie Leivbovitz, Malcolm Gladwell, Adichie Ngozi Chimamanda and Obama.

Check out her website here:

Job Mwanga

Job Mwanga

Premium Member

Job has worked hard in developing a brand, Kingdom Clothing. He is a creative, with excellent design skills in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. He also has skills in video software such as Adobe Premier and Sony Vegas.

He would like to create a themed apparel collection that he believes is a powerful yet unexploited tool in this country. He would also like to get involved in a Pawa254 initiative that would see other designers like him benefit from his own experiences, and extend this into skills transfer and mentorship.

He believes that street apparel has been to advance divisive political interests. It is against this background that he believes that his initiative to create a pin-pointed apparel collection that have themed designs that are creative, themed and affordable is a tool that will create measurable and tangible results both in advancing Pawa254’s various social change initiatives while at the same time utilizing various professionals in this endeavor in the form of photography/videography, graphic design, social media etc.

Random facts about Job
– He’s totally awesome at break-dancing
– He can rap (in the shower) #Hiphop
– He loves adventure + trying out new things
– AND can cook chapati (he kills them)

Find more into on:

LightBox Africa

LightBox Africa


Transforming Tomorrow Today

LightBox specializes in film production and transmedia solutions, creating and developing innovative approaches to story-telling through film and other digital media. It is founded on the premise of positive change and the belief that tomorrow’s answers start today.

LightBox hopes to use film and video to break down the barriers that hinder people from getting the information they need to improve their lives.

“Through Film, we inspire and uplift a Generation.”

Sheila Bett

Sheila Bett


Sheila Bett is the communications officer for ‘Friends of Lake Turkana’. Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT) is a community trust interested in the survival and conservation of Lake Turkana and its ecosystem. FoLT celebrate the lake basin’s unique floral and faunal systems as well as cultural bio-diversity. FoLT is currently working on a Radio programme for the locals to provide a platform through which they have a voice and discuss issues both national and local that affect their livelihood. The radio program issues revolve around “environmental justice, national resource governance and community rights, which is the major project for communication at the moment alongside a twitter-sms platform under construction that will give them a change to be part of the online platform. On a regular day, Sheila updates social media pages and FoLT website on news and stories pertaining to FoLT work.

Find out more on

Random and interesting facts of Sheila:
1) Sheila is a self proclaims klutz every once in a while, and when she has one of those spells it’s downhill from there. So much so, that her girlfriends used to call her ‘Susan’ when desperate housewives was a big hit.
2) Sheila can’t wait to sky dive one day, but will bungee jump as long as it’s her choice as it feels more dangerous and careless.
3) Sheila also dreams of, at some point, becoming an accomplished writer who contributes to international journals and would love to do a couple of biographies on successful Kenyan women. People with whom she has debate with call her a feminist.

Peter Murimi

Peter Murimi

Premium Member

Peter Murimi is a Kenyan multiple award winning documentary director, who self shoots most of his films. He won the CNN Africa Journalist of the year in 2004 for his piece “Walk to Womanhood” that deals with issues surrounding FGM. This feat was achieved soon after graduating from Mohamed Amin Foundation in Kenya, where he received technical training in TV and Film production.

Pete worked as a freelancer on various NGO documentaries for the united Nations before securing full time employment as a shooter director at IRIN, based at the United Nations offices in Gigiri, Nairobi. He filmed several shorts and a number of longer features while at IRIN.

One of Pete’s most personal projects while working at IRIN was the 2007 “Slum Survivors” feature length documentary, which told the intimate stories of people living in Kibera’s sprawling informal settlement. He lived there for over six months and filmed stories of the people he met. The documentary film produced for IRIN has won global recognition and was the winner of the Tur Ostravo award in 2007.

Pete, under the direction of the 2014 Oscar Nominated director, Jehane Noujaim (The square), was the field director and cameraman for the Kenyan segments for the feature length documentary, “Rafae: Solar Mama”, which was produced as part of a series for Why Poverty in 2011.

In 2011, Peter was been involved in a climate change series spanning Africa and Asia and the web series “Heroes of HIV, which won the 2010 webbie awards. Since 2012, Peter has been part of the Africa investigates team for Aljazeera, in which he has produced several films exposing crime and corruption in Africa.




