Mnyazi wa Menza a.k.a Mekatilili was a strong woman known for her fierceness and resistance of colonial rule in Kenya. This photography project represents her life in the Giriama region of Kenya where she lived from the1840s to 1924, according to local sources. In this reimagination, a fearless Mekatilili is pictured readying for battle, defying the age-long patriarchal norms in Kenyan (and generally, African) societies. Women were not known to be headstrong during that time, but Mekatilili could not be silent about the colonial oppression in her community.
For the past two years, I have been engaged in a personal project to collect firsthand accounts of the Nigerian Civil War (AKA Nigerian Biafran War or the Biafran War). I started this project because I wanted to learn more about this crucial moment of history, which affected my family and millions of others. I also wanted to allow the people who lived through it to speak and to have their words documented. The war began in 1967 and the ones with solid memories of it are at least 57 years old or so.