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Solomon Muyundo aka Solo7

When at the end of 2007, the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki was announced as the victor of the presidential elections in Kenya, and was immediately sworn in again, protests broke out in various regions of the country. The anger of the people was directed towards the ethnic group of the Kikuyu of which Kibaki is a member. When the artist Solomon Muyundo aka Solo7 witnessed how in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and one of the largest in Africa, houses and market stands were set on fire, he began writing “ODM – PEACE” with charcoal on walls, referring to the Orange Democratic Movement of Kibaki’s election rival Raila Odinga. The buildings which carried his writing were not harmed by any looting. When television cameras appeared the next day, he wrote slogans on walls and doors such as “KEEP PEACE, FELLOW KENYANS,” “PEACE WANTED ALIVE,” or “DON’T KILL INNOCENT KENYANS.” As the cameras were now directed towards him rather than the protesters, the arson and lootings stopped. Christian Hanussek documented these activities for the exhibition Friedensschauplätze in a series of photographs and with an interview. At once more and less than usual graffiti, Solo7’s initiative demonstrates that adaptable and appropriate actions in the public sphere with minimal resources can indeed have considerable effects.