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Thursday, 18 April 2013


The in-coming government has grand ideas about how to move Kenya forward. But what does it all mean to the blind photographer, recently featured in one of the local news channels? That kind of nexus is what the media should endeavour to probe, as opposed to mere reportage of isolated 'great stories' of the day.

Undoubtedly, that blind photography story was so inspiring. It depicted the enduring quest for survival, in spite of all manner of challenges facing humanity. And to many viewers perhaps, it served to indicate how their day to day predicaments pale, when compared to the burden faced by other Kenyans.

And thus, my worry that there is a missed opportunity here, to challenge those in authority to tailor make policies, and make them more responsive to the needs of people like Richard Rono. And yes. Much more can be done.

I have had the privilege of doing a blind photography TV feature, only that it was in the United Kingdom. Before you dismiss this as an unfair comparison of what goes on in the developed world and a Third World country, hear me out.

The subjects in my story had a similar visual impairment afflicting Rono. But Brian Negus (pictured above) is entirely doing his photography as a hobby.

And yet he has government sanctioned access to gadgets that not only make his pass-time practical, but also equipment and technology that makes his life without proper vision, very much bearable. But as for Rono, his photography is his main means of earning a livelihood.

He subsequently makes a passionate appeal for assistance, stressing that transportation is his main challenge. But who is he addressing in particular? A central Government or area Governor perchance, let alone well-wishers?

This is why I strongly believe that the right social welfare policies could alleviate the plight of the likes of Rono.

His life too can be made a little more bearable, though not exactly like that of Negus, just yet. And therein lies my challenge to the Kenyan media. If possible, try and look at the bigger picture, when covering such stories.

NB: The blind photography story that I'm making reference to, was a collaborative effort with my great colleagues, Ady Nugroho and Sadia Hasanzada.

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