18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Boda Boda Helmets

Boda boda drivers, or motorcycle taxis, are a common site in East Africa's cities. They are famous - or perhaps notorious - for being fast, dangerous, and absolutely essential for getting their passengers through traffic jams and where they need to be on time. They have become one of the region's biggest killers, with some hospitals having entire wings dedicated to their crash victims. As a result the profession attracts young men, often from poor backgrounds, who have formed a unique biker culture as a result. Boda Boda is a typology of these motorcyclist's helmets, each of which tells their driver's story through the multiple dents, cracks, repairs, and sometimes even unique designs used in order to attract customers and win out over the competition.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 05.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Copyright: © Tobin Jones