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Monkey survives fall but triggers Nationwide Blackout in Kenya

The vervet monkey survived the fall and was turned over to Kenyan Wildlife Service, the KenGen company said

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A Vervet Monkey. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • A nationwide blackout was triggered in Kenya by the fall of a monkey on the transformer
  • The nationwide blackout that lasted for nearly three hours
  • The company is looking for different measures to enhance the security of the power plants

In an ill-fated incident that took place on Tuesday, June 7, a nationwide blackout was triggered in Kenya by the fall of a monkey.

The company, Kenya Electricity Generating Company  or KenGen, claims that a monkey of the Vervet species climbed onto the roof of the Gitaru Power Station. The monkey in question jumped off the roof of the power station, landing on the transformer.  The fall tripped the transformer, causing the other machines to trip on overload as well. It leaded to a loss of over 180MW.

The nationwide blackout that lasted for nearly three hours, proved detrimental for the businesses. There were some houses in Nairobi that complained of power loss even on Wednesday.

The company has posted the image in their Facebook page, KenGen Kenya about the incident with the image of the monkey.

kenGen building in Kenya. Image source: www.esi-africa.com
kenGen building in Kenya. Image source: www.esi-africa.com

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In a statement that KenGen issued, the company stated that this accident was an “isolated incident” that they deeply regretted. It also said that the power installations in the hydropower station are “ secured by electric fencing which keeps away marauding wild animals”.

The company stated that it is looking for different measures to enhance the security of the power plants.

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The vervet monkey survived the fall and was turned over to Kenyan Wildlife Service, the company said. It also uploaded a picture of the culprit on its facebook page.

KenGen is locally known for its high electricity costs. It claims that the system had been restored and is functioning to its normal capacity.

-By Devika Todi, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: devika_todi

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‘Everyday Africa’ Project to shatter African Stereotypes

Everyday Africa, an Instagram community of photographers who strive to capture ordinary moments of life, such as children picking flowers in a field, or girlfriends chatting at a coffee shop.

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Breaking stereotypes, one post on Instagram ,at a time. Pixabay
Breaking stereotypes, one post on Instagram ,at a time. Pixabay
  • ‘Everyday Africa’ is an Instagram project which aims at eliminating African stereotypes.
  • They photograph everyday life of common Africans to succeed in their initiative.
  •  With approximately 370,000 followers, it is one of the biggest visual libraries of a continent.

When schoolchildren in Washington, D.C., are asked to say the first thing that comes to mind about Africa, they use words like hot, desert, sand, poverty, hunger, war and Ebola.

These are all accurate things to say about that part of the world — but they reflect an “incomplete” picture, says writer Austin Merrill, who together with photojournalist Peter DiCampo has set out to document African reality beyond common stereotypes.

They are the founders of Everyday Africa, an Instagram community of photographers who strive to capture ordinary moments of life, such as children picking flowers in a field, or girlfriends chatting at a coffee shop. Their Instagram following has topped 370,000.

Africa is no more the poor country we think it is, it is time to break the stereotypes.
Africa is no more the poor country we think it is, it is time to break the stereotypes.

In addition to the Instagram feed, the book “Everyday Africa, 30 Photographers Re-Picturing the Continent,” recently hit bookstores in Europe, the United States and certain countries on the African continent. The book is filled with images documenting life in Africa that aim to shatter misconceptions often found in Western media.

Readers see a teenager rollerblading in the streets of Dakar, a DJ playing music in Lagos, a couple looking at the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town. The book displays the full diversity and visual richness of African life.

Both DiCampo and Merrill invited a diverse “community of photographers” from all over the continent to contribute to the Instagram project and the book. Some are professionals, while others are skilled amateurs.

Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste prologues the book in an essay focusing on the power of the ordinary. “We sometimes forget that no matter what is happening in our lives, ordinary moments find a way to move forward,” Mengiste writes.

Normality

Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill, both Americans, met while serving with the Peace Corps in Ivory Coast. In 2012, they received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington to cover the aftermath of Ivory Coast’s civil war.

While they were interviewing refugees and soldiers, Merrill remembers that around them “the vast majority of life was pretty normal, but that wasn’t coming through in the story that we were trying to put together.”

“We were seeing all these other moments, that were many sorts of truer to our daily life experience in that part of the world,” says DiCampo.

So, they took their cellphones and started to photograph what was around them. They felt, says Merrill, that the normal, everyday scenes of life “might be the most important thing we had to tell about that place, about that moment, instead of the crisis story.”

Media organizations tend to focus on breaking news, often triggered by an evolving crisis. Africa has many of those; but, as Di Campo puts it, “It’s quite difficult to have a global understanding when all you see of other parts of the world are really extreme stories.”

This is the gap that the “Everyday Africa” book is trying to fill; to look at the continent from the inside and from different perspectives.

DiCampo and Merrill, with the support of the Pulitzer Center, have also created media workshops that train elementary school students in the United States on how to document their lives and recognize stereotypes.

“We use the story of how we created Everyday Africa,” said DiCampo, “to engage the students in a discussion of how media representation affects them, their lives and their communities and we use our photography to teach basic photography lessons, so that by the end of the workshop, they have an everyday project for their own school or community.”

This social media model has hit a nerve. “The Everyday Africa platform on Instagram may very well be the biggest visual library of the continent,” writes Ghanaian photographer Nana Kofi Acquah.

“To task African photographers with the burden of changing how the continent is perceived, might be overwhelming,” writes Acquah; but, he adds, “a picture of the real Africa” is slowly emerging. VOA