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Society & Culture

THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER

CONTENTS The hidden story behind Chinas success 63 The last word on Management 64

The b o ok o glimpse in ers a to the psyche o f this Eas tern power, it s culture and the s tory beh ind the great Chinese economy .

BOOK RE

VIEW

LIFE TRAVEL RESTAURANT REVIEWS FILM & THEATRE ART MUSIC BOOK REVIEW

Hes seen the light


Heir to lighting empire settles in coastal town of Watamu and makes it big in photography
BY AAMERA JIWAJI

atteo Guzzinis speech is punctuated with pauses as he searches for the right words to express himself, whether it is in Italian, English or Swahili. He begins many of his sentences with Allora, a colloquial Italian word which means well .... And like many people new to the English language, he prefers the present tense I arrive, I take, I go which adds a sense of immediacy to his speech. But the challenges he experiences when trying to say something melt away when he communicates through his photographs. All of a sudden it doesnt matter that he is an Italian native who moved to Watamu three years ago, or that he doesnt speak uent English or Swahili. With his camera, he conveys the humility of the religion of Islam, the gracefulness of waves as they carve

a pattern on a bed of sand, and the wisdom etched into the face of a Maasai elder. Pauses, tenses and slang disappear in this intensely powerful moment of communication. Matteo Guzzini is one of the heirs to the iGuzzini family empire, a 50-year-old company that produces Europes most exclusively designed lights. He graduated from university and rst worked at a marketing agency in Italy, but had a passion for photography. A visit to Watamu in 2000 for a holiday with his family changed his fortunes and his future. Twelve years ago, Watamu was empty, says Matteo. There were only two lodges. After two days in Watamu, my family decided to buy a house here. For me, it was the realisation of a dream. As a young boy, he says, he would look lustily at pictures from National Geographic of Maasai Mara and Amboseli. Kenyas rich diverse landscapes brought to life his dreams

| Nairobi Business Monthly September

Society & Culture


This will be the rst book to show all the dierent Maasais: the ones from Ngorongoro, Lake Natron, Tanzania, Maasai Mara, Loitokitok and Samburu.

Italian born photographer Matteo Guzzini

Matteo Guzzinis photographs document the dierent Maasai groups in East Africa.

My passion has always been travel. I have visited the border of Ethiopia, Somalia, Tana River, Taveta, Busia, Mumias, Kakamega, Kisumu, Matteo says. It was his one-month long stay with the Maasai in Samburu and Maralal, and the photographs he took during this time, which gave birth to this second book.

in a way that Italys urban and rural settings never could. Matteos visions of Kenya stayed with him as he returned to Italy to trade on the European and North American stock exchanges. Some months later, global stock markets crashed and he realised he needed to distance himself from the emotions of the market, and its allure of haraka prot through hasty buy or sell decisions. In that moment I understood that to spend the time in front of the laptop and to see the stock market move was to lose time. Instead I preferred to stay away and look at the stock market kidogo, he says. Matteo restarted his life by moving to Kenya. Initially, he apprenticed for Armando Tanzini, an Italian artist based in Kenya for over 30 years. A renowned architect and sculptor, Tanzini had designed the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi and was known in coastal circles as the man who designed Malindi. Together, they published a book called P O Box Kenya Africa, which featured Matteos photographs of Tanzinis work. It was a stimulating start for me, says Matteo, and it oered direction to his passion for photography. The second book to carry Matteos work is an Italian publication entitled The Last

Warrior in Africa. It will be published by Skira, a leading Italian publisher of photography, followed by an exhibition of Matteos photography in Milan in January 2013 and in Nairobi in April or May. My passion has always been travel. I have visited the border of Ethiopia, Somalia, Tana River, Taveta, Busia, Mumias, Kakamega, Kisumu, Matteo says. It was his one-month long stay with the Maasai in Samburu and Maralal, and the photographs he took during this time, which gave birth to this second book. This will be the rst book to show all the dierent Maasais: the ones from Ngorongoro, Lake Natron, Tanzania, Maasai Mara, Loitokitok and Samburu. The national networks that Matteo has built in Kenya over three years have made him a port of call for Italian media. So earlier this year, when journalists from Italy wanted to do a documentary on the Al Shabaab and their activities in Lamu, Matteo arranged interviews with members of the Al Shabaab group. For the next phase of the documentary, they will visit the drought-stricken areas of Garissa, a conict-ridden border post. Parallel to his passion for photography, Matteo continues to follow the stock markets. Everyday I wait for news on what is happening in the market in Italy, or Spain or Greece or Germany. In the last months, I have spent a lot of time in front of the laptop
September Nairobi Business Monthly |

