Slum TV offers a critical take on media technologies and their ability to empower community.
It’s delicate when artists deal with marginalized communities. As hard as it is to establish trust, you have to be hypercritical of the way a project portrays the community so that it doesn’t rely on tired angles: the benevolent middle class portrayed as offering its drippings to the poor. Empowerment has to take precedence over “help”. This is where Slum TV comes in.
Created by artists from Africa and Europe, the mission is to develop a television network about slum culture and also produced by its inhabitants. In four years it has managed to sustain itself and create jobs for 16 to 20 people in Kenya. Disavowing the political requirements of NGO’s and the UN for such programming, the types of programs do not just focus on politicizing the living conditions (to Westerners’ horror) or documenting hardship/turmoil. It is equally rooted in producing dramas and documentaries.
All programming is made available to those living in the slums, and some videos are available for streaming off the link to the website. Below is a clip from its programming.