The entire world’s a canvas for this graffiti artist

By Brian Obara

To describe Bankslave, one of the more recognizable and accomplished graffiti artists based at PAWA254, is to unpack a suitcase of superlatives. Born Kevin Esendi, Banslave sweeps away the traditional classifications of what’s considered a successful artist in Kenya and has managed to turn the whole world into his canvas in his chosen medium of expression: graffiti. But let’s start from the beginning.

A common thread in the back story of any artist is that one person who believed in them. That person who, while the whole world seemed to be telling them that their dream is “too out there” pushed them to go for it. Bankslave is no different. For him that person is his mother Rose.

“I would say my mom has always supported me to achieve my dreams as an artist right from the beginning. She’s the one who bought me the colors and drawing books I needed when I was in primary school and also supported me when I wanted to study art in college,” remembers Bankslave.

Bankslave says his Dad is “old school” so he wasn’t keen on him taking up art but has since come around after seeing him get some recognition for his work.

“Seeing me in the papers and on TV has made him proud. He’s come to realize that art can pay the bills too. That’s what’s important,” says Bankslave.

If this was one of those traditional fables, this is the part in the story where the griot would go “then the young man left his village to go seek his fortune.” Bankslave had exhibited precocious talent straight from when he was at Olympic Primary School and later at Kabaa High School but it was when he joined the Buburu Institute of Fine Art that he really got to be challenged and grow as an artist.

Besides the things he picked up in class, it was also at the college that Bankslave joined his first crew while still a freshman. “We called ourselves 60 Nozzles. I was the youngest member of the crew as the others were in third year at the time. I learnt a lot from those guyz since they were already doing work on matatus. That was big those days,” recalls Bankslave.

Bankslave’s outsize ambitions as an artist mean he’s always looking to grow, always looking to get better. Even while he was learning a lot from the 60 Nozzles crew, he had another eye on what was happening internationally through magazines and other media.”

“College exposed me to the kind of great work you can pull off with a spray. The 60 Nozzles guyz were good but I was also keeping up with Tats Crews in the US and Maclaim Crew in German,” says Bankslave, adding “all those crews have influenced my style.”

The thumbprint of this influence can be seen on the murals adorning the walls at PAWA254 which were done by Bankslave and his current crew of Swift, Uhuru Brown and Smokillah who collectively go by the catchy marker “Sprayuzi.” Bankslave says he’s very proud of the work they’ve done at PAWA254 that has given the community its aesthetics.

“When Bonny (Boniface Mwangi) came to me to work on the walls at PAWA254 I didn’t know it would work out like this. I am glad the Sprayuzi crew was able to deliver,” says a smiling Bankslave.

The esthetics at PAWA254 are far from the only thing that Bankslave and Boniface Mwangi have collaborated on. Leading up to the March 2013 general elections Bankslave and his crew were an important facet of the “Ma Vultures” project which created such a stir in Kenya and internationally. As part of the project Bankslave and his crew graffitied walls in around the city to raise awareness of how politicians divided Kenyans while looking out for their own selfish interest.

Bankslave says it was scary time because they were risking provoking the wrath of some powerful people. “The fear would hit you when you got home and realized what you had just done. You had just graffitied a wall in the city and some very powerful people might get angry about it. I didn’t pick up calls from unknown numbers and I used to look at my phone and wonder if it had been tapped,” he remembers.

Bankslave says all the paranoia and anxiety was worth it in the grand scheme of things because there was no repeat of the chaos witnessed in 2007. “I think our work was worth it because it exposed the vultures in the country. We left a mark and I think Kenyans will carry those lessons even into future elections” he says.

Bankslave, who wants to teach young artists as well as dabble in a little farming in the future, hopes that PAWA254 will always keep its doors open to all artists. “I see PAWA254 as an orphanage for artists of all kinds. This is a place that all artists now and in the future can call home,” he says.

Bankslave’s view of PAWA254 seems to paraphrase the words carved onto the Statue of Liberty “Give me your talented, your gifted, your dreamers yearning for a place to create new wonders. A home awaits them at PAW254.

