Winners start to emerge as drama icons battle at festival 

Butere Girls High School stage a play God's Creation scripted and directed by Cleophas Malala

Butere Girls High School stage a play God's Creation scripted and directed by Cleophas Malala during the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival at Shimo La Tewa on April 25, 2023.

Photo credit: Anthony Njagi | Nation Media Group

The recent food and water poisoning incidents in schools that led to the deaths of several students and a teacher were the subject of performances at the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival in Mombasa. 

One of the productions sent the audience at the Shanzu Teachers Training College to total silence as they flashed back to the Mukumu Girls tragedy that sent shivers down the spine of many parents with kids in boarding schools. 

Kitengela International School-Athi River screened a feature film that captured the food poisoning incident in a film titled Miss Green produced by Elizabeth Gati. It features Jatero (Michelle Musau), Gregory (Tori Mbaya), Kangi (Lemar Mwangi), Professor Matech (Michael Ouma) and Nicko (Sasha Chebet).

The movie talks about the importance of waste disposal, how dirty water is affecting society and the importance of planting trees.

Due to his activism on climate change, food security, healthy eating and living, Jatero Mactech, (Michell Musau) has been nicknamed Miss Green. In collaboration with his father (Michael Ouma) and a few friends, she turned her school and home village into a green city. However, the school captain, Gregory (Tori Mbaya), is jealous of Jatero’s achievements and will do anything to stop him.

With battle lines drawn, who will win over the other? This is a story of determination and passion, good versus evil and how the truth always wins in the end. But at what cost?

All the winners who will make it to the two-day gala event that showcases the best items will be announced today. But adjudicators have already started releasing the names of winning teams. On Monday, the judges announced films in the Primary and Early Childhood Education sector that will be screened during the gala on Thursday and Friday. They include the adverts by Muthangari School, Acacia Crest and Kitale Primary School.

The winning documentaries include Fountain Primary School and Eronge Primary School. The feature films selected for the gala include Westlands Primary, Aga Khan Primary School and Kayole One Primary School.

The short films that made the cut include Hospital Hill Primary, Rang’ala Girls Primary and Lizar School. The singing games category includes Nangina ECD while the screen dance teams include Hospital Hill, Kayole One Primary and Eburenga Primary.

At Shimo La Tewa High School, Mwaani Girls High School staged a powerful narrative produced by Joan Muchina. It was scripted and directed by Derrick Waswa and performed by Tiffany Nzilani and Susan Musila.

Exam cheating

Without the ability to see the long-term effects of exam cheating, Zuwena feels that the pros of cheating (good grades) outweigh any negatives.

The festival, which is on its final day today, yesterday saw the battle of the giants take centre stage as some of the festival icons in scripting and directing of plays in one of the single biggest cultural events in Africa clashed on stage.

Whether by design or default, some of the icons that have had an illustrious reign at the festival were programmed to meet in a clash that excited drama fans. It was the day of Oliver Minishi of Nanyuki School, Cleophas Malala of Butere Girls, Davis Nato of Machakos Boys and Kamau Chomba of Alliance High School. Their plays lived up to their expectations when they took the stage yesterday. 

Nanyuki’s play The Miser revolves around Harpagon, a miser who is obsessed with wealth and power and is unwilling to share even with his children. Minishi takes a satirical look at the importance of transitional leadership and ceding power to younger generations. 

Cleophas Malala, former Kakamega senator and currently secretary-general of the ruling party UDA, is known for his 2013 play by Butere Girls Shackles of Doom. 

The controversy of that play aside, Malala has cut a niche for himself as one of the most prolific and best playwrights and stage directors that the festival has. Yesterday, he brought another blockbuster dubbed God’s Creation, which is a play about Mitchel, who tries her best to find her identity to fit in modern society. 

Davis Nato and Gladys John of Machakos High School are the other icons who have won several awards in the festival. Yesterday, Nato staged Fly On The Wall, which was the winning play from Eastern.