1869 HABITAT REVIEW 14(2) (2020) AFRICA Graffiti Artists in East Africa

The desire of people to leave their mark on walls has been around for thousands of years. Archaeologists
have found graffiti scratched on walls in the city of Pompeii as old as 1908. This paper looks at graffiti
designed by the East African graffiti artists and their works as an art and design form. It also sought to
establish how they have used graffiti as a social economic impact factor to change themselves and the
environment around them for the better. The study applied desktop and multiple case study research
methods and confined itself to the East African region. Newspaper articles, past interviews from online
documents and material from East African graffiti artists were main source of data. The paper discusses
graffiti artists; Jobray from Uganda, Rao from Rwanda, Moha from Kenya and the Wachata Collective
crew from Tanzania. The paper concluded that local East African graffiti artists have little diversification
in design business of interior and exterior that communicate ideas and aesthetics. Governments provide
inadequate support for graffiti spaces and merchandise thus minimizing work to thrive in the cities. Graffiti
artists are not given adequate respect, support and recognition of their art works. Graffiti has not been
used maximumly to create social awareness campaigns. The paper recommends that apprenticeship
programs should be supported and artists should come up with institutions, which can be able to document
techniques works and facilitate in teaching programs. Graffiti artists should use their work to inspire,
express and also speak truth to power. The pioneers of this art form are also called upon to dispense their
knowledge to the next generation. The paper also recommends that graffiti artists should develop their
own style, expression and inspirations to create identity and authenticity in their works. Further the artists
need support from their respective local governments, mentorship programmes and diversification of their
services and business.