By BBC World Service Publicity
Published July 25, 2009
A play by a Kenyan is set to air to an estimated 188 million listeners globally.
The Confession, that emerged second in the annual African Performance playwriting competition 2009, is written by Mark Mutahi. The play was inspired by the violence that took place in Kenya following the disputed 27 December 2007 presidential elections.
The broadcast of The Confession, at 16.30 GMT on Thursday, 30 July 2009, will be introduced by a documentary piece featuring a Kenyan family that was affected by the post-election violence depicted in the play (16.06 GMT). The show will be repeated for East-African audiences at 13.00 GMT on Saturday, 1 August 2009.
The Confession is a powerful play that tackles the issue of tribalism. The central character, Mbasudi, rallies local youths to go on a killing spree, targeting members of a rival tribe which he holds responsible for the defeat of the presidential candidate he supported in the elections. However, Mbasudi’s world is to turn upside down following a revelation from his ailing mother. Director of the radio drama, BBC’s Alice Muthengi, will introduce the broadcast of the play with a conversation with a family from Nairobi’s sprawling Kibera informal settlement, who were directly affected by events around the disputed presidential elections.
The Confession is Mark Mutahi’s third attempt at winning the African Performance playwriting competition. Born and brought up in the Nyeri District of Central Kenya, Mutahi studied Economics at the University of Nairobi.
“My love for stories goes back to childhood, when my late grandfather would narrate stories when he was not listening to his radio, ” Mutahi says. “During the school holidays, I would go to his house even before breakfast just to listen to his stories. But as I learnt to read and write, I listened less and read more! These days I observe and write more.”
The Senior Producer of the BBC African Performance season, Jenny Horrocks, is delighted to have had such a strong entry from East Africa.
“It’s great that Mark Mutahi’s perseverance has paid off and just goes to show that he’s developed himself as a writer. They say that everybody has a story to tell, and we’d love to have more Kenyan entries in future. The competition will soon be open for the 2010 African Performance season, so keep an eye on the bbcworldservice.com website for further details,” says Horrocks.
The winner of this year’s BBC African Performance competition is Julia Childs of the United Kingdom. Her play, Home Sweet Soweto Home, centres on the Mathebulas family whose dreams of fame and fortune are undeterred by their daily grind in the eponymous South-African township. But life is about to change for them with the arrival of the first ever white woman to live in their neighbourhood.
Two plays share third place in the competition.” In No More Redemption Songs, Ghanaian Benjamin Kent discusses the state of activism in modern Ghana (Kent also came second last year with another play, Funeral Bells).” The other play sharing third place is Naija Bride, by ATK Robinson from Nigeria. This play is about internet dating, 419 scams and corruption.