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Court unshackles Butere Girls’ play
Updated Thursday, April 18th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
He added that in order to safeguard the Constitution and to protect the rights of the students, teachers and other members of Butere Girls’ High School, of the playwright, and of the public keen to watch the play, it was imperative the application be heard and determined as a matter of urgency. Yesterday, The Standard caught up with Festival Executive Secretary Khaemba Sirengo, who had issued the ban three weeks ago, who said the Drama Executive Committee was ready to host the play.
Consultations between Khaemba’s office and the school production team has agreed on a tentative schedule of the last item on Sunday at Aga Khan High School Hall, Mombasa.
And the playwright at the centre of the controversy, Cleophas Malalah, described the ruling as a new dawn for Kenyan drama. “It is the end of impunity and no one again will wake up one morning to ban a piece of art without following due process,’ he said. Malalah said he was particularly happy that the ruling was a victory for the school girls who had given their all for the production.
“We have not been rehearsing but we want to take the shortest time to prepare them since we are alive to the enormous pressure now on our shoulders,” he said.
Chairman of the Nairobi Metropolitan Drama Committee Kennedy Buhere said the ruling had offered the young artistes chance to be watched by Kenyans.
“I had only seen snippets of it on Youtube and now I will have the opportunity to see it so that I can have a critical appreciation of it.
Director and producer David Isindu said it was unfortunate that the case had to reach the level it did adding that: “We should have conflict resolution mechanisms so that an issue of this nature does not reach the High Court.” Many in Mombasa received the news. It is believed demand to watch Shackles of Doom will be high at the festival. Plans are underway to sell the tickets going for Sh100 on a first come-first serve basis.
Shackles of Doom depicts a film shot in the land of Kanas. These are people with rich cultural heritage spanning years into pre-history who refer to themselves as the True Kanas. For lack of technological knowhow, they are oblivious of riches beneath their land in form of oil deposits.
But this treasure in top secret only known to a neighbouring community who brings in a top delegation as they offer a beautiful bride – Wamaitha to be married off to Lopush, who is a Kana, in exchange of land where they settle. The deal is done.
Wamaitha’s community comes in not only to settle but also to construct the Mafuta Oil Refinery Company. The Kana, whose livelihood has been defined by nomadism and sporadic fishing, are hopeful the new investment would create jobs for the community.
“This oil company will generate jobs and heal the wound of oppression,” declares Lopush, who has become a darling of both communities.
The manager of the drilling firm holding aloft a shield emblazoned with National Cohesion and Integration emblem proclaims, “People let this shield be a symbol of commitment to facilitate and promote equality of opportunities, good relations and a peaceful co-existence. Let us create a new bond of national cohesion.”