Nairobi’s minibus taxis, known as matatus, are renowned for their graffiti-style artwork – but they also play a big part in the city’s music scene.
The three million people who live in Nairobi use matatus to get around, but they are more than just buses, they are a cultural phenomenon. Their garish decorations and blaring music celebrate whatever is hip and current. The buses are decorated with whoever is popular – Obama, Jesus, P Diddy, and lately the Kenyan band Sauti Sol. If your face is painted on a matatu, you’ve made it.
The buses that fill up the quickest are the ones with the brightest artwork, the most likeable drivers, the nicest-looking conductors – and the best tunes. If there is a really good mix in the matatu, people are dancing in their seats. And because the music attracts more customers, they fill up and get to their destination sooner.
Below are the best matatus with the coolest graffiti in Nairobi town.