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Monday, April 22, 2013

Who Is Afraid Of Shackles of Doom?

A scene from the controversial Butere Girls play.

The Kenyan education system is cr**. If you doubt this just look at the comments on Facebook on any given day. With all the emotions flying around after the elections instead of people venting with their creativity the vast majority choose the easy lazy way of being abusive.

Even our institutions of higher learning always reward students who are best at surfing the web and cutting and pasting, those will always score much higher marks than those who seek to produce a thesis that is completely original. I guess it also has a lot to do with the times we live in where we are all rushing for Chinese copy cat spin offs instead of the original even when the price difference is just a few hundred shillings.

Naturally this education system is what has produced some of the characters in decision making positions today who go round banning plays or stopping their live broadcast. Folks whose idea of national healing is for people to shut up and take what is coming to them. Genuine protest today in Kenya is hate speech at best criminal at worst. We should go ahead and ban all mirrors in Kenya while we are at it because any great play, novel or work of art that will now be quickly banned for the sake of national healing will tend to mirror the Kenyan society today.

Well some lasses from Butere girls school have just opened the window wide and allowed lots of fresh air into the room. The reaction from Kenyans has been instant. Their play “Shackles of Doom” is a runaway hit. Everybody is talking about it and everybody wants to see it. Some Kenyans don’t agree and are livid that anybody would even want to discuss the play because it is against Kikuyus and we want national healing. I really get sick at how idiotic and simplistic most Kenyans are. At this rate we will be a banana republic well into the year 3000 and beyond.

Butere Girls have demonstrated what should be obvious to those who care to study a little history. That the pen will always be mightier than the sword and that creativity will get a message across a lot more effectively than writing abusive comments on social media. The play was “banned” (I am not sure what this means in today’s Kenya) and needed a court order to be performed in Mombasa yesterday at the national school drama festival.

Shackles of Doom is a play that depicts the production of a film in Kanas, an impoverished country with large unexploited oil reserves. The people of Kanas refer to themselves as the True Kanas and they languish in poverty unaware of the riches that flow in the ground beneath their feet.

Lopush who is a True Kana is in search of a bride and his prayers are answered when a delegation from a neighboring country arrives in Kana and offers him a beautiful lady, Wamaitha, to be his wife. The delegation asks for the True Kana’s land as bride price and promises to build them an oil refinery to foster the relationship between the two countries. What Lopush does not know is that his bride is 3 weeks pregnant and Kimani, who claims to be her guardian, is the father.

The oil refinery is constructed and during the hiring process, none of the the True Kanas clinch administrative positions. Kimani is appointed the CEO of the refinery and the highest ranked True Kana in the refinery is a security guard.

On the eve of Lopush and Wamaitha’s wedding, Kimani has an order of 600 barrels of oil and orders all the factory employees to work the day and night shifts to fulfill the order. Lopush is not spared either and is forced to work as the security guard.

The employees are hard at work when Kimani sneaks away to Lopush’s house and tries to talk Wamaitha into having sex with him before she is married off and an argument ensues between the two.

Lopush defies Kimani’s orders and leaves the refinery before dawn to prepare for his wedding and walks in on Kimani and Wamaitha.

Wamaitha is at pains to prove that she did not fornicate with Kimani. A crowd gathers and just as they were about to descend on Kimani, news of a fire at the oil refinery reaches them. Lopush had left with the keys to the installation and he is needed to aid in the evacuation process. The villagers rush to scene of the accident only to find that the whole refinery and its occupants had burned to the ground. A “technical glitch” is blamed for the horrific accident.

“CUT” yells the film director, signifying the end of the shooting. A cast member points out that the film has no credible resolution. Her suggestion is an ending where all communities at peace, there is harmony, truth, justice and equitable distribution of resources. The cameras are still rolling as the cast member makes her plea but in full glare of the camera the director declares his resolution was credible!

Very, very powerful message. Can you dare discuss the important message in this play without being offensive? Chances are that your schooling and exposure cannot allow you to. Poor you its' not your fault is it?

Harsh comment with praises for Kumekucha?

MEANWHILE Yesterday somebody left an interesting comment on one of my Facebook pages. It had kind words for my latest book Mystery Monday but very harsh words for me. You can post your comment below on what your views are on this again your schooling will come out very clearly and I will dish out awards later;

Before I read this book I hated Kumekucha with a passion and I have disagreed with most of his crazy diarrhea that he calls posts in his blog. This book is different. I read it at work and did nothing that whole day. I just couldn't stop reading it. This guy has insights into the way Kenya works and most of the burning questions I had about those strange presidential elections were answered in this very revealing read. Best political book I have read in a very very long time. I really hesitated before writing this comment because Chris Kumekucha is an erratic blogger and my deepest fear is that this honest view from my heart will go into his head and he will disappear once again from the blog as he frequently does which would be a disaster at a time when our mainstream media is so shallow and biased. Prove me wrong Chris.
- Biashara Daktari -  (visit THIS PAGE  on Facebook to see the comment)


Yvonne Olga said...

