TUM students acting a movie dubbed "Maumau" during KUPAA drama festival
It was talents galore at TUM over the weekend of October 13 and 14, as most talented drama troupes from five universities of the North Eastern and Coastal regions gathered to showcase their plays, poetry, comedies and choral verses in the Pwani Chapter drama festival.
The two-day event transformed the Technical University of Mombasa into vibrant arena of creativity, as the institutions -- Pwani University, Taita Taveta University, Garissa University, Lukenya University and TUM – tried to outdo each other in the colourful drama festival organized by the Kenya Universities Performing Arts Association (KUPAA).
The theme ‘Supporting Economic Transformation through Performing Arts’ echoed through the university’s environ, as various students with diverse talents from different universities, dressed in unique attires shook the ground with creativity. This theme was lauded to be in line with the events’ wajibika slogan.
The theme was very significant to the participants; it gave them an opportunity to realize the power of art in inspiring change in the society thus being among the many factors that drive the economy as the art fosters creativity, critical thinking and teamwork.
The air was filled with anticipation as the Vice Chancellor Prof Leila Abubakar through the Director of Quality Assurance who also doubles as the Head of Partnership Research and Innovation (TUM) Dr Sylvia Mutua officially opened the event in the presence of KUPAA officials under the leadership of Dr Violet Aura.
Dr Aura lauded the KUPAA for their efforts toward this year’s festival that would foster creativity and innovation amongst the students.
“Let me extend my deepest gratitude to the Kenya Universities Performing Arts Association for orchestrating this year’s festival with exceptional finesse. We anticipate that this spirit of excellence will endure in the years to come, further igniting the flames of creativity and innovation within our student community,” said Prof Laila in her speech read on her behalf by Dr (Ms) Mutua.
Prof Laila categorical that TUM being a center of global excellence in pursuit of knowledge, science and technology is committed to nurturing talents and fostering creativity among the students especially considering the creative industry has impacted the world a great deal as exemplified by the Nollywood (Nigeria), Bollywood (India) and the American Hollywood that have become phenomenal in job creation.
“As universities and within KUPAA, we are committed to nurturing drama, dance and theatre, recognizing the profound potential. Considering the global impact of Hollywood in America, Bollywood in India and Nollywood in Nigeria, it is evident that these industries are testimony to the economic potential that the performing arts hold.” said Prof Laila.
Mr Joel Awino, the Dean of Students at TUM, graced the occasion hence motivating the students by demonstrating that the University values their contributions outside the academia.
In his address, Mr Awino was categorical that the event was beyond competition thus serving as a platform for interaction amongst the participants and those in the industry thus fostering unity. He lauded the high quality of the performances.
“This festival not only highlights the artistic talents of our students but also reinforces the spirit of unity amongst our institutions,” Mr Awino added.
KUPAA leaders, the event organizers, through their Chairperson Dr Violet Aura acknowledged the blend of creativity, artistry and culture observed from the performers. They applauded the students for their exceptional contribution, promising to work round the clock in ensuring that the talents of the participants are nurtured and brought to lime light.
“I am very delighted by the performance of our students, in deed you’ve done it nicely. As KUPAA we are ready to serve you in realizing your dreams towards artistry,” Dr Aura said.
The event was characterized by explosive performances from historical play, spoken words, poetry, radio theatre, puppetry, parody, mash up, songs and dances.
The guest of honor for the day Mr Daudi Otieno Anguka who is the CEO AR Films emphasized on the role universities play in fostering the creativity of the students urging that the institutions should not only nurture academic excellence, but also provide an environment for where creativity and expression flourish.
He pointed out that the industry is currently in need of new talents that can raise the bar higher.
“What you aren’t aware of is that currently Mombasa lacks upcoming artists. I would be glad seeing many of the university students from coastal region coming to my auditions so that we get new talent. I believe that if you can transform these talents from stage to the field then you shall get there,” Anguka said.
He said that his presence in the event was to look for partnership with the talented individuals so that they work together in the vision of expounding the creative industry.
“Don’t get stranded looking for a job after your university education yet you are talented. Industry making pays, acting pays and that’s where I am today. Being in industry, I promise to lead you in your pursuits to artistry desires,” said Anguka who is also a TUM alumnus.
Awards to the Victors
As the event concluded, awards were bestowed upon the most captivating performances. Pwani University was crowed the best university overall, thus emerging as the indisputable champion in the Coastal and North Eastern Chapter beating their close rival the Technical University of Mombasa which was the first runners up. In third position was Taita Taveta University.
Their ability to contest in many of the categories and their captivating performance resonated well with what the adjudicators believed to be the core identity of the industry.
Garissa University got an award for being the most disciplined university in the entire competition. Also, it proved to be the best in stand-up comedy followed by Lukenya University.
For modeling category, Lukenya emerged the best followed by Technical University of Mombasa and Pwani University respectively.
In other categories, Pwani University was ranked the best institution in the overall winning play. It also emerged the best in English play followed by Taita Taveta University and Technical University of Mombasa, respectively.
For the spoken word, Pwani University ruled the day followed by Garissa University and then Taita Taveta University (TTU). Pwani University also emerged the best in narrative category followed by Technical University of Mombasa and Lukenya University as the 2nd runners up, musical play.
The best actor by the name John Kisangau also came from Pwani University. Pendo Shirley from Taita Taveta university was crowned the best actress for the event.
TUM took the lead in the four categories including the Kiswahili plays followed by Pwani University and Garissa University respectively. They also took the lead on historical paly, street dance and choral verse. For choral verse, TUM took the lead followed by Taita Taveta University and Pwani University in the 3rd position.
Looming national contest
As the KUPAA Pwani Chapter drama festival reached its climax, the attention turned to upcoming national showcase slated for November 3 to 11 at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri. That is where the best three in every category would be expected to showcase their talents, thus representing the region at the national stage.
By Tobias Ochieng (Tobias Ochieng is a 3rd year student pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Broadcast Journalism (BBJ)