What you need to know:
- The idea to do the Shujaa Stories was born from a previous internal project we were doing on prehistoric sites.
- While on the travels for this project, we got curious about the stories that we heard about the people that lived in different historical sites.
If you walk into the Creativity Gallery at the Nairobi National Museum on any day between now and the end of January 2019, you will get a chance to journey through precolonial Kenya.
Here, you will meet numerous historical figures from seven regions in the country: Central, Western, North Eastern, Coast, Eastern, Rift Valley and Nyanza.
Shujaa Stories, an illustrated exhibition of Kenyan Legends, is the work of two 25 year olds: Masidza Galavu and Jeff Muchina. The work is a project of their company, Tatu Creatives, “a creative company that provides innovative digital experiences across various industries.”
“The idea to do the Shujaa Stories was born from a previous internal project we were doing on prehistoric sites. While on the travels for this project, we got curious about the stories that we heard about the people that lived in different historical sites. Jeff and I started to conceptualise a creative exhibition on the legends that have existed, but who our history education teaches little about,” explains Masidza.
Tatu Creatives was officially registered in 2013.
HOW THE COMPANY CAME ABOUT
This is how the company came about: “While doing my CPA at Strathmore University in 2012, I was fascinated by the idea of a Google club, (a club that promotes the use of Google softwares, and which is present in most universities in Kenya.) so I joined, eventually becoming its club manager,” explains Masidza, adding,
“We had a media week at the school, usually held in September, and I decided to design a logo for the Google Day, which was part of the Media Week.
Jeff saw the logo and was captivated. He said we could grow something out of my design skills, that was how the idea of Tatu Creatives was born,” explains Masidza. Inspired by what he had seen his friend do, Jeff registered for graphic design classes at the Academy of Graphic Technologies, Nairobi, located along Mombasa Road, and they both tapped into their creative reserves to build their start-up.
“It is important to begin something while still in school because this gives you direction and a practical place to apply your book skills and pursue what is in line with what you really want to do with your skills and education,” Jeff says.
“All our projects have so far come to us through referrals. What happens is that we identify a target company, but before pitching, we research about not just the company, but also about the industry within which the company operates.”
They do this to identify areas where they can prefer solutions, broad solutions using their core services of brand development, website development, creative design and animation.
WORKED WITH A HOST OF CLIENTS
So far, Tatu Creatives has worked with a host of clients, including Strathmore University, Lupus Foundation of Kenya, Alkira, ICPAK, Mdundo, Parklands Sports Club and Machawood. The services they provide range from web design, branding, animation, creating logs and illustration.
Some of their projects are long-term while others are short-term depending on the amount of work required.
Some short-term projects may take just a day, while long-term ones, such as one they are currently working on, Rugano, a book in which they describe meeting the first shujaa, Muriu, as they debated on how to creatively present the book, has been running since 2016.
“The duration of a project depends on the kind of job it is, its scope, the clients, even payment,” says Masidza. Their office is at The Kobo Trust, on Riara Road.
The duo work for their company full time, and though they are yet to employ permanent staff, they often have several people on contract, besides those they hire to look into various aspects of their business such as accounting. Some of the challenges they face, like most startups, is financing.
“Shujaa Stories, (currently on exhibition at the Nairobi National Museum) took us a year to put together. We researched a lot to gather the information that we needed through methods such as word of mouth from the elders of the various communities we featured.
After that we approached the Nairobi National Museum to help us countercheck the facts. We also worked with Nature Kenya, who, thankfully, helped finance the exhibition. We came in as subcontractors to do illustrations for the exhibitions,” explains Jeff.
“Shujaa Stories is independent of Tatu Creatives, an entity on its own. We plan to grow it, bring more people on board and research and add more legends to the ones that we currently have.
I am sure that what we have on exhibition currently is not the exhaustive list of all legends that have existed in the country.
Eventually, we intend to open it up to the public as an educational project. And we wouldn’t mind sharing the space with other creatives.”