Tawanda Kanhema

Tawanda Kanhema (born 1980/1981)[1] is a Zimbabwean photographer and product manager. He helped map 500 miles of Zimbabwe for Google Street View as a volunteer.

Tawanda Kanhema
A picture of Tawanda Kanhema, looking to the left of the picture
Kanhema in 2019
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
OccupationProduct Manager, Photographer

Early life and educationEdit

Tawanda Kanhema is from the city of Harare, Zimbabwe.[2] He studied documentary film-making and journalism at University of California, Berkeley.[1]


As of 2019, Kanhema was a product manager in Silicon Valley[3]. In 2009, he noticed that Zimbabwe was not represented on Google Street View.[4] He subsequently volunteered to carry the Street View gear across 2,000 mi (3,200 km) of Zimbabwe so that it would be more complete and representative.[2] He captured images in Zimbabwe via helicopter, speedboat, bicycling, car, and hiking[5]. Ultimately, about 500 mi (800 km) of his travels across the country were uploaded to the Street View platform.[1] Kanhema acted as a volunteer for Google for this project, spending US$5,000 of his own money to travel and take the pictures for Street View. In March 2019, he was paid by the Mushkegowuk Council of northern Ontario to document the ice roads connecting their villages for Street View.[2] Kanhema views his efforts as part of a wider effort to make Zimbabwe more attractive and accessible to tourists.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2009, Kanhema moved from Zimbabwe to the US. He lived in Berkeley, California as of 2019.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Low, Aloysius (24 December 2018). "This man spent $5,000 of his own money to put Zimbabwe on Street View". CNet. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Weiner, Chloee (22 September 2019). "He's Trying To Fill In The Gaps On Google Street View — Starting With Zimbabwe". NPR. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  3. ^ Dörries, Bernd (4 October 2019). "Profile: Tawanda Kanhema. Der Mann aus Simbabwe erschafft ein neues Bild von Afrika". Süeddeutsche Zeitung. Süeddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  4. ^ Thorbecke, Catherine (29 September 2019). "Google Street View has vast unmapped spaces. These volunteers are trying to fill in the blanks". ABC News. ABC. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  5. ^ Nasman, Carl. "Making every country in Africa locatable". DW News. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  6. ^ Solly, Meilan (24 September 2019). "Meet the Photographer Single-Handedly Putting Zimbabwe on Google Street View". Smithsonian. Retrieved 24 September 2019.