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Reassessing Jomo Kenyatta’s Crackdown on Theatre for Education and Development

  • Samson Kaunga Ndanyi
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)

Abstract

This chapter explores the encounter between the government of President Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya and proponents of Theatre for Development (TfD,) which is dialogical theatre meant to serve as a tool for community empowerment and development. The chapter pays special attention to the period between 1976 and 1978 when TfD suffered stagnation due to a myriad of factors such as the high cost of production, the lack of production logistics, and scarce organizational structures to support. The most significant cause of stagnation, however, was political interference from the Kenyatta administration which banned stage performances with political overtones and denied licenses to shows that were far from controversial. The crackdown on plays by African performers was swift and wide. Kenyatta’s administration summarily cancelled performances with “subversive” messages that allegedly undermined the spirit of national unity. Government spies routinely mingled with unsuspecting audiences in theatre halls and makeshift venues to identify dissident activities.

Keywords

Colonial Government Preventive Detention National Conversation White Settler Kenyan Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Samson Kaunga Ndanyi 2016

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  • Samson Kaunga Ndanyi

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