Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is set to be feted by Sanaa Theatre Awards, Kenya’s only award ceremony dedicated to the performing arts. Also to be recognised are Odera Owiso and Lupita Nyong’o.
The Sanaa Theatre Awards were set up in 2013 to recognize and awards excellence in the field of theatre in acting, set design, directing, screenplay writing and more. Some of those who have been recognised by these awards in its few years include playwright John Sibi Okumu, thespian and author David Mulwa, as well as authors Asenath Bole Odaga, Majorie Oludhe MacGoye, and Grace Ogot.
The nominees for this year’s edition of the awards were announced at a press conference at the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi on 5th December 2016. The event were presided over by Sanaa Awards founder and CEO George Orido who made several announcements in relation with this year’s event which will be hosted on December 14th, 2016.
“This year we shall be hosting the event at the newly refurbished Kenya National Theatre as opposed to the Alliance Francaise,” said Orido. “The CS (minister) Wario has also promised to attend.”
He went on to announce the different the nominees in nearly 50 categories most of which will be voted for by fans. The new one this year is the Distinguished Diaspora Award which will celebrate Kenyans who have been doing amazing work outside of the country. The award which will not be voted on by fans features Lupita Nyong’o, The Moipei Quartet, Odera Owiso and Edi Gathegi. Lupita Nyong’o doesn’t need any introduction to an African blog but if I must tell you about her, sigh, she won an Oscar recently.
Edi Githegi has become famous in recent years for his appearances on TV shows like House and The Blacklist as well as in movies like Twilight and Gone Baby Gone. No, we all aren’t very proud that a Kenyan featured in the horror that is Twilight: New Moon but we have to live with it and he gets recognised. The Moipei Quartet is famous for their singing prowess having performed on stages all over the world.
Also world famous is Odera Owiso who has been in shows like Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Unforgettable, Blue Bloods, NCIS Los Angeles, Numb3rs, The Unit. On the African literary scene he was the first judge of plays at the Nyanza Literary Festival; unfortunately none was good enough for the award. Unfortunately, this year Odera Owiso passed away so his award will be posthumous.
In the lifetime award this year, those who will be getting feted will be Kuldip Sondhi, JPR Ochieng Odero, Wasambo Were, Caroline Odongo, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. All these names are legendary in Kenyan theatre but the last name will be more familiar with visitors to this blog. Ngugi wa Thiong’o isn’t just a novelist, essayist, academic and all around lover of local languages. He is also a playwright with the most famous being The Trials of Dedan Kimathi which he co-wrote with Micere Mugo another legend.
If you are in Nairobi, you can show up on the 14th of December and see a one in a kind ceremony. You can.