The Good Book says that love is patient and kind, that love is not easily angered, does not keep a record of wrongs and that it never fails. Here’s a question; when is the last time you loved? When was the last time you truly loved someone or something it brought literal pangs of brokenness when they didn’t love you back? When was the last time you went out of your way to make sure that they were okay and all they did was turn a blind eye?
Now, take a look around you. Once upon a time, the effects of our love for this country were clearly seen – like the warm glow of joy a mother has as she looks upon her young ones. Our city glowed in the glory of how we treated her. Scores of people from surrounding countries wanted a taste of the love we have for Kenya; but sadly, not anymore.
The play Bei Ya Jioni is a witty, comical and heart rendering story of the on and off affair we have been having with Kenya. It’s a story bringing out how the tale of our love was once bright, captivating and an example to all those around us but we turned it into a commodity that could be bargained off to the highest bidder. As the years went by, we didn’t stop to think of who was watering our love garden and exactly what kind of water they were using, we just woke up one day to find our garden’s roses choking on the weeds of corruption, crime, and tribalism. Suddenly everything we had was up for sale, everything and everyone could be bought at the right price. All of a sudden, our nation was turned into an auctioneering stand where anything and everything goes.
On the opening night of the play which was being showcased at the Kenya National Theatre, the show had us hooked to the romantic story of the character Kizzy, whose monologue about her love to one Lawi, reminds us of a time where all was right with the world and the passion in which they spoke, sang and danced about their dedication towards each other almost carried us away. At a glance, one would think that this was just another love story but somehow, under the witty and creative direction of director John ‘JJ’ Jumbi, the story took a twist and incorporated the jovial satire about Kenya’s politics, its social dynamics and everything in between, including the wounds of the post-election violence of 2007/2008.
Coupled with witty humor from characters like Inspekta and the Redeem Squad, emotive live music from Shamsi Music backed up by vocalists Manasseh Shalom, Emma Nyabera and Kendi Nkonge & energized spirited dancing from Jims and Dims, the story takes you on a telltale journey that reveals just how far we can go to protect our own interests, no matter the cost.
Bei ya Jioni is not just a riveting play that will leave you at the edge of your seat, it is a wake-up call. It is a sensitizing challenge to the Kenyan people to wake up and tend to their garden. It is a commanding call-to-action to look at who is watering our garden and as a matter of fact, who can do it better and make our roses grow again.
The play is being shown at the Kenya National Theatre between March 24th and April 2nd with shows on Friday at 3 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm & 7 pm. Tickets go for only Kshs 1000 and can be purchased via the Lipa na M-Pesa option Till NO. 565187.
For more details, visit www.chatterbox.co.ke/tickets.