The Nairobi derby, also commonly known as the Mashemeji derby is the name of the local derby between two major football teams in Nairobi: A.F.C. Leopards and Gor Mahia. The word "Mashemeji" is a Swahili word for "In-laws". It is the oldest rivalry in Kenyan football history. Fans of both A.F.C. Leopards and Gor Mahia (often referred to by their nicknames, Ingwe and K'Ogalo, respectively) recognize each other as arch-rivals. Gor Mahia has won the Kenyan Premier League a record 16 times, while A.F.C. Leopards have three less league titles to their name. The two clubs have been rivals since they first locked horns on 5 May 1968.
The Gor Mahia fan base is predominantly "Luo" while that of AFC leopards is mostly "Luhya". This is one of the reason the two teams refer to each other as in-laws because the Luhyas and Luos basically border each other on the Western part of Kenya. It is also a way of promoting fair and peaceful competition among the two teams which in the past have had to deal with a lot of hooliganism cases during matches. The passion of the fans during encounters between the teams add to the intensity of the derby.
I was recently very amped catching up with some of the front row fans of both teams. I wanted and needed this very well organised because the only time we could have all of them together was during the derby. This is because some of them travel about 179 miles jut to go be part of the "big match". It's like a Real Madrid - Barcelona (El Clasico) kind of thing. That's the best way I can describe it. So we waited for the day of the match, got our gear and went set shop on the streets of Nairobi for this shoot about 2 hours before the match began at the Nyayo national stadium. It was one of the most difficult shoots to do considering the crowds but I had a very able team around me to help me get through it.
So ladies and gentlemen I present to you The Mashemeji Derby Fans.
KOKKLES - His name defines the big pair of goggles that he wears
PEMBEE - Known as the dude who carries the two trunks, a symbolism of power
NGANYI - One of the guys in charge of security hence the helmet
SKELE - An unknown character who always has a skeleton as a sign to scare and intimidate away the rival team
DAINGO - He is the witch-doctor/priest of the Ingwe (AFC Leopards) family. His job is to ensure that he calls on the gods to secure a win for the team
MANYUWELE - The chief entertainer entitled with boosting up the moral of the Kogalo (Gor Mahia) fans and team when the scores are against them
MISS INGOHO - Ingwe people are famously known for their love and adoration of chicken. She is the chief chef in charge of making sure the fans don't go to the game hungry
JARO SOJA - The major general in charge of Kogalo security
LIGHTING ASSISTANT - Sam Nasong'o
PROJECT MANAGER - George Mkaya