Mohammed Ali- The fingers behind Moha Graphix
Moha is a TB advocate in the matatu industry.
His easy going, humble and passionate personality is what first strikes my attention upon meeting Mohammed Ali. Moha Graphix, as he is popularly known, is a car graffiti creator operating in Nairobi. After a brief wait at his garage located in Eastleigh Estate, Moha arrived warmly dressed in what seemed like several layers of clothing and greeted my colleague and I before proceeding to apologize for keeping us waiting. It is clear that his is a busy schedule as he simultaneously moves to finish up a drawing while we proceed with the interview.
Before venturing into the field of art, Moha was a salesman. Rather than perform his sales duties, which he admits he was not really good at, every time he was sent out to the field to sell, he would sit at the bus stop and derive inspiration from paintings and drawings on people’s clothing. Instead of having his diary filled with clients’ contacts and appointments, Moha filled it with drawings that he had created.
A World of Art
His journey into professional art began when his supervisor approached him and asked for his diary so as to monitor his sales progress only to find it filled with art. Surprisingly, his supervisor encouraged him to venture into art, which as depicted in his diary, was his passion. He quit his job and started visiting garages to see how professional matatu graffiti was done. This was his turning point as he eventually got a few jobs and admits that his first clients were not very satisfied since he was still an amateur. However, that did not discourage him. Upon learning the ropes of the business, he set up his garage in 2003 and has been working there since. His hard work and determination has made him a household name in the world of graffiti.
On Tuberculosis (TB) and Advocacy
His first interaction with people affected and infected by TB was during the world TB day 2016 when he designed a mural for the Stop TB Partnership- Kenya. People signed their pledges on the mural to help in the fight against TB in the country using the slogan, “Mulika TB, Maliza TB”.
Moha plans to advocate and raise awareness on TB using the various tools he has at his disposal such as his influence in the matatu industry and various mentorship programs he is involved in with the youth and in schools.
With over 20 years experience in the industry, Moha considers himself a people-person and he adds that this is a great advantage in his mission since he can relate well with everyone he meets.
One of the major ways that Moha plans to contribute towards advocacy efforts and generating awareness on TB is through the branding of matatus with generic messages on TB that will encourage people to prevent the transmission of TB by ensuring the matatus are well ventilated and that passengers look out for TB symptoms and immediately get tested.
His final message to everyone is that prevention is better than cure and people should take care of themselves because good health contributes to the development of a society.