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Photo shows damaged road section in South Africa, not Nairobi, Kenya

IN SHORT: A reverse image search of a photo of a badly cracked, imploded road reveals it was actually snapped in South Africa moments after a suspected underground gas explosion. It’s not of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. 

A photo posted on Facebook in July 2023 shows huge cracks in the surface of a busy city street. Many people are seen walking on both sides of the road.


Facebook users claimed the photo showed a damaged road in one of the busy streets in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. The photo was also posted on Twitter with the same claim (the platform Twitter was rebranded “X” in late July). 

One captioned it: “River Road Barbara imecrack”. This mix of English and Kiswahili translates as: “River Road has cracked.”

Someone else cautioned people to “avoid river road if u can”. 

River Road is one of the busiest streets in Nairobi. But is this photo from the capital? We checked.

Underground gas explosion in South Africa

A reverse image search of the photo reveals it shows the aftermath of a suspected underground gas explosion on 19 July 2023 in Bree Street, Johannesburg, in South Africa. Johannesburg is the largest city in the country and its economic hub. 

The photo was published by several news websites in the country.

The websites credited the photo to a Facebook user who published five other photos showing the aftermath of the explosion. The international media organisation Voice of America also featured a video of the same scene.

The photo is not of a street in Nairobi, Kenya.


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