Inter-ethnic wedlock a taboo or new hope?


Inter-ethnic wedlock a taboo or new hope?


Rukia with Tim in Liquid Arts theatre on August 8, 2021. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG



  • Peter Tosh has a style for tackling troubling social points in his performs, like the subject that doesn’t go away, specifically ethnicity or tribalism.
  • His newest story treats tribalism like a superbug that will get handed down from one era to the subsequent.

Peter Tosh has a style for tackling troubling social points in his performs, like the subject that doesn’t go away, specifically ethnicity or tribalism.

His newest story treats tribalism like a superbug that will get handed down from one era to the subsequent.

Technically, Kenyans are purported to be over ethnicity. Or a minimum of the youthful era are. But will the elders enable the youth to violate custom and tradition, or not?

These are the problems theatrically raised by Liquid Artwork’s newest manufacturing, entitled Katiba which premiered final weekend on the Kenya Cultural Centre.

Brill (Stephen Mwangi) and Vanessa (Nora Adisa) are intent on getting married and their wedding ceremony is simply two days away. However there are heavy-duty household forces which can be dead-set towards it .

Essentially the most adamantly opposed is Uncle Tim (Felix Peter) who can’t even be persuaded by his intelligent spouse Rose (Polyann Njenga) to let the kids alone.

As an alternative, Tim threatens his nephew that on no unsure phrases will the marriage happen. He doesn’t disclose what his sinister scheme may very well be, however his hostility is clearly unsettling for Brill.

Vanessa additionally has her personal ferocious naysayer in her mom, Rukia (Vivian Nyawira), who has comparable ethnic arguments to Tim’s. They’re bolstered as soon as her father (Peter Tosh) arrives.

He too is deeply dedicated to his tradition and time-honoured traditions. However he additionally blames Rukia for “underfeeding” Vanessa who’s skinny “like a mosquito”, a time period equally used as an insult by Tim.

What is obvious is that Tosh is making an attempt to indicate us that these ethnic stereotypes, particularly these opposing cross-cultural marriage, are deep-seated beliefs.

Katiba, the play’s title, is definitely a metaphor for a brand new sort of ‘structure’ being sought by the youth. In an interview that Weekender had with Tosh final Sunday, he defined his metaphor.

“Simply as we fought for a brand new structure, however the one we received turned out to be no higher than the outdated one, so the brand new notion of relationships [based on monogamy and romantic love] might appear to be a brand new and higher means of constituting marriage. However actually, is it any higher than what {couples} had earlier than?”

Whereas his perspective sounds considerably cynical, the second half of the play reveals what he means. For as the marriage hour attracts close to, the lovers reveal their anxieties about their dad and mom’ opposition to their plans.

Each are deeply in love, however clearly when their households are so ferociously towards them, they’re in limbo about what to do.

That’s when Uncle Tim bursts into Vanessa’s home (how did he know the place it was?) and viciously assaults the lady. His taunts should not solely abusive to the bride to be. They’re actually terrorising and scary.

However thereafter, what comes out in an trade between Brill’s Pastor Ben (Majestic Steve) and Uncle Tim is that Tim had as soon as liked Rukia desperately, and she or he had felt the identical means towards him.

However at one important second, they’d a misunderstanding that every took to be intentional. They’d deliberate a late-night rendezvous. However each received misplaced and didn’t meet.

Every took the occasion personally they usually by no means noticed one another once more. The bitterness of that ‘betrayal’ is what has fuelled each Tim’s and Rukia’s opposition to their offspring’s wedding ceremony.

They’d as soon as been courageous sufficient themselves to cross tribal strains to fall in love. But it surely hadn’t labored for them, so that they fell again into acquainted tribal territory quite than to reconcile and be associates once more.

The finale scene is the marriage which appears to be like hopeful since Rukia arrives along with her lady, head lined in kangas as is a customized in some cultures.

However when the cloths are lifted, and after Brill has gleefully sung “Simply the 2 of us”, it’s revealed that the bride just isn’t Vanessa, however Uncle Tim’s alternative, Salma (Mary Muthee). At that discovery, Brill faints and that’s The Finish.

What I discovered most attention-grabbing is that the house-full viewers, like myself, had no intention of applauding then. We had been ready for what we anticipated to be the ultimate scene, when Brill would go for Vanessa and their ‘new katiba’ would start, when as Brill defined, they’d be making their very own guidelines.

However that final scene by no means got here. So the ending is inconclusive, however disappointing all the identical.

Simply as Tosh mentioned, so long as elders oppose inter-ethnic wedlock, and till there’s a radical change in perspective, blended marriage might proceed to be a taboo.

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