Why I called this film "Matatu Express"

Originally published as a blog entry entitled "The Mayhem of Matatus" by Colm Hogan on Jan. 23, 2010

Although the title of the doc is Matatu Express, and some of the photos I've been taking recently are of matatus, the film is not specifically about matatus. It remains a film about slum life in Kibera. An explanation is probably called for. In Kenya the main source of transportation for economically challenged Kenyans is the matatu. They are both cheap and plentiful. With names like "Jagged Edge" they recklessly crisscross the roads in Nairobi, breaking every rule imaginable, and sometimes inventing new rules you never thought could be broken. Many of them are colourfully decked or "pimped" out. They drive like maniacs and the police can hardly contain or control them despite new rules implemented about a year ago.

But as much as they frustrate, antagonize and often endanger other motorists, you can't help but feel they symbolize the unpredictable, dangerous and chaotic energy of Kenya. They are the conduit that connects the country together, and if that means breaking a few rules along the way, then so be it. That's why when I tried to think of a title that was synonymous with the spirit of Nairobi and the essence of Kenya, I had to look at the matatu.
Besides, it sounds kind of cool.

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