Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Controversial Play Returns After 30 Years.

Kenyan reknowed writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is an acclaimed Kenyan scholar. He has written many books and plays one of which was banned. “I will marry when I want” is the said controversial play.

The play was written by Ngugi Wa Mirii and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o in 1977 was banned by the Kenyan authorities. This play was first performed at the Kamiriithu community Training and Social Center, an outdoor theater at Kamiriithu in Limuru.

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o arrested

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and his co-author Ngugi Wa Mirii were arrested in December 1977. However, they were later released in December 1978 following the death of then-president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Soon after, they went into exile. Mirii took refuge in Zimbabwe whereas Ngugi went to the UK and later settled in the US. Mirii later died in 2008.

 The ban

The controversial play was very popular. It ran for some time before it was banned. “I Will Marry When I Want” is set in post-colonial Kenya. The themes centered on capitalism, politics, corruption of religion and hypocrisy. This is the cause of it being banned by the authorities.

The government at that time had strict laws on what to put out for the public.During that time, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the president. He was a very authoritative leader.

The play is a love comedy, a satire on religion and  mocking political attack.

After it was restricted in Kenya, the play found a group of people in the western world. It is now and again read and concentrated in school and college classes.

On May 1, 2009, the play was performed at the College of Chicago. The African and Caribbean Understudies Affiliation arranged to a sold-out group.


The plot

The story starts with a Kenyan farm worker, kiguunda and his wife wangeci . Concentrates on their struggles to guard their small piece of land. They have to keep it from being bought out to erect an insecticide factory.

The only thing they have to their name is a title deed to their one and a half acres of land.

The show feels for the worker looking at how the individuals who battled for Kenya’s freedom become degenerate with control and plot with the settlers to keep their financial solid footing in the nation just as how religion and Christian preacher scheme to confuse monetary difficulties.

Nash Stuart, the Nairobi Performing Expressions Studio chief, addressing Saturday Standard expressed that they were right now auditioning and everything was set up for debut.

“Without precedent for a long time, the play will be staged at the Kenya National Theater. We are right now doing the casting. It will likewise stamp the first run through, the play will be organized in English,” Nash Stuart.