Someone needs to spray that on the walls.

Armstrong Too

Armstrong Too

In House Photographer

The man who captures and immortalizes fashion, lifestyle, and portraits through the lens

By Oduor Jagero,

There is no doubt that the world has gone digital. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and other social networks are awash with photos.
But there is a hitch. Most of them are upside down, the colors are dull, overexposed, and lacking in finesse.

There is only one reason: many are enthusiast photographers while the rest of the few are professionals.

Armstrong Too is a professional.

The moment you sit down with him, he puts one leg on the other, pulls his body backwards and leans on his chair, cutting an image of a fashionista. His hair is cropped to fit his age. But not his beard. Just bushy enough, a cut runs across the cheeks and abruptly stops on his upper lips. His canvas snickers and fitting pants paints a picture of a photographer in his own league.

Every now and again, he will be at the rooftop of Pawa254 meeting with clients who stream into the Pawa254 studios to have their images immortalized by his creative genius. But Armstrong is not just good in the studio. Once raw images have been snapped inside the studios, he will sit behind his Macbook Pro for another session of brushing, color correcting, brightening, and other jargons that only photographers understand.

Armstrong is the In House PAWA254 photography. His roles are to market the photo-studio and ensure its full potential is realized and also tale PAWA254 in house and other related activities.

“I am not in this profession for short term,” he tells me when we finally sit at the Pawa254 rooftop to talk about his trade.

“I am in this for the long haul.”
To be in a profession for the long haul is a huge commitment and a gamble. It means that he has to be different from the other photographers who hold a point-and-shoot camera or a wannabe enthusiast who runs around with a compact camera.

“It’s the trade that feeds, clothes, and shelters me. And to be where I am, it has been a long and hard journey trying to find my foot in photography,” he says.

Armstrong was not supposed to be a photographer. Rather, he should have been a computer engineer. “From a very young age, I had a lot of interest in computers. Back home, people never knew me as a photographer. They knew me as a computer geek.”

Apparently there was a turnaround. At this point, the easy going camera lover, looks at Nairobi’s city skyline. The weather is chilly. A wisp of wind escapes from the bushy and tall trees, sweeping across our faces. He taps his canvas shoes on the roof floor. He steals out of our interview and traces his life, back to the point before he even knew anything about shutter speeds
“I did many things in Nakuru,” he says.

Twenty seven years ago, Armstrong was born in Kitale, far off west of the capital Nairobi. Born in what he calls a humble family, his dreams of furthering his studies in computers were ruined by lack of resources. But being the only child of his mother, he had to no option but to make mama proud. Her blessings routed Armstrong’s path.

“I found myself in music production and sometimes, if the opportunity presented itself, I would direct a few music videos,” he says. Armstrong did this for a couple of years until a situation came up. Something that, as he says, changed his life forever.

“There was this lady friend who was interested in modeling. She asked me if I could take a few photos of her. She needed to send the pictures to a modeling agency that was interested in enlisting her,” He explains. He takes a pause and looks at the city’s skyline again.

“She got that job,” he says with a tinge of pride. This single event would introduce him to the world of shutter and aperture. But Nakuru was not the kind of place to learn the trade. And his only bet was to search somewhere else.

“That’s when I decided to come to Nairobi,” he says. Thinking about it now, Armstrong thinks that he’d taken a bold step, one that at some point looked like a bad decision to have made. “It was hard in Nairobi. No salary, no fare,” he says. Everything was going wrong for him at the small studio where he was enlisted to take behind-the-scene shots as a learning process.

As he states, tears and sweat are part of the dream realization. Today, he stands tall, about 6ft 1, a height that mirrors how tall he stands among other photographers. His day to day photography involves fashion, lifestyle, portraits, and general photography works.

Part of what has made him a professional is a strong belief.

