Thursday January 20th  2011, African Digital Art held its first ever event.  The #ADANairobi11 meet-up was a culmination of design professionals, creatives and students with a diverse range of talent and abilities.

The ADANairobi11 become the loud and resounding declaration that creativity is important in Africa! Creativity is an important component when it comes to innovation, technology, the economy and for social good.

The digital arena is growing and soon the demand to generate local digital content will push forward the industry as whole. How will we as creative professionals rise to the challenge? The #ADANairobi11 celebrated and challenged creative professionals to pursue their passion with vigilance, professionalism and respect.

Norman, a Kenyan student learning in Malaysia, noted the importance of a good design education. Strapping on a camera (film or photo) doesn’t mean your a director. He noted we have a culture of storytelling (writing, drawing & word of mouth) and now technology through animation & film have helped fuse / marry these platforms together. Normal also made not of supporting each other. The importance of getting together, knowing each other lies more importantly in encouraging each other.

Fady, creative director of the Ark, A Kenyan based creative interactive agency, gave a  much needed talk on how Africa would define  “what is good design”. Fady enthusiastically challenged Kenyan creatives to become even more professional fighting for credibility in your professional status. He added that its important for us to change the meaning of designer in Africa. Fady’s message was clear and simple “Do Good Work.. Don’t Let your Ideas expire.”


Mbithi Masya : Film Maker / Editor
Jim Chuchu : Photographer / Film Maker
Fady Rostom : Creative Director / Photographer
Kiboko Njoroge : Freelance Illustrator
Emmanuel Nyakwada aka Point Blank : Illustrator & Animator
Charles Ndungu: Designer & Animator
Hawa Essuman : Filmmaker
Rachel Gichinga : Media Activist/Filmmaker


Topics of Discussion

Design Education and Culture

Self Initiated Projects

Online Portfolios,


Funding for the Arts

Design/Film for Social good

The atmosphere was electric as the panel shared their experiences in the creative industry. Self taught designers postured some of their challenges as well as those who had formal training in design. Jim Chuchu and Mbithi shared their experience making the Kenyan viral sensation, Makmende as Kiboko shared how their work influenced his illustrations. There was a shared sentiment to foster better collaboration by supporting the creative community.

Rachel Gichinga passionately evoked the need for social responsibility amongst the creative community. She reminded us the importance of using our talents for collective good by sharing the example of her passion project, Kuweni Serious.


All in all the night set the tone for the rest of the year for the creative community in Kenya urging creatives to Connect, Share and Collaborate.

The conversation and discussion still continues join the newly formed Nairobi creative group – Sanaa Republic @sanaarepublic.  Join Nairobi creatives on February 1st for the first design critique session where we urge you to bring your work for critical review. Every 1st  Tuesday of the month Sanaa Republic will host a critique session and Every 3rd Tuesday of the Month it will host a meet up.


See you there.


Leave a comment
  1. Anonymous

    January 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Africa definitely rising… creatively so!

  2. Aehaynes24

    January 29, 2011 at 3:17 am

    The event definitely looks seems like it was a success. African digital art will find a larger audience within the diaspora. For example, ‘Soul Boy’ could be a hit here in Jamaica, regardless of the ‘language barrier’.

  3. Mutua Andrew

    January 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Great Stuff …Keep it up

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