Life inside a Nairobi slum is tough. The living conditions are well-documented: they will put your survival skills to test and sometimes crush the will to live.
The biting poverty and the squalor that people are forced to endure will break many and set them on the path to destruction and despondency.
That is why a film depicting slum life is expected to be accompanied by a fair amount of gratuitous violence and a mishmash of other social vices.
And Jongo Love, a Kenyan movie that was shot entirely using a mobile phone, serves this up.
The movie opens with the main character, Bea, fleeing through the streets of Kisumu town with two goons in hot pursuit of her.
This comes after a plan by Bea’s mother to sell her into prostitution fails when the businessman who ‘bought’ her unexpectedly dies shortly after they meet.
As she runs, Bea grabs the businessman’s phone but as it turns out, the phone has a video implicating some powerful people and they will do everything to recover it.
Bea flees Kisumu in search of the only person who can help her and ends up in Nairobi’s Jongo slums. She has no idea that the people seeking the phone are right in the slums.
This is how the phone also becomes one of the main characters in the movie, as its producer, Paul Ekuru, told NTV last year.
Jongo Love does not sweep realities of slum life under the carpet. It acknowledges the social issues faced by young people in informal settlements. But its main premise is to show that despite our surroundings, life is all about making the right choices.
The film is essentially a safe sex campaign, but by mixing varied themes it manages to craft an exciting storyline that keeps viewers entertained for one hour and 39 minutes.
Two of the characters are young single mothers whose boyfriends vanished the moment they heard they were pregnant. One of them has taken to prostitution to feed her baby, while another has started a small business.
A third girl is in the early stages of pregnancy because she did take her emergency pills as prescribed and has informed his boyfriend, who happens to be Bea’s cousin, that nothing short of an abortion will do.
Jongo Love is a film about is love and deliverance – deliverance from both our enemies and ourselves.
What is more impressive is that although the film was shot entirely using a smart phone, it does not take away the breathtaking cinematography at play.
Jongo Love was produced by A Well Told Story and is available to watch for free on YouTube. It has also been has distributed on DVD to over a thousand video halls across Kenya.
The full movie is available on YouTube and you can check it out below: