Dear Ndago, Technology And Nigerian Movies Murdered Kenyan Theatre

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I have read your elegy in respect of the death of the Kenyan theatre that has no possibility of resurrection within the prism of foreseable future. You have well presented this imperative matter as clearly captured in the Art and Culture pages of the Saturday standard of 6th February 2016. I am also in my mourning attires, with my head well shaven, approaching the catalfague that hoist high the cortege of the theatre in Kenyan. But as an African I will mourn as I point out those that have killed our dear theatre.

I first point out that the Nigerian movies stole their way into corpus of the cinematographic consumption and audience space in Kenya, and thence they have now shrewdly used their hot iron of artistic competence and aggressiveness to melt away the wax that held together our society towards consumption of services of the local and doodling theatre industry, making things to fall apart on our side. The spectacle of their charm is focus on quality as driven by consumer consciousness, a fact readily seen in how our people in Kenya have already began naming their children after Nigerian actors like Oge Okoye and Ramsey.

Secondly, Mr. Ndago, mobile technology has similarly participated in suffocating our cinema and strangulation of the Kenyan theatre.You all know that at present times, all Kenyans have mobile phones with configurations to host mobile transfer of huge data like movies through a YouTube technology. Most of these movies are vulgar, performed in Brazil, India, America, Nigeria and Europe, but they are appallingly consumed by our people, given that they are the only substantial and dominant movie products on the virtual and electronic market accessed by Kenyan virgin market.

I mourn in deep sadness and agony that I have so far never seen Kenyan movies circulated among the virtual citizens through the internet technology, apart from the weird, mundane and scathing ethnic innuendoes and consumerist overtones exchanged among Kenyans on the social media.

Mr. Ndago, I as an African, will not forget to blame the dead hen before I blame the fox. Our theatre industry is dead as you have beautifully put it in your essay, but share with me the regret that it is dead not because the enemies were too strong but because the Kenyan theatre has been too careless in its approach and design. What I mean is that the Kenyan theater that has been there never even cared to go by neither national consumer preferences nor global consumer expectations.

The comedians like those we see regularly in the television program of ‘Churchill live’ are nothing else other than perpetrators of jokes based on the ethnic stereotypes, often ending up into irritation and offensive presentation of some communities as clownish while at same time they reinforce discriminate public impeccability of other communities. The Citizen TV design of Awinja and Papa Sirandulla as desperate underdogs and unfashionable oats and louts from the Luhyia community does not augur well to the people of Western Kenya.

My dirge in this respect is that intellectualize the Kenyan theatre workers above a mentality that tribal mockery is the great source of humour in dramaturgy, then Kenyan theatre will resurrect to face the positive possibilities of cultural expansion on the coming day of literary eternal life.

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Articles by Alexander Opicho