Photographer Osborne Macharia has created a fictional underground fight club in downtown Nairobi, Kenya. In a warehouse somewhere in the capital, blood, sweat and tears are expended in the pursuit of glory by fighters exclusively of a short stature.
Characters include veteran fighter Mangalitos, who stands at 4.5 feet and is a titan of the fight scene. Gracing the ring for longer than anyone else, he's the only warrior to lay claim to every championship title available, winning crowns with his finishing move, the Spinning Back Ng'oto.
Reigning champion Dudus uses her sling shot to take down opponents in high stake contests, organized by shadowy figures that even the fighters themselves do not know the names of.
Mrefu first entered the ring when he was five and never looked back. With immersive back stories and high production values, it's easy to forget Macharia's photography is in fact a fiction, created in collaboration with a team of production designers, makeup artists and costume designers, alongside subjects affiliated to the Short Stature Society of Kenya.
Osborne's other creations include the Kabangu, Kenya's hip hop grandpas. Having started their careers in the 80s, these fictional mentors teach would-be rising stars the important values in life, such as upholding peace, equality, prosperity and social justice.
Security guards by night, hip hop heads by day, the band live in Kariobangi -- Nairobi's informal settlements. An enthusiastic group of hip hop aficionados, they meet regularly to educate and mentor young upcoming talent.
The group had remained in relative obscurity until recently -- perhaps because they never existed. Kabangu are the fictional creations of Macharia and stylist Kevin Abraham. The bands nonexistence has not limited them gathering over half a million views online. Some followers believed the group were real.
"It's a way of telling our stories, in our own different kind of way", says Osborne Macharia. "I think for so long Africa has been known to be a continent of war, poverty, disease, famine and so on. Sometimes when we actually travel outside and show images of back home people are always shocked and say that's not what I know about Africa from what I see in the media" he explains, adding it's "just to show people that yes we have our own issues but there is more to it, there is beauty, there is life and positive energy, there is fun".
The artists imagine rich backstories for his characters. Kenya's league of extravagant grannies -- another fictional ensemble -- were once corporate and government leaders in the 1970's but are now retired. They live the high life traveling to exotic and remote areas within Africa to explore, party and enjoy themselves in exclusivity.
Mrs. Kamau Njuguna is a former governor of the central bank of Kenya (1980-1985). Many online believed the grandmothers were real, some posting that they wanted to meet them and that the women's efforts had given them "life goals."
Mau Mau were guerilla fighters during Kenya's struggle for independence. Macharia and Abraham created an editorial series focused on them, where they became an elite group of freedom fighting opticians. In Kikuyu -- one of the main languages in Kenya -- Macicio translates to spectacles.
Karanja 'the mole' Jere normally operates underground with his modified underground breathing suite. His hair is designed to appear like a rodent burrowing through the soil and his spectacles are telescopic, able to see close to one kilometer away.
Nyakundi is a communications expert and voice imitator. He uses the knobs attached to the mouth piece on his spectacles to imitate five different animals using code language.