“To be a professional photographer, you have to be a professional human being,”

David Meffe

David Meffe

Premium Member

David Meffe wants to put the East African art scene on the map

By Brian Obara

David Meffe doesn’t always like it when people google his name. It sometimes leads to all sorts of irksome questions about another David Maffe (no relation) who, detained for some youthful indiscretions in 2002, did a goodbye-cruel-world routine and hanged himself with a bed sheet in his cell. “You’ll be surprised at how many people usually ask me about that. The internet says you’re dead. Thanks google!” says David laughing.

This David Meffe, all alive and stuff, is one of the newly minted Premium Members at PAWA254. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada (“America with manners”) David realized he had a knack for writing when a teacher – in lieu of detention for some minor infraction – told him to write an article for the school paper. “He must have thought it was punishment but it has given me a career. Things work out like that sometimes” says David who cleaned up his act in school and went on to study History and English at Carleton University in Ottowa.

Through a sheer luck draw of the cards, David got a chance to visit Rwanda in 2012 under the auspices of a program run by the Carleton Centre for Media and Transitional Societies. In Rwanda David worked part time as a presenter on City Radio 88.6 in Kigali.

“I had three hours only every week but I made it count. I like to think I got Rwanda into Rock and Roll in my small way,” he beamingly says. It was also at the radio station that David sparked a friendship with Andre Rukwirwa.

David was impressed by how Andre had started his own magazine while still in high school. “Andre started Blink magazine straight out of high school and had been publishing it for eight years. He was putting out great content too.”

Skip to 2013 and, through another fortuitous twist of events, David and Andre both ended up in Nairobi working on different gigs but using every minute they could spare to making Blink the premier arts and culture website in East Africa.

“I came to Nairobi because I got a job working for the Nation Media Group (NMG) through the Agha Khan Foundation. I spent about nine months writing human rights and development stories for the Daily Nation and the East Africa,” explains David adding tongue-in-cheek-like that “it’s a good gig if you can get it”.

David says Blink’s philosophy is inspired by the dearth of critical and punchy writing on East Africa’s art scene.

“We see a big need for coverage of East African art. Take just Nairobi even, walk in any direction in this city and you’ll see plenty of incredible talent. The media coverage as its stands is not geared towards giving this talent the attention it deserves,” he says. He adds “it’s about time someone did justice to this talent by providing a kickass multimedia platform that marches the passion and talent of the artists. That’s what Blink wants to be; a bridge between East Africa’s best art and the world.”

According to David part of the special alchemy that will go into making Blink a great website is the list of great writers that they’ve recruited from across East Africa. “We’ve assembled a very impressive group of writers from Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali and all around really so we expect to shake up the art and media scene when we launch in a few weeks,” promises David.

David says being based at PAWA254 has made the process of cobbling together the content for Blink much easier. “This place is a gold mine if you are in the business of writing about artists. Anyone you need, say a painter, writer, filmmaker or graffiti artist, could just be down the hall or even on the workstation next to you,” he says.

“It also helps that a lot of what happens in the city, artistically speaking, revolves around PAWA254 or is at least indirectly connected to it. So PAWA254 also helps us to stay in the loop with the artistic developments in Nairobi.”

By way of a parting shot, David said that PAWA254’s most valuable contribution to making Blink a reality is simply the artistic disciple it has instilled in him.

“Its nice to be surrounded by people who love what they do. We have gotten more work done here in two weeks than we have in the last few months working outside PAWA254.”


BonnieBoniface Mwangi, Team Leader

Boniface Mwangi is an award winning Kenyan photo-activist. For four years he held a staff photographer position at The Standard, the second largest Kenyan newspaper. In 2008, he quit active journalism and founded Picha Mtaani – a travelling exhibition that was part of an effort to foster dialogue, reconciliation and healing in Kenya. In late 2011, he spent proceedings from his personal investments to fund a creative hub, Pawa254 – a collaborative space that brings together journalists, artists and activists seeking innovative ways to achieve social change.

He has been recognized as a Magnum Photography Fellow, Acumen Fund East Africa Fellow, TED Fellow, and twice as the CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the Year,Global Post Person of the Year 2012, Africa’s Top 30 Most Inspirational Young People 2013, Temple University USA-Society of Emerging African Leaders Award 2013, among other awards. Boniface recently received the Prince Claus Award and is now a senior TED fellow.

