Enja Ndonye and Stories from Uganda

It’s been a while since I have been to the theatre

The question then is who to blame. I am Kenyan therefore I get to blame the government. You ask how? Si the government is the people? So if I pick a person to blame I can as well say the government right? You see, the government is to blame.

Blames aside, I had my May dose of theatre at Alliance Francaise. Why I thought it was to be staged at KNT, and had to walk all the way across the University of Nairobi Bridge for a play I thought I was already late for is another blame we lay on the Government. Don’t ask how.

On Stage was “Enja Ndonye” a Fanaka Arts theatre production. The play scheduled to start at 3.00pm but started at 3:50 pm (another government blame) was produced by Warugu wa Ndung’u and directed by Chege Muthamaki.

Felister an old city council employee lives in Ngara with her daughter Kaecy. On this particular day before she leaves for work,  Felister gives the daughter a bashful on how ladies past class eight are already employed and assisting their families. The daughter Kaecy is taking up currently taking computer classes in town. As we come to learn, Kaecy’s friend and neighbor Bonyonte is responsible for half of Kaecy’s bashing from the mother.

In the desire to financially assist the mother, Kaecy decides to use their home as a brothel. The friend Bonyonte takes the secretary role and she cannot believe her luck. The friend offers the services while she gets a cut? Not a bad plan, not a bad pla!! The plan is solid, names have been changed to Sharlin mslim mcutest and bootylisious vanesssa. All is well save for the mother who keeps popping in having forgotten this or that.

The clients start milling in. First to arrive is a herbalist/witchdoctor by the title “Ndarling P is the name and Swagger is the game”. – I am barely keeping it together by now. I also need to point out that I don’t believe anyone else could have executed this part as excellent as Ndamberi did-. In anticipation of what is to come, Ndarling P takes more than a few pills (blue or not I dint get to see) to help in performance I believe. The pills reaction is unexpected as it keeps sending him to fits of seizures.  The seizures are random each having a different reaction than the previous and ends up with him falling down the stairs. The two ladies decide to play it cool now that the second customer has arrived. This is none other than general a constant character in all Fanaka Arts plays and a service policeman in this case. He is on a mission to investigate the fallen man but is derailed now that he has realized his place of investigation is a brothel. But si even police are made of blood? Being the cop he is, and their motto is ‘utumishi kwa wote’, he takes them on an offer of buy one get one free. For such an old man, he has enough energy for both girls clearly elaborated in the course of his act. To complete the set is arrival of a reporter. The reporter asks for a year’s offer of the brothel services to put a cap on the story. This is all agreed on and things ironed out but not before the mother drops the bombshell that the first client is the daughter’s father.

That brought a close to a play that was an excellent play in all elements. The veteran cast did what they do best. They delivered a fact that was corroborated by a friend and a friend that never became.

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As I type this I am sited deep in the Bundus in Uganda a place called Bugiri. Around here, small boys (note not girls) are walking around buck naked. Everything as free as how God placed had initially intended it to be. The women on the other hand kneel when addressing their men until told to rise. This is regardless of whether they have met in the middle of the road or it was raining and they are wearing their ‘once- white-now-a-shade-near-brown’ long skirts. Which makes me wonder, do these women ever raise a point of contention or fight (for the Nyeri women) with their men? On a serious note though, how do you handle a conflict with someone who is looking down upon you literally? The most interesting bit though was the school motto for most of the schools around the area “Education can’t wait but marriage can”.

As you were.

Wibari Nyu

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