News / Africa

Kenyan Political Satire Show Prepares for Elections

Kenyan Political Satire Show Prepares for Electionsi
X
February 28, 2013 5:02 PM
The XYZ Show is an enormously popular political satire television show in Kenya. It has a fan base of 8 million viewers per month. The show uses puppets as caricatures of political leaders and to highlight political issues in the country. With Kenya’s general elections set for Monday, the program’s creators and crew are working overtime to satisfy their audience's craving for a good laugh. Jill Craig reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Kenyan Political Satire Show Prepares for Elections
Jill Craig
The XYZ Show is an enormously popular political satire television show in Kenya. It has a fan base of 8 million viewers per month. The show uses puppets as caricatures of political leaders and to highlight political issues in the country. With Kenya’s general elections set for Monday, the program’s creators and crew are working overtime to satisfy their audience's craving for a good laugh.

The XYZ Show, now in its seventh season, satirizes Kenya’s politicians and other personalities using puppets. No well-known figure is spared, and right now, political candidates are being lampooned in the lead-up to next week’s election.  

"People in Kenya love politics - we eat, live, sleep politics," said Brian Kyallo Msafiri, the show's director. "And especially toward an election year, that’s all people talk about. I’d say right now, the whole country is very polarized and people have taken sides and all conversations, whether on social media, on streets, on corners, in villages, is all revolving around politics.”

One of the show’s fans is Jacquie Mwai, a public relations consultant from Nairobi.

“So the humor brings in a way of softening up what we’re really thinking about these politicians, especially with all the scandals they have. It’s good to use humor to expose these people without making it tense for Kenyans, especially during this political time,” she said.

But a show that pushes boundaries and presents the country’s leaders in a less-than-positive light is bound to spark criticism.

Nevertheless, XYZ’s creator and co-producer, who goes by the name Gado, said the show's success means Kenya is moving in the right direction.

“Sometimes, yes, we’ve been threatened and we’ve been sued, threatened to be sued. I think the television [stations] we’ve worked with have received numerous complaints from politicians and threats also. This can only show you that Kenya as a democracy is growing," said Gado.

Director Msafiri believes that XYZ also is encouraging Kenyans to reflect on their responsibilities as citizens.

“The beauty also about the show is that it gives Kenyans an opportunity to look at themselves because we choose the leaders that lead this country," he said. "So when we poke fun at our leaders, in a sense we are also poking fun at ourselves because we are poking fun at the choices we make.”

The show is funded by grants from the Ford Foundation and Open Society Institute, among others.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: andre
March 03, 2013 11:34 PM
Try such satire in Zimbabwe and you are sure to be jailed and then deported.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid