There is a bit of work coming out in the recent past about the crisis that Kenya that Kenya went through over a disputed election in 2007/8. The film that comes quickly to mind is Something Necessary by our Judy Kibinge about a young woman trying to rebuild her life after the madness. There has been quite bit of stuff done on the same topic with exhibitions, plays and more to remind Kenya of the time we nearly lost it.
This Monday saw the latest entry into that post election crisis art with two short films by film maker Zippy Kimundu (pictured). The first of these was Burnt Forest starring Cindy Kahura, Nungari Kang’ethe, Charles Karumi and Joseph Gachanja in a tale of the interrupted lives of people at the grassroots during the post election crisis. Mumbi is a young girl who is in the rift valley with a young male friend Kibet. She has to leave that environment fast when an old man dies during the tensions of the crisis.
The one thing that I don’t like about the film is the use of the two communities terms; “Kikuyus and Kalenjins have lived together for years until the clashes” etc. There weren’t just two communities involved in the whole crisis. That part of the country had and still has a bit of everyone in Kenya so that is too simplistic a look at the crisis. What I do love are the landscapes in the movie as well as some decent acting especially from lead actress Cindy as Mumbi who drove me nuts with her portrayal of a head strong young woman. That was quite good. The script was pretty tight as well. You can watch the trailer here. The movie has been nominated for best short film at the African Movie Academy Awards.
Also screening on the evening was Give Me back My Home a documentary on when Zippy goes back to her former home in Burnt Forest for the first time in almost two decades. This movie is a gem and we see the film maker’s pain as recalls the life she left from before 1991/2. This is seen as she meets old friends and reminisces on the clashes that one point saw them escape their home as it was burned to the ground to hide in the forest. Great documentary there.
If you want to know more about the clashes you want to watch this documentary if you can get the chance. You can also read The Last Villains of Molo an excellent book by writer Kinyanjui Kombanion the same topic.
The turnout at the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi was very good as Zippy is a popular personality and I was able to chill with some folks like actor Ainea Ojiambo (his column in The Nairobian is gold!), Waudo Siganga of Heartstrings and a few other folks.