In the past, “geek culture” has been victim of negative stereotypes or generalization; geeks were often synonymous with nerds (overly intellectual but socially awkward). Today, while they are overly intellectual, “geek culture” is not eccentric. Instead it has been technologically driven and is becoming part of pop culture. Startups, gaming, comics, video game development, cosplay, animation, etc. These are all forms of mainstream entertainment, careers, hobbies or interests that people heavily invest in. Why do we even care? Geek culture isn’t only happening abroad but also right in our own backyard in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nairobi Comic Con (NAICCON) is a gathering of East Africa’s comic and animation enthusiast, video game developers and gamers, and cosplayers; anyone who had an interest or passion for geek culture felt at home. NAICCON started in 2014 by a team of three who couldn’t make it to SDCC. “Let’s try to build our own and push our own content, and have fun while we do it” said Thomas Imboywa, Naiccon organizer. Since its inception, not only has NAICCON has become a platform for local artists to express their work and talents but also for the community to immerse themselves in the culture.
This year, NAICCON took place at Sarit Center (Westlands, Nairobi) from July 29-30. The two-day event comprised of exhibitions, sale of merchandise, video game tournaments, a Lan party, and of course a chance for cosplayers to show off their best creations. What sets NAICCON apart from any other form of exhibitions in Kenya is its focus on millennial interests (comics, gaming, and digital). There was an opportunity to experience Virtual Reality (VR), Asus Republic of Gamers was also present to showcase its hardcore hardware, gamers participated in Call of Duty game tournaments, and there were a lot of exhibitions. To sum it up, there was something for everyone.
NAICCON has grown tremendously in the last three years, bridging talent from all over East Africa. This year exhibitors from South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt, and Ethiopia traveled to Kenya to promote their work. Needless to say, NAICCON has grown and will only get better and bigger.