St. Peter’s Boys Mumias Primary school emerged the winners of this year’s Schools Drama festival with their play Swing Swing. Celebrations marked with singing and loud Isikuti drums rent the air at the Aga Khan High School where the results were being announced to a highly expectant audience.Written and directed by Benjamin Wandal, Rollington Washika and Victor Achisa, the play is a mirror of life and appreciates that it is full of ups and downs.
The memorable cast of Collins Okiya, Kennedy Shievo and Fidel Felix Otieno grabbed many individual awards of distinction at the festival, which this year attracted the participation of over 10,000 students. Nakuru Lions kept tradition, coming in strongly to get the second position with their play, Friendly Fire written by Lilian Madigo. Directed by Felix Ochieng and Francis Agik, the play depicts an enemy from within where the personal assistant of the family matriarch introduces drugs to an asthmatic child who later becomes dependent on it.
The play urges caution on how close parents want to have their children engage with outsiders who not only contribute very little to the well-being of the family but also are a source of risk to the children. The performances by Eugene Andai, Ivy Nyambura and Grace Wendoh stood out. The Last Samantha from Legacy Schools in Kitale, took third position. Bukirimu R.C Primary School cemented the Western Kenya dominance of the top accolades when they indisputably ran away with the dance trophy. Their dance, Class Six was child-centred and delved into the issue of conflict among pupils in the class.
It depicts a class bedeviled by poor peer representation and leadership, then through consultative process a new prefect is appointed and peace reigns thereafter. The children were not just well rehearsed for their dance, their fluid movement and well-choreographed dance steps infused drama within so that a clear story was told in a Luhya idiom.
Most amazing was the traditional Isikuti and Ishiriri orchestral instrumentalists which gave a superior level of accompaniment never seen before in the festival.
Written and directed by Mukhebi Martin Sungura, the danceis produced by Wilfred Musuya and their cast including Lucy Barasa, Mirriam Juma,Millah Mulunda and Fred Wamalwa did not disappoint.
Vuga Primary from Mombasa took the silver with an equally impressive dance Kadzo from the Digo Community. Written and choreographed by Lydia Pendo and NacyKarisa the dance depicts sexual harassment meted out on a female pupil by her own teacher.
Mwanamisi Mrema, Latifa Dawa, and Njira Kanzovu gave true leadership exhibited in their quality musical melody and soloist abilities. Their compatriots from Tudor Primary School, Mombasa took the bronze with the dance Mean Score, depicting the over-emphasis put on class work, at times to the detriment of the growth of the child. Lugulu Boarding School snatched the best narrative award with their story Pota Pota.
AIC Makutano Primary took position two with their item Bamba 20 as Victory Academy from Mombasa took second runners-up position. Nakuru Lions once again made a strong impression of themselves when they floored their contemporaries in the choral verse category, which they roaredin with their verse Purukushani Cheche. Chaguo Letu from Sony Complex and Kijibati from Carol Academy took second and third honors, respectively.
Nairobi got some lifeline when Makini School scooped the best award in solo verse with their piece, The Letter. Hot on their heels were Booker Academy from Nzoia with Reflections followed by Carole Academy with I Saw You in Myself.
In this festival, mentally-impaired children preformed for the first time with St Catherine Special School emerging tops with their item, DNA. Kwale School for the Mentally Handicapped and Ongata Rongai Special schools gave impressive performance to earn second and third positions, respectively. The Round a bout from St Anthony School for the Hearing Impaired took top position followed by Kwale School and Kenya School for the Deaf in their own unique category, the Kenya Sign Language. Kaaga School for the Deaf, Kerugoya School for the Deafand Eldoret School for Hearing impaired was also feted.
Festival Secretary Khaemba Sirengo reiterated the festival’s objective of inclusivity and said the festival will welcome all pupils with neither discrimination nor favour. This years’ festival theme was ‘Performing for National Healing and Reconciliation’ and the award ceremony was graced by Education Permanent Secretary Prof George Godia who emphasized the need to encourage scripting by the pupils themselves.
Today Friday 26th April 2013, the winners will perform for President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Gardens, Mombasa.
From: The Kenya Drama Festivals (Notes)