‘Kenya hasn’t seen a drop of rain for several years.’

If you have no knowledge about East Africa you might actually believe a statement like the one written above presumably by the photographer Stephano de Luigi on the VII website.

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I’m wracking my brains to imagine how he (or someone else) could have got it so wrong, and how no-one else has spotted it? Of course it rains on large parts of Kenya. Kenya has a rainy season but there’s not been enough of it and in some places the rain didn’t come at all. That’s something altogether different from the notion that Kenya hasn’t seen any rain at all for several years.

The photos themselves are powerful but leave me cold. Perhaps that’s because I’ve lived in this part of the world and I just find that on the whole photographers struggle to represent these people. Maybe that’s a failing of photography as a medium more than any comment on the photographers themselves. Most media is shallow but its just that it grates more when you see shallow work on serious subjects.  Again that’s not really the fault of the photographer who is working on a very limited budget with time constraints.

This is made worse when the accompanying text is both inaccurate and poor.

These people deserve better, don’t they?

Picture 5

Author — duckrabbit

duckrabbit is a production company formed by radio producer/journalist Benjamin Chesterton and photographer David White. We specialize in digital storytelling.

Discussion (6 Comments)

  1. A.photographer says:


  2. Stan B. says:

    It’s not rare that local media gets the names, details and even facts of a story confused, distorted or omitted- purposely or unintentionally, right in their own backyard! It’s hardly surprising when done half a world away. We all deserve better..

  3. joe says:

    story and pics just ran in sunday times ?

  4. dave says:

    I think the headline was intended to give the impact this story deserves. I was in the Rift Valley in August and, believe me, the situation was shocking due to lack of any meaningful rainfall for over two years. The wildlife, people and their livestock was suffering far beyond the regular cyclical droughts. One of our guides, a local Kenyan from the Samburu area said he had never seen the rivers so dry in the past 20 years. I prayed for rain this November season to avert a tragedy. Little was made of the situation in the European news/press. For a change, I don’t think the headline or the pjoto was sensationalism on this occasion.

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