DW AngolaMapping the matatus of Nairobi

Mapping the matatus of Nairobi


Nairobi's matatu routes, as researched and compiled by a joint venture between Columbia and Nairobi University, Groupshot and MITA project, makes sense of the brightly coloured, seemingly anarchic minibuses that stitch the Kenyan capital together.

Matatu operators and owners – in interaction with their passengers – are Nairobi's invisible public transit planners. Nairobians have a complex relationship with this homegrown system: it elicits admiration – whole websites are devoted to matatu art and culture – but also anger, with frequent editorials in the papers about the "matatu menace". Nearly everyone agrees that it needs to be better regulated and planned. The question is how.