Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Kenya at 50: Stunning photos celebrate country's culture

By Teo Kermeliotis, for CNN
updated 7:05 AM EST, Thu December 12, 2013
A photography competition is celebrating Kenya's 50th year of independence from British rule.<!-- -->
</br>Kelvin Shani said of his image capturing a sunset at the Rift Valley: "It was photographed at the viewpoint on the way to Mai Mahiu. I see it as a very welcoming picture showcasing the raw beauty of Kenya with its vast landscapes." A photography competition is celebrating Kenya's 50th year of independence from British rule.
Kelvin Shani said of his image capturing a sunset at the Rift Valley: "It was photographed at the viewpoint on the way to Mai Mahiu. I see it as a very welcoming picture showcasing the raw beauty of Kenya with its vast landscapes."
HIDE CAPTION
Sunset at the Rift Valley
Maasai Portrait
Boatmen
The tusks of Mombasa
90 decades in the 254
Mt. Longonot
Aerial view of Machakos Bus Station
Maasai Herdsman
Mwea Irrigation
Gorgeous
Construction Workers
Kenya's World Beaters
Kenya Flag
Lines in the Sky
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kenya celebrates its 50th year of independence from British rule
  • A photography competition celebrated the country's heritage and history
  • Outstanding images show people or places with historical and cultural significance

(CNN) -- Turning 50 is a major milestone in a person's life -- and a country's history.

Kenya celebrates Thursday its Golden Jubilee year following 50 years of independence from British rule.

To commemorate the event, Nairobi-based photographer Mutua Matheka teamed up with Samsung last month to launch Picha Hamsini, a photo contest celebrating the East African country's heritage from past to present. They asked photography enthusiasts from across Kenya to submit images of people or places with historical and cultural significance and explain why these were relevant to them or the country.

"The goal of the contest was to see and show Kenya from the eyes of Kenyans," says Matheka. "(To) use images to celebrate our country and get people involved in that celebration. We have a lot we are not happy about as a country, but I believe we also have a lot to celebrate and I feel photography is usually a tool to further and foster that."

The goal of the contest was to see and show Kenya from the eyes of Kenyans.
Mutua Matheka, photographer

Read this: Africa's most exciting new photographers

The organizers received more than 2,000 images submitted via Facebook, Twitter and Istagram. In the end, the 25 best were selected and featured in a street exhibition in the center of the Kenyan capital, alongside some of Matheka's photos.

"The images we received were fantastic," says Matheka. "Some celebrated people, others celebrated our activities, others celebrated beautiful places," he adds. "The winners were mostly amateur photographers."

With celebrations underway across Kenya, many believe that this is also a time to look back and learn from the mistakes of the past.

Read this: Kenyan yoga strikes a pose

Matheka says the overriding message of the celebrations is that "we have moved quite a distance in democracy, value of life, ability to make a living in this country from 50 years back to now."

He adds: "A lot has changed for the better and a lot has changed for the worse too. I celebrate the progress and keep track of it so that for the next 50 years we try to avert from the former mistakes and progress as a nation."

Click through our gallery above to check out some of the competition's best photographs.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:57 AM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
Vintage helicopters, ziplines, private flying safaris offer new, spectacular views of wildlife and rugged terrain.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Photojournalist Daniella Zalcman asked Uganda's religious leaders their views on homosexuality. Their answers might surprise you.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
In Africa, royalty is an endangered species. Meet the man on a mission to photograph the last remaining kings and queens.
updated 6:35 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Getty photographer John Moore captured the spirit of those who survived the epidemic
updated 1:26 PM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Nazis, bomb raids, and a mysterious man with a mustache. The search for the spinosaurus reads like a spy novel.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Can a rat be a hero? It can if it saves lives. Meet the giant rats that sniff out landmines and TB
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
In Africa, royalty is an endangered species. Meet the man on a mission to photograph the last remaining kings and queens.
updated 7:10 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Can state-of-the art schools in rural Africa rescue the environment? One charity is betting on it.
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
To save the rhinos, one charity is moving them out of South Africa, where poaching is at an all time high.
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
mediterranean monk seal
Many of Africa's animals are facing extinction. Is it too late for them? Our interactive looks at the many challenges to survival.
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
No one knows what causes "fairy circles" in Namibia's desert. A new study, however, may have solved the mystery.
updated 6:54 AM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
A picture shows the Rwenzori mountain range on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo on March 8, 2014. At 5,109 metres (16,763 feet), Mount Stanley's jagged peak is the third highest mountain in Africa, topped only by Mount Kenya and Tanzania's iconic Kilimanjaro.
The 'African Alps' are melting, and it may be too late. Now may be your last chance to see the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
One company thinks so. They're investing in insect farms in Ghana and Kenya. Could bugs build an industry and curb malnutrition?
updated 6:20 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Morocco is famous for its historic cities and rugged landscape. But it's becoming known as a surfer's paradise.
updated 5:27 AM EST, Thu March 6, 2014
A photographer took to an ultra-light aircraft to capture Botswana's savannah from above. The results are amazing.
updated 6:16 AM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
Makoko Floating School
A new wave of African architects are creating remarkable buildings in the continent, and beyond.
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
A huge spiral in the Sahara had Google Earth users baffled by what it could be. So what exactly is it?
Each week Inside Africa highlights the true diversity of the continent as seen through the mediums of art, music, travel and literature.
ADVERTISEMENT