"This is all that my schooling and exposure can allow me to say"... You're an amazing writer, I admire the fact that you're a free-thinker. Kenya needs more people like you :)

Mwarang'ethe said...

"I guess it also has a lot to do with the times we live in where we are all rushing for Chinese copy cat spin offs instead of the original even when the price difference is just a few hundred shillings."


The only original thing of a manufactured stuff is the prototype.

As such, all other stuff made after the prototype are copies of the original. It does not matter where these copies are made.

Thus, to say that something made in China is copy or copy cat is just NONSENSE!

It is one thing to say a Chinese does not have a licence to manufacture something from the owner of the concept, design, patent etc, but, to call a Chinese manufacture a copy is plainly manifest nonsense.

So much for that.


When one considers this play, one can only conclude that, ignorant people are very HYSTERICAL.

As such, by making noises, they DELUDE themselves that they are solving their problems.

Kenyans have been yelling about these stuff for 50 years. What have they achieved? ZERO.

What will Kenyans achieve after watching this play? ZERO!

We are not against the play.

However, we note that, like the rest of noise we hear, it is about the:

- Effect, but, not the CAUSE.

As such, until Kenyans are able to identify the CAUSE, their HYSTERIA about the EFFECTS, will only end up in agony.

For instance, in 2007 - 2010 - 2012, we informed people like Namwamba and Raila that, they were living in that world of DELUSIONS, ILLUSIONS and CHILDISH FANTASIES.

Did they listen? NO.

Are they waking up? YES, as we see and hear here:

Raila demands IEBC's disbandment:

What does the African Teacher say?

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha he he he ta ta ta

NB: Phil, bado upo?????


Now that Kamwana and Ruto are in power, they have promised improved agriculture etc etc.

The question is, will they succeed?

Under the existing SOCIAL CONDITIONS, the African Teacher will tell them for free that, they are DELUDED.

Anyway, it is time for music:

Want Go See:

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with the cast member - who - points out that the film has no credible resolution in the battle between the protagonist and antagonist.

As we all know by now, there are some of us, the majority to say the least, who love to see a good movie ending marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized.

Eeeeh!!! Talking of a credible resolution where Mr Valiant wa Lopush comes to the rescue of the oil refinery, the trapped workers, the oil fields of Kana, and the real agonist, Ms Wamaitha Makili Kuwili, regardless of whether she knowingly or unknowingly agreed to be pawned off by Mr Villain wa Imani.

All done in the best interests of the true people - Kanaanites - of Kana as well as the nation of Kana.

And everybody - except Vallain wa Imani - lives happily ever after like the former diehard supporters of the 'dogs of wars' in ancient fiefdom of Katanga.

Anonymous said...

The unintended consequences will continue to generate a lot interest regarding the poignant issues highlighted by the play 'Shackles of Doom'. Fortunately, the feverish attempts to ban the play presented by an all girls' school has ended up having an opposite effect, by making it one of the most controversial play, but acclaimed play that has become a conversational piece among students, young adults and the rest of the public, many of whom now want to see the play.

Anonymous said...

Some of the characters in decision making positions to day who go round banning plays or stopping live broadcast seem to be remnants and byproducts schooled in the art of suppression that existed during the country's first and second despotic adminstrations.

It goes without mentioning the fact that the characters in question maybe the very same individuals who are still busy draining the nation's coffers through over bloated civil servant's payroll, all done by those who have vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

While at the same time making desperate attempts to prohibit an informative and re-educative high school performance that is so-believed and deemed to be seditious by all accounts as if the creative young minds from the girls school in question were still live in a bygone autocratical era of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Unfortunately, there are characters in positions of power who in their infinite wisdom will stop at nothing in their attempts to stifle, suffocate or choke life out of any form of artistic expression, such the play - Shackles of Doom - that is completely noncommercial and dispassionate.

And was made possible by students' voluntary contributions, regardless of whether the contents border on humorous expression of indignation, or relevant thought provoking issues of the day.

Times may have changed to some digital extent, but it seems as though some characters in positions of - poor - decision making have yet to change their ways steeped in analogue mode that continues to shackle them with fears of impending doom if the play is allowed to continue being staged.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt the most urgent challenge that we, the people, face as a nation is extracting our political, economic and social systems from the 'Shackles of Doom' that have been part and parcel of our utter dysfunctional existence in the last five decades. On the other hand, can't wait to glance at a variety of summaries, notes, essays and analysis from educators, students, political analysts, psychoanalysts, and the general public, in light the play, Shackles of Doom.

