Kenya’s Gangsta Story Retold #TEFBadassery
The world is full of unbelievable gangsta stories from the likes of Al Capone, Frank Lucas, John Gotti and many more. These are men who’ve risen up the ranks in the world of crime and earned themselves notoriety across the globe. Stories of gangstas, both true and fiction, have made it on to the major screen with award winning movies such us The Godfather, American Gangster and Goodfellas. We’ve grown to know all these men and women from across the seas but little is known of those who’ve made a name for themselves in the country.
Over the weekend, the cast and crew of Too Early for Birds took to the stage at the Kenya National Theater to tell the stories of some of Kenya’s most famous gangstas and police men and women. The show, on it’s third version, was sold out earlier in the week and everyone was eager to see what the dynamic duo of Ngartia and Abu Sense would come up with.
Like most things Kenyan, we had to wait a few more minutes past the stated time for the doors to open which finally happened a few minutes past seven. The crowd had been patiently waiting outside and within a few minutes the theater was packed to capacity.
The show kicked of after house rules were given with the audience challenged to memorize and recite eight tongue twisters by members of the cast. Once that was done, a fun exercise I might add, the lights went off, silence got knocked up and off we went.
Infamous names in Kenya’s history were dropped. Nicodemus Arudhi, Patrick Shaw, Wacucu, Wanugu, Rasta and Seronei. Some stories felt straight out of a novel like the fact that one of Kenya’s biggest footballers was also one of her biggest gangstas and he managed to still play for the country’s national team while serving a prison sentence. You can’t make these stuff up.
The cast found a way to tell tales of Kenya’s worst of the worst while still making you laugh and at times sing along. It was a talented cast and you could see that on stage especially the performance by Elsaphan Njora who was, to me, the stand out performer.
At the end of the day, this was time and money well spent and great way to start the year. I enjoyed it together with my best friend and ran into people I have not seen in years and some I only know via their online personas. The show has set the bar for the year and is a sign of the massive growth of Nairobi’s, and by extent the country’s, creative scene.
If you missed out on don’t worry. Due to public demand there is a show this Friday. Make sure you grab yourself a ticket and get to be part of the most creative history class in Kenya.