Boniface studied human rights and documentary photography at New York University. He holds a Diploma in bible studies from the Kingdom Academy and in Print Journalism from the East African School of Journalism. Boniface lives in Nairobi with his wife and three children. He is also an avid motorcycle rider.


2Q9A0065Njeri Kangethe, General Manager

A graduate of Daystar University with a degree in Public Relations, Njeri has experience in event planning and management including the Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon 2005 and the Nairobi Airshow. Before PAWA254, Njeri also worked as Export Manager at Amani Ya Juu in 2006. In her spare time, Njeri is also a family, newborn and maternity photographer.



2Q9A0038Kevin Oyugi, Community Manager

Kevin has in-depth experience with, and is passionate about the areas of Architecture, Leadership, Social Media, Journalism and Marketing, having worked for over 7 years in each of these areas. He studied Architecture at the Westlands campus of the  Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology but later joined a pioneer Media mentroship programme at MTV in 2009.

A high-achiever, obsessed with community, research, history and writing, Kevin has developed content, strategy and on- & offline strategies for a number of organisations, with a focus on quality and unique content.

He has worked for and with leading local and international organizations such as MTV, PHAT! and Homeboyz Entertainment and also blogged with info-tainment blogs in Kenya such as PressPlay, Ghafla and Niaje. He regularly blogs on Urban, Culutral and Entertainment content on OYGK Magazine, in addition to consultancy on digital content.



Brianna Roberts, Marketing Intern

Brianna joined PAWA254 in June 2014. She has always worked at blending her passions for the arts with activism. She began her professional career working with the former South Sudanese child soldier and international hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal as his Assistant Label Manager of Gatwitch Records. She has also spent the past two years working in rural Kenya areas engaging youth in leadership and conscious global citizenship trainings.

Brianna is an honors graduate of York University’s Theatre School in Toronto, Canada. Before relocating to Kenya, she worked with numerous theatre companies, artists and festivals devising and performing in new, movement-based theatrical pieces aimed at shedding light on current social issues. In her spare time Brianna loves seeing live music, performing at local children’s hospitals, creative writing and playing covers on her poorly-tuned acoustic guitar.


2Q9A0058Sarah Mallia, Arts and Culture Programme Intern

Sarah’s fascination with using different forms of art for social mobilization, youth empowerment and activism has developed significantly over the last years having worked for a number of organisations in Malta and East Africa. At the age of 18, she co-founded “GetUpStandUp!” a youth organization committed to facilitating social change and promoting non-discrimination through a number of artistic workshops and festivals called Jamming for Change. During this period, she also became a committee member of the Say No to Racism Campaign.

Later on, she held the post of a Migration Officer at the Malta Red Cross were she ran a small migration department and coordinated a number of art-related projects with migrants and youths. She has very recently completed an MSc at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London were I studied migration, development and politics in East Africa.

Sarah has organized festivals in Malta and loves scouring through the net, and people, for African electronic dance music.


MutitikaJoe Mutitika, Accountant

Mutitika’s experience as an accountant spans 16 years. He has helped over eight small and medium organizations set up accounting systems, including McEnsal School of Fashion Design, Association of Fashion Designers Kenya Ltd, World Mobilization Kenya Trust among others. In the year 2006, he formed the book-keeping consultancy firm, Mutitika Associates, which is currently offering accounting consultancy services to six organizations, including Mtaani Initiative and Pawa254 Ltd.

Joe used to play football back when he was younger, but now he enjoys watching the Kenyan and English Premier Leagues from the comfort of a television set.

Langat-PhhoErnest Langat – Accountant

Langat is a trained and experienced accountant and administrator. Before joining PAWA254, Langat worked at Mutitika Associates; Avidex Media Productions, World Mobilizations (K) Trust and the Global Network Ltd among other places.

Langat is pursuing a degree in Business Administration at the Kenya Methodist University and a certificate in Certified Public Accountancy. He holds a National Higher Diploma in Human Resource Management (KNEC), and National diploma in Business Administration (KNEC).