Anonymous said...


Cut! Cut!! Cut!!! Cut!!!! Take two, because it is not so hard to see why certain characters in supervisory positions of power, as well as the good hearted political, social and cultural progressives in our midst may find the Shackles of Doom so controversial to the point where it runs the risk of reminding viewers of the existing facts or ideas or truths that are very unpleasant and shocking in our modern era, regardless of whether some of us, the general public, like it or not.

Mwarang'ethe said...

"On the other hand, can't wait to glance at a variety of summaries, notes, essays and analysis from educators, students, political analysts, psychoanalysts, and the general public, in light the play, Shackles of Doom.

4/23/13, 5:55 AM."


There is NOTHING to analyse here. Unless you mean that CHILDISH analysis we see around.


Kenyans are funny lot.

If you go to Butere Girls School where these girls are schooling, you will find that, they have ELECTRICITY.

However, should you go to Mbeere, where all the Seven Forks Dams, which provide that electricity to Butere Girls School are located, you will find that, the local SCHOOLS, homes etc, HAVE NEVER SEEN that electricity.

All we see at night are the lights at those dams and the pylons taking power to the furthest corners of Kenya.

Now, we hear the True Kaanas want a share of their oil. That is fine.

However, where is the Mbeere's share of power/electricity which Kenyans have been using for the last 40 years?

Or, Shackles of Doom are all about oil?

Anyway, you guys keep on yapping about plays which tell you NOTHING.

For us, in the FULL understanding of the situation/reality, we leave to enjoy some music in PEACE:

Equal Rights:

chola said...

Mwarange you sound negative toward the S- doom are you a kikuyu, I am sure you are not Kana.

Anonymous said...

Take my non ukabila and myopic hat off to the students of Butere Girls for their great peformance and thought provoking play. Bravo!

Shackles of Doom not only speaks for itself but also for many of the downdtrodden raia from all walks of life who are still struggling for social justice fifty years after the fact - so-called Uhuru Mamboleo.

Shackles of Doom is a primary language of courage, one that has the ability to conceive a thought [no wonder certain individuals are already afraid it], to speak it, and by doing so to make viewers, outside observers, sidelined urban/rural folks and the silent majority think about it.

In other words, to think about themselves and their current life situation(s) - sitz im Leben as its known in my father's former village of Ukingoni - in ways they would never have done nor allowed themselves to constructively confront the glaring unpleasantaries in their midst.

The ongoing infamous political, economic and social injustices that have been allowed to flourish and at the same time tolerated for far too long since the twelfth of December, 1963.

Hats off to the whole cast and all who were involved in the production of Shackles of Doom. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Shackles of Doom is a much deserved distraction for the agrieved segments of the population, and an unexpected distraction for those of us who have always known but lived in abosulte fear of all relevant matters as well as all sorts of other things depicted in the play.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked "where is the Mbeere's share of power/electricity which Kenyans have been using for the last 40 years?"

Kenyans? Kenyans? What percentage of Kenyans did the concerned Kenyan have in mind?

First of all, having a slight clue as to how many rural and urban Kenyans have had access to power/electricity in last fifty years, would have pointed the concerned individual in the right direction as far as seeking the vital answers as far who has been consuming Mbeere's rightful share in same time period.

Why is it so easier to scapegoat other Kenyans who have had nothing to do with the plight of their counterparts in places like Siakago, Gachokia, or Karaba, Kiritiri, Kathugagaceru, Kamurugu, Mutuavare, etc, when it comes to the unavailability of power/electricity that is mined or generated in their very own backyard?

As a matter of fact, it has already been pointed in another blog that Butere Girls used a diesel generator for years before the school was wired up on the main power grid that was sustained by the defunct Owen Falls Dam, present day Nalubaale Hydroelectric Power Station (NHPS) that is located on the White Nile near Jinja, in south east Uganda.

So, why waste all the energy, means and time by going to far away places like Butere Girls in order to locate the existence of electricity?

And how comes simple and affordable diesel generators were never installed in some of the good girl schools in Mbeere, in the same way the people of Butere and their leaders did at Butere Girls, Butere Boys and a one time well established near by people's hospital during the 1960s?

FYI, thousands and thousands of rural homes in Butere and surrounding areas have yet to benefit from any type of rural electrification projects that the WB and IMF claims to have been funding in the last thirty years.

Further, Mbeere region is the second largest producer of miraa in the country, a cash crop that has turned several local business people into self-made millionaires and billionaires.

So, where does the revenue generated from the internationally acclaimed cash crop known miraa been ending up?

And why have the educated people of Mbeere and their elected leaders not bothered to utilise the enormous revenues generated from the sales and exports of the local cash crop, miraa, in the last fourty years?

Who is to blame for lack of power/electricty in the local schools and homes in Mbeere?

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