Talent and class as drama festival ends

Kisumu Girls High School

Kisumu Girls High School students celebrate after being awarded the best CBC item in their Creative Cultural Dance during the 62nd edition of the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival at The University of Embu on April 14, 2024. 

Photo credit: Anthony Njagi | Nation Media Group

Mount Kenya University Thika Main Campus emerged overall winners in the university category during the 62 edition of the Kenya Schools and Colleges National Drama and Film Festival at Embu University.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, who was the chief guest, yesterday declared performing arts as compulsory in the Competency-Based Curriculum.

Speaking at Kangaru Girls High School in Embu, Mr Machogu stressed that performing arts has been made part of the CBC and will be taught from pre-primary to tertiary learning institutions.

 “We shall even have learning materials in the CBC syllabus,” he stated.

The MKU play, The Parasite, was a stinging commentary on independent African nations turning themselves into beggars, going around with begging bowls. The leaders then loot resources and plunder minerals.

Written and directed by the legendary Oliver Minishi, the play shows that it is the same parasitic mindset in the West with some countries sponsoring civil strife in African countries, as they scheme to siphon minerals.

The play also accused Western powers of sponsoring brain drain in Africa. Mount Kenya University excelled in spoken word and choral verse.

Kabarak University was second in their play category entitled Cry Freedom, scripted and directed by Michael Kiguta and Silas Temba.

Westlands Primary School

Westlands Primary School pupils celebrate after being awarded the best CBC Play Sponsored by KICD during the 62nd edition of the Kenya national drama and film festival at Kangaru Schools on April 14, 2024. 

Photo credit: Anthony Njagi | Nation Media Group

The play deals with the leadership problems in Africa. This is the first time Kabarak to feature at the national event. The university also won in the Mime category. Laikipia University was third in the play category.

The Cultural Creative Dance title went to Alupe University whose VC is Professor LP Baraza. Zetech University and MKU were second and third, respectively.

Teachers’ training colleges also released their results with Kaimosi TTC emerging as the overall winner in the play category with Paradox in Paradise, produced by Margaret Ruttoh and directed by Pascah Musonye.

This is a play that revolves around Mtumishi Saulo, who is accused of committing ‘religious genocide’ against the poor. Lugari TTC were second and Thogoto TTC were third.

Thogoto TTC won the cultural creative dance. Their Mwomboko steps, a Kikuyu cultural creative dance, won the hearts of the adjudicators and the audience and emerged tops. Kaimosi TTC were second with a Luhya Dance Imbosa.

Imbosa, a dance choreographed by Margaret Ruttoh, was second. It was about the main character, Imbosa. A graduate seeks to acquire a job opportunity from the master of ceremony during her graduation offers to give her an online job which turns out to be a scam. Imbosa suffers at the hands of ‘Mutambi the menace’. The play shows how she grapples with challenges on her path to becoming a community celebrity. 

Eregi Teachers Training College was third in this category.

Other winners were; Stand-up comedy Chester, followed by Egoji TTC, and Kibabii TTC, which came third.

Choral verse winners were Kibabii TTC, Kericho TTC, second, while Kagumo TTC were third .

Modern dance category winners were Egoji TTC, and Thogoto TTC. Oral narrative Kaimosi TTC were the winners, followed by Mosoriot TTC and Muranga TTC were third.

In the Technical and Vocational Colleges category, Nyeri National Polytechnic won with their play Blackout.

The play follows the story of a corrupt power plant operations manager who is willing to do whatever it takes to further her own interests.

She steals a generator from the slums to sell for profit and then blames the residents for the theft. The slum is home to a young girl who has an incredible innovation - a battery that produces power using human waste. This innovation could potentially revolutionise the energy sector, but the corrupt manager will stop at nothing to maintain her power and control.

CS Machogu said in future, every school will be expected to take part in the performing arts competition.

 “Performing art is not optional, it is compulsory, and the government is taking the matter seriously,” he said.

He said Kenyan children are gifted and should be supported to exploit their talents.

 “We are investing heavily in performing arts to tap in the great potential we have in the country. We have great talent among our young people who can even make it to international competitions,” he said.

He observed that the performance is getting better and the children should be encouraged.

 “ We have great improvement in performance compared to the previous competition that was held in Mombasa and our children will go far,” he said.

The CS said that the government was determined to ensure that the CBC succeeded for the benefit of the children and the progress of the country.

He said the government will employ 20,000 more teachers to handle CBC and build extra classrooms in primary schools to accommodate junior secondary school learners.

He said that Sh9 billion will be allocated this year for infrastructural development to create space for learners.

Kenya Institute of Mass Communication popularly known as the powerhouse were second in the play category.

Kangaru School and Kangaru Girls hosted all pupils of primary schools with the Kangaru School being home for boys while Kangaru Girls hosted female pupils.

The two principals Jenifer Kyalo and Paul Muriuki for boys said that the two schools have accommodated a total of 2,000 pupils with each hosting 1000 each. This made sure that the pupils were not crisscrossing the highway endangering their lives.

The Gala Day Two will continue today at Kangaru School and Kangaru Girls. Winners in the Secondary Schools will be announced and awarded with trophies today by the Chief Guest Deputy President. Rigathi Gachagua.

The State Concert will be held on Thursday with the best performances from plays, Cultural dances, Oral narratives, Choral Verses, and singing Games. Moderna danced and Stand Up comedy was staged.

Wajir High School

Wajir High School students celebrate after being awarded the Best Choral Verse on sponsored by Kenya Revenue Authority during the 62nd edition of the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival at The University of Embu on April 14, 2024. 

Photo credit: Anthony Njagi | Nation Media Group

Meanwhile, the Vihiga County government under the Governor, Dr. Wilbur Ottichilo has sponsored all the 11 best items from four Vocational Training Centres in the county to this year's National Drama and Film Festivals at Embu University in Embu County.

The participating teams from Vihiga County were Mwambeva VTC, Maseno VTC, Keveye VTC and Gimomoi VTC.

Department of Education Co-curricular Activities Co-ordinator Mr Musungu Mugoha, the teams put up a sterling performance in the vocational training centres category.

The director, Mr. Avedi underscored the importance of the festival in nurturing the talents of the youth besides their training in various skills.

Mr Mugoha, the coordinator, registered his satisfaction with the organisation of the festival which gave the VTC teams a platform to showcase their talents. Mr Mugoha further appealed to other county governments to consider sponsoring more Vocational Training Centres to participate in future festivals to give the youth in these institutions an opportunity to discover and nurture their talent.

Additional reporting by George Munene