It was smiles for young thespians at the ongoing Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama and Film Festival in Bungoma when it was announced that this year’s winners will get cash alongside the usual trophies and certificates.
Speaking at the opening ceremony presided over by the Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, the Kenya Film Classification Board announced a Sh700,000 for winners of the fete in the category of plays and film.
“We are associating with this fete not only to help clean content but to invest in funds to allow those who come out of this fete get an opportunity to continue meaningfully and economically with the arts,” said Ezekiel Mutua, the board’s CEO.
There was, however, disappointment for Bungoma High School, winners in the choral verse and play in western region competitions, which was banned from the event. The school went on strike and had all its students sent home a few days to the start of the national competitions.
The sad news was broken by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, himself a respected thespian of the festival, who said it was unfair not to allow the students to participate in the event.
“There are laws and the constitution that help to govern this country. You didn’t have to ban Bungoma drama club just because some of their non-drama club colleagues participated in a strike,” he said to the committee on its decision.
During the festival, Moi Primary School Kabarak’s Natasha Chepchumba wowed the audience with her solo verse Just Like Mama.
The verse depicts a child who is faced with sanctions when she acts or talks in a certain manner.
In her puzzle, she wonders why all the fuss from her grandmother, yet she apes everything from the mother, thus the title.
The mother later realises that whatever she does, including walking, eating habits, sitting ways, the child learns from her and she thus tries her best to be a better role model.
Directed by Shadrack Luttah and Gladys Kemunto, and written by Ochieng’ Oloo, the verse goes well with the fete’s running clarion, “You are what you watch”.
Neighbours Menengai High School had a thrilling play, Confirmed by Silas Temba.
The play depicts a society in a dilemma with itself as a result of creating 100 millionaires and 100 million beggars in a growing man-eat-man society of avarice.
The end result is a society faced with unmanageable crime levels.
Inspector Solomon, who is the regional police boss, has a hard time checking spiralling crime and it turns out that one of the most wanted criminals is actually his favourite daughter’s boyfriend.
It is a web that would baffle many when the latter is presumed dead after a fiery fire exchange between his gang and the police.
In the same breadth, Moi Girls Marsabit presented a play, Desert of Death, which depicts a highly-corrupt middle-level persons.
Nyamasare Primary School from Siaya County had their film screened at the film section of the fete.
The film, written and directed by Jayne Claire Ongong’a, depicts a life of a school child faced with a heavy dose of academic curriculum and hardly has time to vent and develop her talent as an artiste.