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Everyday Life on an African Housing Estate

Nowhere else in the world is the divide between all that is positive and negative with the urban human experience so harshly exposed as it is in the African city space.

As cities have continued to expand at an alarming rate that sees no sign of slowing any time soon, governments and local authorities have been largely unwilling or unable to cope with the swell of humanity flooding to urban centres all over the Continent.

The vacuum left behind by the failure of governments and local authorities has given birth to a surreal urban space.  A space where traditional African communal and rural ways of life has moved in to establish some semblance of order and juxtaposes sharply with the modern, urban chaos inherent to the city space and which has conspired to give each city on the African Continent its own unique dimension and flavour.

It is a world where the African cooking stove meets the high-rise crumbling apartment blocks of bad social planning. 

Where tight-knit African social structures meet an alienating and individualistic modern way of life and all the related problems that come with it. 

A hybrid space where vibrant African culture and resourcefulness battles with a lack of running water, electricity and other basic amenities.  A traditional world that contrasts unsympathetically with the other-worldly nature of the modern urban existence.

Mombasa in Kenya is a shining example of disorganization, chaos and failed social planning – of decaying colonial architecture and hastily-constructed modern buildings.  But also a city where the intricate social structures of an African rural way of doing things from yesteryears is still weaved into the very fabric of the city.  A vibrant world of urban failure and the focus of a journey into the heart of the African urban experience.

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