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Freedom fighter Bildad Kaggia brought to life in a play this weekend

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 (Nairobi, Longhorn Publishers),” 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.

Jomo Kenyatta went on to become the president of Kenya.

However, both during and after their shared experience, he had fraught relations with some of his fellow detainees.

Bildad Kaggia was the target of Kenyatta’s particular scorn and derision for having refused to take advantage of his position as a political leader for personal gain and for forever harking back on the issue of equitable land distribution after independence.

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 Kaggia’s wife Wambui , Justin Mirichii playing Xan and Mwajuma Belle playing Stacey.

Mwajuma made her debut in stage acting in 2010 doing set books at the Kenya National Theatre. She then join the stage of the professionals and public shows actors at Phoenix players. She has worked with the best of Theatre Productions like Festival of Creative arts(FCA), Friends Ensemble, Theatre company, Phoenix players and many others.

Lucy Njoroge on her part, is known for her 2017 best supporting actress award at the Kalasha International Awards. She has previously worked on stage with Phoenix players, Heartstrings Kenya, Fanaka Arts Kenya.

Justin Mirichii is known for having featured in over five Africa Magic Original Films (AMOF), and more than ten local series, numerous short films and a host of theatrical productions.

He was featured in the Hamburg Media School’s ‘Watu Wote – All Of Us’, a 2016 short film that was nominated for the 90th Oscars (2018).

Most renowned for his works as a playwright and director Martin Kigondu is an adept actor whose performances have been featured at the Phoenix Players, Theatre Company of Kenya and Prevail Arts Company over the years.

The play will run from the 13th to the 15th of December, with Tickets on sale moohk.com.

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