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Aika, the Photographer.

Aika Kimaro is a young talented photojournalist in Tanzania. In February 2019 she was the winner of the jury award of the national World Press Photo contest, winning a 5,000 Euro empowerment grant to work with the Voice grantees around the country to feature inclusion and diversity in action. This International Women’s Day, Voice caught up with Aika for a one on one chat, to find out more about her.

Who is Aika?

I am called Aika Kimaro. I am a Tanzanian woman born in Mbeya District of Mbarali 30 years ago. I studied at the Times School of Journalism (TSJ) and at Kanisa la Kiinjili la Kilutheri Tanzania Tumaini, both in Dar Es Salaam for a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication.

Why photography?

I was propelled to study photography while in college. This was however not my first choice as I had wanted to study journalism. I wanted to be a TV presenter. In my second year after a series of interviews with our teachers and college leaders, I was chosen to further my studies under TV broadcasting. Little did I know this was to be changed to a photography major. Needless to say, I was angry. I fought to get back to my broadcasting major but this was not to be so. After this, I decided to embrace photography, and my results paid off in my final exams. I did so well that I received a camera as a gift from my teachers, further fueling my love for photography. in 2012, I became the official photographer for Mwananchi Communications Limited that publishes the Mwananchi magazine, the Citizen and the Attorney in Tanzania. I worked here for 3 years until I joined
 Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) 

What is your proudest photograph?

I’ve taken a lot of pictures but the ones I am proud of are the ones I took of a man who was using drugs. These pictures I took as part of my last exam and I’m very happy because the man is now a  Community Health Worker in Temeke, Dar Es Salaam. He encourages young people to stop using drugs. His transformation is really inspiring.

What made you join the Voice Uhuru picha competition?

It was suggested by various friends including my boss and some family members.  I was not very confident and I was afraid I would not win because I have never competed in a photography contest before.

How did you feel when you won?

Wawawa! It was really out of the blue! I was in so much shock that I became sweaty! I was very nervous and surprised when I heard that I was the winner. I could not believe it, since I was competing with people who have more experience in photography and have dealt with so many issues in the country and in the world. This victory has helped me to build confidence in my work and in my life and made me known in various places.

As a photographer what challenges do you face ?

The main challenge is the lack of confidence in women within this profession. If there is a media assignment, a woman would not be the first choice to go and cover. Most people are afraid that women cannot objectively cover events.  People are not confident of women photographers and as a result some women turn their back on photography.

Working with the Voice grant that you won, what will you enjoy the most?

I’m excited about going to new places and meeting the grantees and people that I’m going to photograph. I am also going to buy better equipment as a souvenir from this award. I look forward to creating more new friends

What would you tell young girls who want to do photography?

What I would tell them is to not be afraid. It is a rewarding job that is also fun. Although it requires a lot of thinking, it is also easy to manage. It’s important to also study photography and learn from great photographers in the world. If you are passionate about photography you will be able to overcome all the challenges that exist just like in any other field.

Aika’s work is featured in various social media platforms.
Facebook: My-Eye2012
Twitter: @kimaroieca
Instagram: my_eye3358

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