Langat is well versed in computerized financial accounting and reporting, business planning, budgeting and budget control systems, cost estimation and valuation and cash-flow management, project management and leadership management skills. He is also trained in Project Management Skills (Kenya Institute of Social Work and Community Development, KISWACD), Management of NGOs and CBOs (KISWACD), leadership management and teamwork skills, as well as in International Observers Skills (Global Veterans Foundations and Peace Ambassadors, GLOVEPA) in and during the election process.

Ernest loves to travel and is also the Chair of the Bureti District Christian Association.

2Q9A0044Elijah Kanyi, Cameraman

Kanyi is a freelance cameraman with six years experience with both local and international film organisations and media outlets. He has worked with the Associated Press, UK’s Clover Films, MSF, Save The Children, Comic Relief, Finnish TV among many more. Kanyi is also a social activist, the founder of Mathare Roots Youth Group, and is the Team Manager of Real Mathare Football Club in Mathare. He represented Kenya at the World Civic Assembly for Youth Around The World in Glasgow, Scotland and also represented the Mathare Roots Youth Group at the YES Summit in Sweden.


2Q9A0037Edwin Maxwell, Office Assistant

Edwin Maxwell has five years work experience including Lifewater International, where he was an acting manager and teacher and G4S where he worked as a security officer in different sectors across the country. He is an office assistant at PAWA254.

Edwin is also passionate about film making, photography, cycling, scrabble and events organizing.


2Q9A0071Caleb Onguti, Office Assistant

Caleb joined PAWA in at the beginning of 2012. Prior to joining PAWA254, Caleb had worked for the security firm G4S for ten years. Caleb also loves music and is a choir member of his Church.




EmPAWAing Artists Grant Program

Are you an artist? Are you seeking to take your work to the next level and expand your artistic network? Do you need support to fund a project you are working on? Pawa254 has rolled out the EmPAWAing Artists Grant Program. We are seeking to select twelve artists who we will partner with and support with a grant toward a self-designed production, showcase/exhibition that enhances their artistic brand and development. Whether you are a photographer, videographer, filmmaker, musician, graphic designer, animator, poet, writer, or fashion designer, we are looking to support your artistic and professional development. Specifically, we are looking to nurture and harness your talent for cultural expression as well as a source of livelihood.

EmPAWAing Artists Grants go towards your production/showcase/ or exhibition.

  1. Dedicated Spotlight on PAWA254’s Website and Social Media for a month
  2. Network and work opportunities with creative industry professionals

In addition to supporting the creative industry, we seek to build on the power of arts and media to engage, equip and encourage young citizens to contribute to effecting social change in Kenya. Therefore, we are seeking applicants whose work is founded on using the arts to promote social change and transformation.


N.B: Keep your eyes pealed for more information on grants as of April 2015!


EmPAWAing Artist Grantees: Projects Powered by Pawa254

We select artists on a rolling basis, taking in the projects with the most potential for impact. So far, we have selected these Artists to support:

Sarabi is an afro-fusion band here in Nairobi whose music speaks to the heart of Kenyan youth. With them, we have supported the recording of their new song “Fuata Sheria” which speaks about the about the state of Kenya’s politics and of the failure of Kenya’s citizens to take responsibility for their contribution to the corrupt status quo. The song has had steady success for are, as seen by their YouTube video, which had reached over 60,000 views. In addition to helping to fund the recording of the song, we continue to support Sarabi through linking them with various opportunities for gigs and performances at Pawa254 and our affiliated events.

Hii System is a TV pilot we are supporting that focuses on how Nairobi residents can protect themselves from muggings and con men in the city. It is an eye opening, testimonial based production that gives very vital information that equips citizens to avoid dangerous situations. Originally conceptualized by Billian Okoth, a Nairobi based artist, Pawa254 partnered up with him and Light Box Africa (a film company based at Pawa254), to upgrade the video quality and scripting writing, and finish edits.

KateOsa is a community based talk show that centers on the stories of success of those who come from informal settlements. Created by Caatherine Njeri, a community organizer from Dandora, KateOsa has been steadily growing its audience in the Dandora area of Nairobi, and with the support of the EmPAWAing Artists Grant, she will be able to take the show to greater heights with improved video quality and better scriptwriting. The video will be released shortly.

