The Goethe Institut in Nairobi has announced that a reading of the play originally written by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Micere Mugo will be one of the Institut’s events for the month of September.
Set to begin on September 1, the play reading will be curated by Esther Kamba and will be an imaginative recreation of the life of one of Kenya’s heroes.
Dedan Kimathi is widely regarded as the revolutionary leader who led the armed military struggle against the British colonial regime in Kenya in the 1950s before his capture in 1956 and execution in 1957. Kimathi is credited with leading efforts to create formal military structures within the Mau Mau, and convening a war council in 1953.
As a consequence of his role in the MauMau uprising, Kimathi was the subject of British propaganda which was aimed at painting him as a vicious terrorist. In response to this, writers Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Micere Mugo wrote the play as a counter to the colonialist writings about the Mau Mau rebellion and its leaders. Contrary to what the title of the book may suggest, it is not Dedani Kimathi on trial but colonialism and the British colonial justice system.
Speaking about the play’s main objective, the institut said, “The Trial of Dedan Kimathi is to sing the praises of the deeds of this hero of the resistance who refused to surrender to British imperialism. It is not a reproduction of the farcical “trial” at Nyeri.”
Adding, “ it is “an imaginative recreation and interpretation of the collective will of the Kenyan peasants and workers in their refusal to break under sixty years of colonial torture and ruthless oppression by the British ruling classes and their continued determination to resist exploitation, oppression and new forms of enslavement.”
Entry is free.