Slay queens of Africa: Play pokes fun at prima donnas

Saturday July 21 2018

Linda Nabasa, Rashida Namulondo and Debie Kagisha taking a selfie in one of the scenes in the play

Linda Nabasa, Rashida Namulondo and Debie Kagisha taking a selfie in one of the scenes in the play "Slay Queens of Africa". PHOTO | COURTESY 

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In one of scenes somewhere in Nairobi, a smartly dressed Salmon (played by Rashida Namulondo) quickly enters the stage with a small sauce pan with milk and an empty bottle of Baileys liquor.

Salmon quickly combs her hair and wears her heels, then pours milk into the bottle of Baileys. This is a trick she employs, so that people may think that she is a high class girl who can afford a whole bottle of Baileys.

“Looks like Baileys, tastes no way close. Please God, I pray that I don’t have to drink this all night, let a guy spot me, ask me what I am drinking, I’ll show him the Baileys bottle and he’ll buy the real thing to impress me. Please God bless my hustle,” Salmon says.

Salmon later goes to the Blankets-and-Wine concert, where she meets up with her friends Betty (Debie Kagisha) and Michelle (Linda Nabasa). They hug, take selfies. Once settled down, Salmon lays down the blanket and then pours herself a drink from the Baileys bottle. One hand holds the glass and the other, a lipstick. With each sip she takes from the glass, she adds more lipstick onto her lips.

Michelle, who is seated next to Salmon, is waving her hands, enjoying the song, as she sips the milk. She takes a huge sip of the Baileys bottle and spits it out.

Michelle wonders out aloud: “Really, like really? Milk in a Baileys bottle? Really? How low should one get?” She holds the Baileys bottle in the air. “Jesus, you turned water into wine. Please help with this.”

As Salmon begins to walk away at the end of the concert, Michelle asks Salmon, “Where are you going?”

“Home,” Salmon replies.

“I need my wig,” Michelle demands.

“My dress, too,” Betty demands as well.

Salmon, asks: “Now? In public?”

Michelle replies: “Yes, now.” She pulls the blanket. “Betty, hold that side.” They surround the blanket they were seating on round Salmon.

In shock Salmon, says, “Oh my god, you guys, I can’t believe you’re doing this.”

In an unsympathetic tone Michelle, responds: “We are not trying to embarrass you but my wig cost me a lot of money.”

Salmon removes the wig, throws it outside the blanket. The dress follows. She pulls the blanket from the two women and wraps it round her body.

“I'm sorry girl that we had to do this,” Betty says.

Salmon, shouts: “Just go!”

As the two ladies start to move away Michelle walks back to Salmon and demands: “Can I have my eyelashes?”

Salmon, replies, “Really!”

“They are Huda beauty lashes, so yes, really,” Michelle says.

Salmon removes, hands them to her. The ladies walk away. Salmon is left stranded.

Salmon, Michelle and Betty are part of the fictitious characters in a new poetic play tiltedSlay Queens of Africa, that was performed recently at The Square in Kampala. Presented by Afroman Spice, the satirical musical, directed by Rehema Nanfuka, dwells on the lives of slay queens in Lagos, Harare, Nairobi, and Kampala.

‘Slay queens’ is a slang term that has gained currency, referring to young women who live luxurious lifestyles that are beyond their means. They spend their time on social media showing off things they do not own – usually borrowed or hired. They do not date broke men.

Afroman Spice is an all-woman Ugandan theatrical company.

Nabasa, Namulondo and Kagisha play all the characters in the play in the different cities. The production adopted both the satirical and Broadway musical forms of presentations.

Slay Queens of Africawas written by Nabasa, who says that some parts of the musical are fictional while others are based on actual events gotten off social media and newspapers.

As to what influenced her into writingSlay Queens of Africa, Nabasa told Saturday Nation: “Since last year, there has been a lot of talk about slay queens. Initially it was a good thing for people to call a lady a slay queen, but that started to change when several women felt they needed that kind of title, too, through living a life that they cannot maintain.”

“We wanted to write about what we knew and what we felt the Ugandan community would relate to. So we felt we could maximise that opportunity to make theatre out of real life situations and social media occurrences for people to really understand and know who a slay queen is,” she added.

As to why they named itSlay Queens of Africa, Nabasa, says, “From the word go, we decided that Slay Queens of Africa will be a travelling show in Africa and beyond. So we had to choose a title that supports and enables that.”

“We chose to only concentrate on Harare, Lagos, Nairobi and Kampala because we have been to these countries and we did a lot of online research and ground work prior to writing this production.”