Kenyan photographer behind renegade grannies series chats Afrofuturism

For Osborne Macharia, Afrofuturism is about recreating a different Africa based on fantasy, fiction and history.

Speaking after a Design Indaba presentation, photographer Osborne Macharia says that storytelling, whether through fashion or images, has the ability to change perceptions. 

“It’s about recreating a different Africa based on fantasy and fiction and our history and trying to project what the future will look like in a more engaging and positive way,” he says, speaking of his photographic work.

With his fictional photo series Magadi, Macharia transforms ordinary women into fearless fashion mentors. Through imagination and creativity, Macharia writes against the negative media narrative about traditional African women who practise genital mutilation. The women in his series, who are former circumcisers, abandon traditional practices and look to fashion as an alternative. 

The result is rich imagery of bright colours and rich textures set on a background of dry landscapes while the old women, in their glory, bring everything to life.

View more images and the music video for Blinky Bill's "ATIE", featuring Macharia's Afrofuturistic characters – the League Of Extraordinary Supergrans.

Watch the Talk with Osborne Macharia