Society & Culture

to make trade because the markets, they go very fast up and down so if you take a good moment and you buy when they break some level you can nd money. In the same moment I dont make speculation for only one day or today. This is also the time to invest money in the stocks market because the prices are very down. Matteo says he invests in a basket of stocks but sees a lot of potential in nancials, and is focusing on a Russian hedge fund, which recently bought 70% of the stocks of Unicredit, one of the largest Italian banks. He sees clear parallels between his photography and his passion for stock trading: both demand patience, and quick action at the perfect moment. To take a picture you have to be very relaxed because sometimes you have only ve seconds, he says. You have to have a nice light on the face, on the eyes; you have to see the things that happen around you and if you are stressed you dont see nothing around you. You become selsh, you dont see the soul of what is happening.
| Nairobi Business Monthly September

Muslim children peer through a doorway in Lamu

He started taking photographs 15 years ago when he was 25, and gradually honed his skills. Today, he describes himself as a portrait photographer: a genre where you take the perfect moment when people show an emotion. In the photograph you describe the moment, he says. I want to be like a hunter. Someone who goes around with a gun, you weigh the moment and you shoot.

Matteo is well aware of the enormity of the decision and the great sacrice that it took when he chose life as a photographer over the Guzzini family empire. When you have a big business like my family which is worth Sh40 billion and you have 2,500 people working you have to be really professional and serious. You cant just go there to try and be a good manager. If you are in such an industry

BOOK REVIEW

Factory Girls
The hidden story behind Chinas Success
As a portrait photographer, he exercises a great deal of patience to capture the perfect moment.

Author: Leslie T Chang

About iGuzzini
he Guzzini family business has worked with light for over 50 years. A company that makes indoor lighting and outdoor lighting luminaries, it was established in 1959 and is now the leading Italian company in the lighting design sector. Since its inception, the company has focused on the idea that the quality of a designed light is fundamental to contributing to the quality of the environment and so its applications across the world are developed in collaboration with leading architects and designers, and known for their subtlety and elegance. As a result, the company has received numerous international design awards including the coveted Guggenheim

Prize. iGuzzinis designs illuminate the most popular locations in the world including Leicester Square in London, Cathedral of Resurrection in St Petersburg, Rolex tower in Dubai, and the Shirvanshahs in Azerbaijan. Their designs are also displayed at international museums, which trace the changing fortunes of the industry and the transition from copper to plastic casings. iGuzzini is a family business owned and managed by the Guzzini families who took over the business after the demise of its founder, Mariano Guzzini. It is the leading lighting company in Europe, and recently established subsidiary oces in Shanghai but it is yet to expand into Africa.

When you have a big business like my family which is worth Sh40 billion and you have 2,500 people working you have to be really professional and serious. You cant just go there to try and be a good manager. If you are in such an industry you have to work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, you have to put 2,000% in the industry.

you have to work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, you have to put 2,000% in the industry. At 40, Matteo is the youngest amongst his brothers and his 19 cousins, and the only one who has not been absorbed into the industry. Not all of us are born to be on the frontline, to be a manager, to sacrice all his life to the business. I was born free. I want freedom. I am like a bird, I like to y here, there. His parents had nurtured hope that Matteo would eventually return to the fold: My mother and father had a lot of dream for my future but I was not clear. So it was a very strong decision to go away and take my life and do what I wanted to do. In a characteristic shrug, Matteo shakes o any regrets and dicult memories from the past, and says, Allora, I know that here I can do something good for myself. Something good for the Kenyans who are my friends.

train trip from Hong Kong through Shenzhen, Dongguan to Qaungzhou doesnt reveal the factories adjacent to these cities and the people inside. These are industrial cities, like other coastal cities of China. Yet the people in the factories are the most important resource of Chinas success. And 70% are women, while over 95% are migrants from distant villages in interior China. And hundreds of items like shoes, handbags, beauty products, and materials which are today supplied to developing and developed world are created by these women. Author Leslie T Chang, an American of Chinese origin and a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, follows the lives of two ordinary girls in her book Factory Girls. Lu Qingmin and Wu Chunming grow up in the village; leave home in their mid teens partly because the boys are respected more than them and because there is nothing to do at home. Like 130 million others, they go to the cities to earn a living. They are an explanation of what China is today. Migrants create the economy of China, earning as little as 200 Yuan a month, (Sh2400). They learn English, Mandarin and basic computer courses which catapults them to success and save thousands and even millions of shillings in a few years. They send home over Sh80,000 a year and change their lives and those of their families. They soon call the shots back home. A few years later they begin to date, start a business, get married and even buy homes in the cities. The long-held dream of going back home and getting married to a local man fades. Factory Girls is about the self-improvement, ambition and resilience of the human spirit. Beyond that, the book oers a glimpse into the psyche of this Eastern power, its culture, and through the narratives of a group of women, the story behind the great Chinese economy. It is about the triumph of a disadvantaged people in a competitive world. Mr. Kipchumba is a Consultant with Quest Works and adjunct faculty at Strathmores Executive Education

September

Nairobi Business Monthly |