Photographs for Africa: Tanzania

Poa kichizi kama ndizi!

To a visitor the daily life presents itself colorful, lively and mixed up. As a visitor you first have to get used to it. But soon everything will appear in a much sharper focus. In between the many people, you will recognize different persons doing their jobs.

arrival in morogoro

It feels more like a lifetime. A world away from here. Everyday I think about my experiences in Tanzania with longing and wonder. Did it really happen to me? Did I swim in the Indian Ocean, fly over the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, get to know great people from around the region? Did I really walk on the rooftop of Africa? Did I meet and fall in love with some of the greatest kids I’ll ever know, did Moshi, Arusha, Dodoma, Morogoro and Dar really feel like home?

morogoro mountains


Did I truly discover some of the harsh realities people face? Will the lessons stay with me forever or will Tanzania slowly fade away? If I’m being honest, how much does that scare me? What will happen next and how can I build on what I know now? How can I reflect my memories, the lessons and truths learned, in my life back home? Well…I am still working on it. Here is what I know now.

the hills across

People say that this is an experience of a lifetime. And it is, I do not wish to take one moment I had in Tanzania for granted. But for me I feel like that phrase falls flat. They don’t describe what I have felt or seen, they do not encompass all of the quirks, joys, fears, and beauties that have existed for me. I know that I can not sum up Tanzania in four words or less, I guess that is why I have written this much.

bus station


You have heard about it, experienced it, and seen it along with me. Perhaps you have felt some of my happiness, sorrows, and excitement. And maybe you now have the desire to seek the unknown or help where you have never thought you could. It was my hope and reason for documenting my days across the neighbouring nation.

taxi stop

I encourage everyone to leave behind what they know, to experience a new world and reality. It will open you up to all kinds of possibilities you never imagined, for instance interacting with all the new communities i got to meet in search of a life with my camera. Yet I know that these trips are not possible for everyone. And for those of you whose lives are going down different paths than my own, there are still many ways to discover the world, because we can all make a difference no matter where we are.

masai warriors

But more than just the struggles and hardships, I have seen the importance of putting people and relationships before money and possessions, a love for nature and the outdoors, and the need to appreciate the little things. Living in another culture lets you absorb all of the good things it has to offer. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see both the good and the bad.

dar in the morning

The most common way to get around in Tz, is to use dala dala. Buses of various sizes and brands. All of them have one thing in common: they are always overcrowded. It’s fascinating to see the variety of baggage and freight: from living chickens to 50 kg sacks of rice on the roof or anywhere else. Passengers must be masters of self-control: sitting closely together, skin to skin even at high temperatures, tolerating all with peace and serenity. It’s an adventure to get out from such a vehicle at rush hour.

crowded daladala

A more pleasant way is to drive with bajaja. Particularly in Dar es Salaam it is the preferred mode of commuting, these three-wheel motorcycles, where the guests are sitting in the rear passenger compartment, almost as the British royal couple in person. So elegantly chauffeured around, most destinations will be reached faster than with cars which tend to be stuck in traffic jams. The skilled drivers know a lot of short ways. However, it may happen that you are bound to lend a hand to cross an obstacle at a construction site.


Tanzania is a liberal country when it comes to the acceptance of different religious opinions. Believers of the great world religions live peacefully side by side. The belief in ancestors and other convictions are also tolerated.

bus terminas

For many people music is the purpose of life, at least it belongs inseparably to the way of life. Regardless that some cars are almost wrecks, they will surely have good music equipment.  Sometimes you get the impression that the car windows bend outside due to the massive sounds from the radio. Tanzanian music is melodious and swinging.

sunset in arusha

At the coastal region you will hear the typical TAARABA sound. Mzee Yusuf is one of the famous interpreters of this music style. It’s a style that is full of life.

Photography & Text:: Joel Lukhovi

Arusha, Moshi, Dodoma, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam


Hawo’s Portraiture

It’s not that I closed off my heart, it’s just that I’ve gotten so used.

Sometimes in my life, I have felt discarded. Left behind. At times, it would happen at what seemed to be the most inconvenient moment, when both my ego and heart really couldn’t sustain another setback or disappointment. Just when I was starting to “get it” or “figure it out” (we’re always “figuring things out” or “working on thing”), I would feel the sting of disappointment.


Well, I have figured something out once and for all, and I wanted to share it with you. It’s the realization that, just because we have lost our way or been displaced from what we’ve known in the past, we are just as loveable and just as whole. A great jacket sitting in a lost and found is still a great jacket. A great person having a tough time is still a great person.


“Sometimes a man gets worn thin, on the brink of a break of an almost-there win.”

When the storms of life would roll in on me, I would find myself trying not to collapse too far inward, which seemed lonely. But I also didn’t quite have the energy to take a confident next step to relieve my isolated feeling.

What I discovered while writing was renewed energy in the understanding that I was not alone. I was worthy, always had been, and was no less so just because I felt “lost.”

“You’d be surprised if you’d just look around. You’d find me, find me at the lost and found.“

betam konjo
Wherever the winds of your life may blow you, your true north is always inside you. Even when you’re lost.

