Arts + Culture
Photo: Jonah Njoroge

This Kenyan Playwright Encourages Budding Young Artists to Speak Up

Xaiver Jerry Nato's company, Millaz Productions, is home to scriptwriters who want to use their work to address the social injustices they see around them.

In a scene from the theater play, I Know My Rights, which premiered last month at the Kenya Cultural Center’s Ukumbi Mdogo, a young man sits on a pavement in unidentified location in the city, just a few minutes before curfew time. Policemen approach him, and he makes the mistake of talking back at them, shouting about his rights. Not amused by the man’s reproach, the policemen descend on him with kicks and blows leaving him unconscious.

It’s a horrific scene, and unpleasant to watch, but it is a reality for many young people across the country who encounter similar situations. It’s also not the only violent scene in the play, co-written by Teddy Munene and Saumu Kombo, young scriptwriters at Millaz Production. In another, a policeman pulls out a gun and shoots the young man between his eyes, killing him on the spot. It is revealed that the young man had founded an organization to uplift people from poverty, but had been sold out to the cops by his co-founder, for money.

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The Art Clubs Helping to Uplift Nairobi's Informal Settlements

Over the past few years, a number of art centers have sprung up in Mukuru, Nairobi, to help budding artists hone their skills and earn a living from their creations too.