Challenges of a Kenyan Cameraman

I have been freelancing for different International media house in Kenya. This is due to the positioning, most international media companies prefer.  In the words of the White Stripes, “Everyone has a story to tell” and this is mine. Well some of it anyway.  The journey of being a cameraman, started in the year 2006, VIVID FEATURES a production company in Nairobi Kenya were looking for marketing person. I applied and lucky enough was  called for interview.  I only worked as a marketing person for 6 months and then developed interest in camera. I would spent hour in workshop reading manual books on different cameras.  Being a fast learner within one year I was a full time cameraman at vivid. I worked with different media house correspondents . 

I learnt a lot on shooting different stories, some are jovial and others are very sad. The most memorable moment of my life as a cameraman was during the world cup in South Africa.  Going by road to South Africa, while shooting was the epitome of my career.  I had a chance as cameraman to be behind the camera while renowned world leaders poured their stories and answers to many questions, including Presidents and former leaders.

I managed to travel around Africa shooting on different aspects, until 2014 the passion and love for shooting drove me to have my own space. This resulted  to me starting my own company.  ASA PRODUCTION LIMITED was registered in 2014 in the Republic of Kenya .  We are currently with a staff of 8 members as cameramen, editors and producers.  

It has not been easy setting up a company in Kenya, there is a lot of legislation and this only makes it easier for the rich and the mighty in the society. High tax is being charged on the production equipment. Kenya  like  any other African  country case of terrorism is high and being seen  with camera  brings a lot of suspicion to both the people and relevant security  authorities. This happens, even if you have all the documents.  Cases of middlemen or brokers, who have no clue on the production, but they are the industry players. They set the cost of production and it goes high .

The real estate business in Kenya is booming, so getting office space is very expensive and has lead to a lot of briefcase production houses.  Cameramen in Kenya also lack practical and faces challenges of robust technology growth. It’s very ironic that most media schools or  training institutions in Kenya  still teach with old-fashioned cameras. Yet, in the market,  people have moved and most cameras used are very  high Sophisticated and high end. This makes it difficult just to absorb students from colleges, it takes another one year or so to train them again.  

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