The thorny issue of doping in sports and talent drain in Africa featured prominently at the Metropolitan Region Secondary Schools Drama Festivals held at Noon Kopir Girls High School in Kitengela, Kajiado County, on Tuesday.
Metropolitan schools — located in Nairobi, Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado — which dominated last year’s festivals, have displayed splendid performances against their perennial rivals western Kenya schools.
The five-day event ends on Friday with a gala performance which will be graced by Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua.
A Spear in the Heart, a play by Dawamu Leadership School from Kajiado, showed how African talents are taken away and destroyed by foreign agents. This is caused by harsh conditions and unfavourable policies or lack of it, as well as outdated traditional practices.
When Sankai (Ian Churchil) finds a spear at his doorstep, he is so frustrated that he does not have much to do in the village. He later joins his agent abroad looking for employment. Benjamin Tipatet, Sankai’s brother, who was the main character in the play, then rescues him from the foreign country.
Tipatet, a form one student who was acting for the first time, moved the audience, which included the event chairperson, Lucy Mwangi and host chairman Joseph Kamakio.
The play, which was scripted by Silas Temba, directed by Peter Ndirangu and Moses Mwathi and produced by Claudia Mwangi, also addressed the issue of African sportsmen who change their nationality.
Another play that captivated the audience was one by St Georges Girls High School, Nairobi, Maharamai wa Maraya. It was about exploitation of resources in Africa by the West.
In the play, scripted by Xavier Nato, Westerners dock their ship in the island of Maraya bringing good tidings, only to turn out to be after the medicinal Mwarobaini tree, which is regarded by the islanders as sacred.
State House Girls choral verse, Ching Ku, was a verse about the dubious ways used in examination cheating, where students are supplied with fake test papers.
Kilanjo High presented a cultural dance and Mbooni Girls from Makueni County a Kikamba cultural dance that was well composed and choreographed. The dramatisation was realistic and the audience was impressed with the scene of Kamba dancers playing imaginary guitars.
Another item that went down well with the audience at the festival was a Kiswahili play by Matiliku Boys High, Toboa, written by Sebastian Situku.
The production told the story of power play, where rich and selfish individuals go to great lengths to ensure their comfort at the expense of the poor. It also addressed cyber crime.
Wednesday’s programme includes a solo verse by Moi Girls Nairobi; Kyambuko Secondary and Muindi Mbingu (solo verse); St Augustine Boys High - Mlolongo (Kiswahili play); Nembu Girls High (modern dance); and Machakos Girls (cultural dance).