By Mukudzei Chingwere
Zimbabwean journalist Tawanda Kanhema is revelling in the glory of his global digital footprint that has seen him contributing 2000 miles of Zimbabwe to Google Maps.
Google Maps – is a digital navigation tool platform, which offers aerial photography and route planning for traveling by foot and any other means of transport.
Zimbabwe was completely absent from google street view and Kanhema used the power of photography to put the country on the maps.
He invoked his own experience of the challenges faced in navigating Zimbabwe and set out on an audacious attempt.
In an interview with Ashley Bellman of nbcnewyork.com, Photographer Tawanda Kanhema takes us through his journey of putting the country on google maps.
‘’When I began, back in 2016 I have been in the States for about eight years and I was going back to Zimbabwe maybe once a year, so the one thing that struck me going back and forth is the dramatic discrepancies in digital platform, the kind of technology people used when getting around.’’
“That discrepancy was probably most described in mapping technology, like estimate how long it will take you getting from point A to point B and being in Africa I have always thought that estimate is so inaccurate. So I was looking for something that I can do improve that.
“That processes took me about two years but the actual mapping on the ground took me 14 days,” he said.
Kanhema talks of the importance of these digital platforms which he says connects the marginalised communities to the rest of the world.
“It feels amazing that people are actually using these maps, I see maps as a proxy for what we care about, places, place names, we are thinking about communities that have been left in these platforms, we are thinking of connecting these communities to the rest of the world.” The Herald