The latest addition to a roster of ever improving shows is the badassery edition, a spinning juggernaut of a story that packs into it a country’s history and by extension its soul.
This edition starts with a bunch of tongue twisters almost as a premonition of things to come. Because the two and a half hours that follow after leave us just as tongue-tied and as confused, Ngartia and Abu Sense have us exactly where they want us. The show this time takes place in a single location, a bar. A silent homage to the sort of heavy honesty our locals have been forced to bear. The owner of the bar (Laura Ekumbo) an outspoken fireball puts her mouth exactly where her gun is, leading with her bullets then her words. Within her premises though, we are transported to the ever magical world of football.
With a sort of boyish charisma, Ngartia and Abu crack open our footballing history and lay it before our eyes, before Oliech, before Kadenge we had heroes, gods among men. It only gets more badass after that as we are seamlessly shifted to the criminal underworld of the nation. Of note, though is the fact that before transitioning to these criminal elements Ngartia throws in a blurb about the economic situation at that time and as much as it seems harmless at first it must hold a deeper meaning.
By showing us what forced these men to these lives Ngartia & Abu (the writers) are forcing an empathy rarely extended to Kenyans past. They are asking us to see these people as just that people. With their struggles and their lives and their fears, it is almost as if they’re telling us that the greatest rebellion is to live. Telling us that to be badass is to be to be human. In quick succession we will meet Elsaphan Njora, Brian Ogolla and Susan Masese and the stories gain new life and new fire. Brian and Susan as a reimagined Kenyan Vincent & Jules (Pulp Fiction) bring an energy and a new dimension to the show that is extremely phenomenal. Anchored on those two characters the show tilts (with a brilliant time travel through local music) to present day where we witness a bomb being built, the promise of survival then eventually death.
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story
When trying to write this review I was reminded of the Hamilton song ‘Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.’ and how that phrase best says what sort of show this was. We watched as people long considered dead, too evil to live even in memory, we’re raised back to life even if in passing even if for a single night and through them dying again we learned of their story, of our story. Also, as a rule, it doesn’t hurt if upon your passing it is Ngartia & Abu that tell your story, there isn’t a
better duo in the land to do it.