Sunday, 23 September 2007

This Weekend's Profile...

Michael Nicholas Camera Man from Denmark
And...Why we cant live without Photographers

I just said Michael Nicholas is from Denmark, but he has only been there for a couple of years. I knew Michael when we were part of a fabulous teenage gang called the Gringos growing on the highlands of East Africa. Most kids stuck together because they came from similar ethnic roots or communities but we were different. We were sporty and adventurous. We came from sparse, varied backgrounds and none of us was similar to the other. Even the Spanish word “Gringos” which is used in Latin America for “foreigners” was not adopted consciously. We took it probably to assert our own special (teenage) world that we had created.

Michael was one of the very few mixed race kids at Ilboru Secondary School as such was subtly teased. All sorts of names were used to poke fun at mixed race youngsters: Coloureds. Machotara. Mulatos. Tshombe. Mzungu. Kaburu. Neither fish nor flesh. Half-castes. I find it appalling that today many people still apply this medieval, dinosaur word: Half-caste. The brilliant Guyanese poet John Agard asks in his poem “Halfcaste” whether when light and shadow mix in the sky it is a half caste weather.
Good question. It is the abhorring caste system in India which contributed to this terrible vocabulary that stems from the inhuman class system that is till prevalent there.

....In Gringos, Michael found safe haven, identity, heaven. In Gringos there was no discrimination. We loved fashion. Bell-bottoms. Fun and Girls. Motown. Soul music. The 1970’s. We danced to James Brown music; we were stylish and watched movies during weekends. We did well academically too.

Michael Nicholas was cool, always with something nice to say to folks; a female at his side, witty, intelligent.
I quote one of his poems to a lucky girl:
"It looks so smooth,
When you shake your hips,
With that move,
Makes me want, to prove,
That you are,
My lady..."

Fast forward 37 years later.
Working in ships, having travelled a lot, a father; in his spare time, the camera a formidable companion. Check out few samples from a large collection of unseen footage.



NeoAuteur said...

Great shots especially the zebra one!

Anonymous said...

Excellent snaps, learn from him Freddy and remove the mavi one you posted - I don't care whether it's an animal one or what - it's ugly and unpleasant to look at.

freddy macha said...

The mavi one? Are you spkn about "I dont care a damn attitude" posted 9th Sept? of dog stool on a street pavement? Yes.I agree with u. It is very unpleasant and i dont like looking at it myself. Thats why it is here. Read the article again, please.

Anonymous said...

du! mboma sikujuwa kuwa Mike ni Photographer from Denmark, naona promotion kali sana na naona unasisitiza kuhusu ubaguzi wa rangi wakati wa shule miake 37 iliyopita[sikuhizi wabomgo wanatumia maneno kama mapakacha , wazungu pori ,wazungu makamasi you name it it has not changed the way TZ people looks at rangi,