Dedication to Safia

Photography :: Joe Lukhovi

Laba Street Art Fest

Its Kampala, Uganda and its the Laba!

laba street fest

The show was amazing and the people full of energy. I wanted to post this images while in Uganda, but time was not on my side with the tight schedule of events I had on me. Above all, the travel in Uganda was worth it and i cannot shy away to say and thank all the wonderful people that hosted me while in this beautiful country.


But here are some of the images I thought might interest you the viewers across all the corners of the world.

drum beating

With its motto “Open Studio”, the LaBa ArtsFestival ’s seventh edition aim was to give visitors the opportunity for a look behind the scenes, in the art making process. The process of artistic production is important here, not just the finished product.

face piercing

But the creative bunch of around 60 individual artists were merely not working while the others can watch them, but engaged the public in their projects, designed just for the day.

fashion parade

The organizers added the element of the fashion parade that attracted a huge crowd of participants including the above models who chose to include the dog in the parade. A lot of glamour and passion for fashion.

dancing up

These men choose to have an installation of the big balls moving up and down in the air as they kept moving. Its an art group from the region of Kampala. I basically tried to understand their installation but somehow i got lost. Above all, the group impressed the people who came over.


Her performance was full of energy and moved the crowd to the top. I wish i had a better way of elaborating this but the image will do the talking for me.

say whatShe marveled and charmed the crowd all the way from the start to the end. Uganda has got talent indeed and this was only happening at the Laba street art festival.

lets take a moment

The music stage featured newcomers and some of Uganda’s finest artists of various music genres, adding on to the general diversity of the festival – Mackinnon Road which remained closed for the rest of the day was both dream, glamour and dance.

reggae queen

Her name is Efi and she is full of wonders and passion for her artistic gift. She was the Mcee as well as a musician who is full of determination.

over her

I love this photo. Not for because some awesome moment at a concert. It’s just a clean, sharp picture and that was really hard to get at the greatly crowded place that rarely allowed me to move around at the venue.

the end
The end of the show came, hours after midnight and it was time for me to say goodbye. I hope to photograph the next Laba street art festival and am more than excited to all the wonderful people I got to interact with. Blessings

Photos: Joe Lukhovi

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Champion-Christ Cycoz

When I originally with this music trio, Christ Cycoz, years back, I really appreciated their humble personality, and I could also tell that they exactly knew what they were doing. My photo session expectations were already steaming up. The alternative hip hop gospel music trio known finally released their latest video for their single, Champion. The group is made up of Ben, Dambiz and KaGz, and was formed in late 2010 after they graduated from Upper Hill School.

christ cycoz_joe

Their latest track was written to bring to light the fact that at times “we”/people look at what we don’t have and let that thought hinder “us” from appreciating what we have. We are all champions in one way or the other. Christ has given us the victory we need. All we have to do is just look a little bit closer. “We hope the track opens every listener’s eyes so that they may realize that they are indeed champions,” the group says.

christ cycoz_lukhovi

As a group, CC of course have extremely diverse tastes in music and what they
strive to do in every jam, is to incorporate these different styles in their
music, giving each one a chance to express themselves without any hindrance. But the major goal that acts as the heart of the group, is to reach out and
minister to the young people in the society so that they can lead positive
lifestyles with God in the driver’s seat letting him take control of their

It was a great pleasure having a photo session with this amazing boy band in Nairobi.

Photography :: Joe Lukhovi

Location :: Pumwani Social Centre – Gikomba


The only constant thing in life, so they say, is change but will there come a time that the maasai manyattas or rather houses will be extinct and only be remembered in the books of history. I spent a couple of days with this particular community in a bid to learn who they are and how their way of living is.

The maasai traditional manyatta is constructed with such expertise that it does not leak even during the heaviest of rainfall despite the fact that its building materials are not water proof. The hut whose construction is done by women using mud, cow dung and ash is a sight to behold, especially when viewed from a distant when approaching the boma.

For this community, cattle is what makes the good life, and milk and meat are the best foods. Their old ideal was to live by their cattle alone – other foods they could get by exchange – but today they also need to grow crops. They move their herds from one place to another, so that the grass has a chance to grow again; traditionally, this is made possible by a communal land tenure system in which everyone in an area shares access to water and pasture.

There are those who visualize them ahead of elephants resting under tree shades to escape the hot scorching midday sun. Apparently this is just the main thing that happens. However, in the recent past many facts have come up to threaten the continuity of the maasai and the manyatta. Presently the maasai community has increasingly been forced to settle, and many take jobs in towns. Most of what used to be Maasai land has already been taken over, for private farms and ranches, government projects, wildlife parks or private hunting concessions. Mostly they retain only the driest and least fertile areas. Sadly, the bitter truth.

The stress this causes to their herds has often been aggravated by attempts made by the government in a move to ‘develop’ the maasai. These are based on the idea that they keep too much cattle for the land. However, they are in fact very efficient livestock producers and rarely have more animals more than they need or the land can carry. These ‘development’ efforts try to change their system of shared access to land.

While this has suited outsiders and some entrepreneurial Maasai who have been able to acquire land for themselves or sell it off, it has often denuded the soil and brought poverty to the majority of maasai, who are left with too little and only the worst land. Stereotypes are in demand, so as Maasai culture modernizes and evolves – partly as a result of tourists’ presence -, the manyattas root themselves in a romanticized past.

Photography :: Joe Lukhovi