Did you know that 1 in every 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime? Approximately 2 out of 3 women know or are related to the person who assaults them. Through the EmPAWaing grant we were able to fund the video ‘A Little More’ by Sitawa Wafula. Sitawa Wafula is a two time award winning rape survivor living with Epilepsy and a Mental Health condition – Activist of the Year 2013, East Africa Youth Philanthropist 2013 and Spark*Kenya Changemakers Fellow 2013. Ten years ago, at the age of 18, Sitawa was raped; got depressed, was suicidal and developed a mental health disorder that she struggles with to date.

Kelvin Kiprono aka Insectdudu and Bob Onyango aka Terra go by the name Tuffskills. They are an AFRO HIP-HOP duo hailing from Kangemi (23), Kenya. Both born in late 80s, the lyrical maestros fell in love with music from an early age. Living in the same area, they used to meet up and compose lyrics and it’s those early roots which have given Tuffskills a seriousness about what they do and how. They launched their music career in 2005 recording with various producers like Sinpare (Tuff Audio Studios) and collaborating with many other artistes. Young, ambitious and passionate about their craft, Tuffskills delve into traditional sounds and draw from a strong social conscience and Nairobi life experiences to catalyze their energy into songs which have deeply relevant lyrics and wonderful melodic hooks.

On Saturday, 26th April UPARTTOGETHER held a unitary arts exhibition, featuring musicians, artists, photographers and graffiti artists at Pawa254. #GetFramed was the main exhibition held at the event. The Getframed photography campaign is a marketing and mapping campaign involving the use of a prop frame to take photos. It is used as a tool for promotion of unity among people {Kenyans} from different societies and cultures. This exhibition was an opportunity for different artists to collaborate and have a platform for them to showcase their work.


James Wakibia

James Wakibia

Photographer and final year journalism student at Egerton University, Nakuru County. View Details


Graffiti artist View Details
Ndemange Mutuku

Ndemange Mutuku

Spoken word artist View Details
John Wambugu

John Wambugu

Film Maker View Details


An intern's perspective View Details
James Wakibia

James Wakibia

Photographer and final year journalism student at Egerton University, Nakuru County.

PAWA254 means power to the people
“What is PAWA254 to me?”
What a thought-provoking question!
PAWA254 is more than I can possibly explain in a few words. Like its name PAWA254, it is power to reckon with.

Within a very short period of time, PAWA254 has carved a niche for itself and become a powerhouse in Kenya, planting seeds of hope among Kenyan creatives. PAWA254 empowers all artists: graffiti artists, photographers, writers, bloggers, film makers and others to create art that changes the way we view ourselves. We are no longer dwarfs being ruled by giants, we have known our rights, our power.

It is through PAWA254 that I have learnt that art, which has been used for decades to entertain, can also be used in a very powerful way to press governments for change and help solve many of our problems.

I urge PAWA254 to continue its work in training upcoming artists to not only use art to entertain but also to pin-point our problems and offer ways of addressing them.

I can comfortably say that PAWA254 is a leader in giving the youth the power to emancipate themselves and their country.

James Wakibia is a photographer and final year journalism student at Egerton University, Nakuru County.



Graffiti artist

Graffiti binds us together

I got to know about PAWA254 from a TV interview featuring Boniface Mwangi. I later visited him to seek help in finishing a mural project that had been initiated by another graffiti artist I schooled with. Boniface said he had projects he wanted to involve us. To confirm our competence, Boniface gave us pens and papers to do some concepts for him. After an hour of sketching he loved what we did and the rest is history!

PAWA254 is where iron sharpens iron. My regular interaction with other graffiti artists is invaluable. We learn from, and teach each other, collaborate on projects and together we’ve grown day by day. Our love and respect for graffiti binds us together. I am thankful to PAWA254 for giving us space to use our gifts. We hope to grow even us PAWA254 grows.

