Mnazi: vuta n’kuvute

The curtain fell on the Jukwaani! festival for performance literature today with several great performance; notably; Mnazi:Vuta N’kuvute (Coconut tree: Pull and I pull you), a poem by Abdilatif Abdalla, and Talking Drums.

Musa Adam:Actor, Musician, Rapper and Song writer  Photo by Jerry Riley

Musa Adam:Actor, Musician, Rapper and Song writer Photo by Jerry Riley

The curtain fell on the Jukwaani! festival for performance literature today with several great performances; notably; Mnazi:Vuta N’kuvute (Coconut tree: Pull and I pull you), a poem by Abdilatif Abdalla, and Talking drums of Africa.

Mnazi: Vuta N’kuvute is about a confrontation between two brothers and is related to the struggle between two Kenyan political parties.
Political parties are formed by people with similar political aims and opinions. They are intended to articulate the needs of members and supporters. They are meant to enable supporters to participate in political decisions. But in Kenya and several other African countries, political parties are sometimes formed on the basis of tribe, or on the promise of elevation into power based on affiliations rather than ability to lead.

As a result, our leaders squabble like little children fighting over a toy. They struggle to get into power but like a child and his toy, soon lose interest. There are no true underlying principles on which political parties are founded and so no collective vision and mission for their party. With nothing to hold on to, political parties are easily swayed by the wind and become self-seeking and suspicious of each other.
What a hopeless regime this is, built on mistrust amongst leaders and built on mistrust in our leaders. A regime in which political parties are more easily identifiable by the tribal affiliation than policy.

In Kenya, political parties are formed to drive individuals’ selfish needs. And members are recruited who have similar selfish goals to accomplish to as they perceive it, gain control of the country and have people in power whose main agenda will be to ensure that they take priority in so far as distribution of resources and funding for development is concerned.

There is so much talk of power sharing. But does it really work or does it just look good on paper? That infamous handshake after the 2007 elections still haunts me; plastic smiles and minds racing scheming even then thinking of how and when to deviously get their way, any way, and underrating the intelligence of Kenyans like we would really be bought by their tactless deception.

At the end of the fight in this shairi, Alii, oneof the characters, says:

Ijapokuwa nataka, kukustahamiliya
Iko siku nitachoka, zaidi kuvumiliya
Hapo nitalokufika,litakudhuru vibaya
Jilino nakuapiya

Although I am willing to bear with you,
One day i’ll take it no more
What will then happen to you
Will truly affect you adversely
And I swear on…

Ningenda zangu kumbuka. yote niliyoyanena
Siyatwa kidhihaka, kiketi yawaze sana
Iko siku itafika, haitakawiya tna
Kujulikane bayana

Although I am now leaving,
Reflect deeply my brother on what I said
Do not take it lightly
The day of reckoning will soon be there
Then the whole truth will be known.

Although first written in 1970, this shairi is still relevant to our circumstances in present day Kenya. We clearly have not learnt from our history. We still vow to one day stand up for ourselves; to face our oppressors; to reclaim our humanity.

As 2012 approaches, what is the big plan to reclaim power? What brilliant schemes have the usual suspects cooked up to ensure that they retain power and what are we going to do about it? On what basis will we vote?

Vuta n’kuvute is a well written piece that speaks a truth, which we often try to run away from only until we become directly affected. Until then we are content to hide in our little perfect cocoons with death and destruction all around us.

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