MUST WATCH PLAY: JOHN SIBI-OKUMU BRINGS BILDAD KAGGIA BACK TO LIFE
December 13 – 14 The late politician and a Member of the Mau Mau, Bildad Kaggia will be brought back to life this weekend at the Kenya National Theatre.
The production by Unplugged footprints and Gladwell Theatre, seeks to evoke his life and times for the stage and, in so doing, to highlight some of Kenya’s lingering concerns as a young nation.
The play is written by John Sibi-Okumu a renowned playwright who has also appeared In over 40 leading, stage roles and has written nine plays, of which Kaggia, first produced in 2014, is the most recent.
According to Okumu, however, significant player he was in the history of Kenya’s independence Bildad Kaggia seems to have been largely shifted to the sidelines and many Kenyans of a certain age are totally unaware of his existence.
“There was enlightenment from primary sources, most notably following conversations with his daughter Njoki, trade unionist Wilson Maina Macharia and lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee. Internet searches were complemented by publications such as The Struggle for Freedom and Justice by Bildad Kaggia, Wiegert de Leeuw and M.Kaggia (Nairobi, Transafrica, 2013) and the children’s book, Bildad Kaggia, Voice of the People by Evan Mwangi,” he says.
Bildad Kaggia, together with Jomo Kenyatta, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, Kung’u Karumba and Achieng Oneko has a place in the history of what became the nation of Kenya as one of ‘the Kapenguria Six,’ who were detained by the British colonial administration on the charge that they were engaged in subversive activity.
The historical sweep of Kaggia, the play, covers the period between 1921, the likely year of Bildad Kaggia’s birth and 2005 when he died.
The production has picked Kenya’s best actors that include Martin Kigondu playing Kaggia, Lucy Njoroge playing Wambui, Justin Mirichii playing Xan and Mwajuma Belle playing Stacey.