Ndemange Mutuku

Ndemange Mutuku

Spoken word artist

We want to change our country

The debate usually starts late, around 6pm on Tuesdays. It’s not an attentive audience, most people engage in small talk before the moderator, often a tall guy called Ronnie, calls the meeting to order. This introductory moment is probably the singular moment of calm. Once people start talking, the debate verges on pandemonium. Sure, you most likely hear what every speaker has to say, but it will be accompanied by requests to the moderator for an opportunity to respond to an earlier speaker, uninvited dismissals of whatever the speaker is suggesting, or just the mumbling of people as they express their own opinions to their friends and those seated next to them.
Everyone who walks into that auditorium harbours a dream of Kenya that is vastly different from the reality that it is today. So the members of Off the Record keep coming, come rain, come shine, and even when the subjects are utterly boring or abstract.
Off the Record and PAWA254– these spaces change you. They make you angry and bitter about the state of the affairs, but they also give you hope that is hard to find elsewhere. Here you find yourself in the company of people who want to do something: they want to change the country.

John Wambugu

John Wambugu

Film Maker

Telling the story of our people

My passion to tell stories started when I was aged about 10.My uncle would bring me children’s storybooks. He had an old Fuji camera and during our family get-togethers he would take pictures. At times he would allow me to take pictures as well. Years later, after joining university to study Actuarial Science, I started writing for a local TV magazine show as a way of supplementing my pocket money.
I would also write and direct plays on campus and stage them for a fee. I drew great inspiration from the African-American director, writer and actor Tyler Perry. At that time I was elected the Chief Editor ofthe campus magazine.Since I was keen to advertise my plays better in the publication,I bought a small digital camera using my savings to take the pictures for the magazine and also to record my plays on video.
By the time I was finishing my studies I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, just like Tyler Perry. Thus, after graduation I was blessed to meet Boniface Mwangi, an award-winningphoto-journalist who encouraged me to apply for a fellowship to study film and television production. I was blessed to get the Reuters scholarship for two years, which also took me to Spoleto, Italy to hone my filmmaking and photography skills.
I also did a short film on environmentthat won an award in Italy and in Greece. I returnedto Kenya in 2011.I have been using my camera to tell the story of our people. It is this desire to have more young people equipped with skills to tell their own stories that motivated me to start



An intern's perspective

Sowing the seeds of change

While I was at Pawa254 two years ago, I witnessed grassroots efforts of healing Kenya. Looking back, I have to say that one major strength of the PAWA254 is the connectionsit fosters among photographers, actors, graffiti artists and journalists. In terms of civil engagement, this is an innovative, awesome strategy. Although I remember thinking that there could be more writers and journalists, they were still welcome to work on projects of their own in the space provided.
From early on, I realized I would do a lot of observing. I wrote reports on incidents like when an exhibition of Boniface’s photos was taken down in Naivasha. That was frustrating but it also gave me hope because that sort of a public display could not have happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where I spent half my life, especially when the photos touched on something so raw and political.
I made it to a Juliani concert, which, if I remember correctly, followed a photo exhibit in the street in downtown Nairobi. Boniface gave a speech that was very critical of the Government and the complacency of the middle class. I remember sensing a disconnect between Boniface’s ideals and those of the young, urban middle class. Sadly, the middle class that has thrived in Kenya and that makes countries like the Congo (and even South Africa) look unequal in comparison, is not politically engaged.
I realized that just because a country has a relatively prosperous economy that does not mean a civic culture will sprout on its own. The government has to invest in schools and universities to develop its manpower, but also allow critical voices through journalism and activismto blossom.
Reflecting on some of those episodes, I wonder if a less confrontational style might have helped. Instead of just criticising the government maybe one should encourage principled leaders to go into politics. And those who are well educated and principled but maybe less ambitious might want to go into the civil service.

Get Connected

Note: Office is down a small road directly across from the Ethiopian Consulate. Detailed directions: From State House Avenue, find the smaller road called State House Crescent and turn. Follow signs for the Ethiopian Consulate. When you see the consulate entrance, look to the opposite side of the street. There will be a small driveway. Turn and go to the end of the driveway, where you will see two black gates. The left gate is for Pawa 254, housed at the Africa Alliance of YMCAs building. Kindly note that we are not located at YMCA building.

Call us:  +254 721 956 552


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