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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid