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Simba Bazenga Review by Hilda Malowa

Synopsis: Set in urban Nairobi, Simba Bazenga is the story of family, identity, responsibility and power struggle. When Simba’s father is killed, Simba is led to believe that his father’s death is his fault and he is advised by his uncle to run away and never return. Simba’s uncle seizes power and with his already unhinged mind deteriorating, his home village experiences a devastating decline. To become Bazu and redeem his home village, Simba must navigate the tragic loss of his father, face his past and confront his uncle. Told with vibrant music, witty dialogue in sheng and charming choreography Simba Bazenga is a show that is at once familiar and also refreshing. 

Characters and Their Acting: Being part of the audience one thing an individual couldn’t fail to notice was the unique acting skills of the play cast. The acting was so good that one would think that it is actually real and could easily flow with the story based on their actions. Further they acted in a manner that they aroused emotions among members of the audience especially the ability of Mafisi being able to mimic the laughter of real hyenas. In regards to their dressing code their costumes and artist makeup fitted the genre perfectly especially when depicting the Bazu as well as the women lionesses. Pertaining to lighting of the scenes one can describe it as appreciable specifically in regard to the varying sound effects that described nature of the scenes. Additionally the actors were able to clearly articulate their lines and one could clearly hear the words they uttered without struggling.

Setting: The outstanding setting of the play could easily be noticed .This because it actually represents the life lived in the jungle as well as the changing time and seasons. The use of sheng language made it easy for the audience to understand and relate with the play however future use of sheng should be minimal so as to cater for all cadres of audience. Being a musical play the soloist Rafiki was audible and was to vary her pitch. With the production having been based on the movie, “Lion King” the flow of the play was coherent at the theater as it is on paper, and it was not easy to figure out what comes in the next scene, at the same time entertaining. The sheer talent of the artists on-and-off the stage was evident throughout the performance and were able to keep the audience desire to finish the story until Simab wa able to face his past, fight his uncle and become a Bazu.

Defending Democracy Review by Shauna Juma

Many times when individuals talk about democracy what clicks into one’s mind is the freedom of expression especially in regards to politics, criticizing government as well as having a choice in what you want to do. Over years Kenya has been able to achieve this especially with the coming of the 2010 constitution.

Being a week of democracy and with an aim of creating awareness on the matter especially among women and youth, the Forumciv Hub Eastern and Southern Africa collaboration with Wajibu Wetu, PAWA254, Siasa place, Creative Spills and Mkuru community justice center   organized a Democracy conference from 13th September 2021 to 17th September 2021 at  Kenya Cultural Centre Incorporating Kenya National Theatre giving an opportunity for their employees and support staff to learn and get more information about democratic rights and responsibilities including networking with persons championing the defending democracy.

Gracing the event was former Member of Parliament and advocate for social justice and democracy honorable Martha Karua who urged Kenyans to stand up and take part in the fight for democracy. Further she stated that democracy should be taken into practice to create spaces for youths to have their voices.

Also present in the conference was Mufasa Kibet a poet, actor and writer who urged fellow artists to continuously use their skills and talents in their art performances such as plays, spoken word, dance to advocate and champion for democracy. He challenged the media to provide viewership for the artists performances stating that art safeguards a long-term view, and not only does it provide a counterweight to the fast evolving world of technology but also helps to make sense today’s complex issues.

All in all, we should all strive to fight and champion for practices that promote and enhance democracy.

Bleeding Scars Stories za Kanairo Review by Hilda Malowa

Synopsis: These are series of stories in form of spoken word, music, comedy of families left behind in the urban slums of Kenya namely Kayole, Dandora, Kibera among others following loss of their loved ones to social injustices. The main objective of the series is to clear the negative image carried by the names kayole dandora kibera among other urban slums. Secondly it is to provide a platform to the youths in the urban slums hence keeping them busy from involving themselves in drug abuse and crime as well as to educate and entertain.

Presenters and their presentations: From the presentation of the stories one key element one cannot fail to notice is the great narration skills as well as flow of ideas. The presenters undoubtedly brought out the real situation of the happenings in the urban slum areas. One could easily figure out and flow with the stories especially in regards to spoken word, musical presentations based on their facial expression and how they conveyed emotions thus having a great connection with the audience. The presenters were also appropriately groomed however they did not fully portray the hustle and the life individuals in urban slums live. The lighting of the various presentations was noticeable especially there consistency with the varying sound effects that describe the nature of the presentation. In my opinion, the presenters’ diction was amazing and one could hear the words as pronounced by the presenters without struggling.

Setting: Looking at the presentations’ settings it clearly illustrated the social injustices being done in the urban slum areas especially in Nairobi. This made it easy for the audience to connect and practically imagine the life in the slum areas as well as the challenges those families are facing. The presenters were also able to keep the audience’s desire to finish the stories intact to the end of the show.