December 19, 2023: The University of Nairobi's, Great Taifa Hall became a stage for raw truth and poignant exploration last week from 8th to 9th December, 2023 with the captivating drama "Botched," presented by the renowned Theatre of the Absurd; A joint initiative of the Faculty of Law and Department of Journalism, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This powerful production, transcending mere entertainment, tackled critical issues of sexual and reproductive health, leaving a lasting impact on students and young audiences across borders.
More than just a captivating story, "Botched" ripped open the veil on a hidden reality within the School of Medicine. The play exposed a web of deceit, where unsafe abortions fueled by greed and silence ran rampant. Students, vulnerable and misinformed, were lured into this dangerous world, highlighting the devastating consequences of unwanted pregnancies and the stigma attached to them.
Amidst the darkness, Hope emerged as a beacon of light. A symbol of resilience and awareness, she tirelessly advocated for positive life choices. Her creation of the RADA app, a hub for reliable information on sexual and reproductive health, empowered students with knowledge and agency. The play also recognized the tireless efforts of the school's often marginalized staff, cleaners, who despite facing resistance, remained committed to educating students about safe practices.
However, the narrative took a dramatic turn with Melvin's betrayal. Initially Hope's confidante, he revealed his involvement in the illegal abortions, shattering trust and adding a layer of complexity to the fight for change. Even Hope's own pregnancy challenged her principles, pushing the boundaries of her advocacy and forcing her to confront a difficult reality.
Yet, from betrayal arose redemption. Melvin's nightmarish vision of a foetus accusing him in court served as a turning point, leading him to break free from the clutches of his past and expose the perpetrators, alongside Justin, Maya, and Patel.
December 19, 2023: "Botched" transcends the stage, functioning as a powerful call to action. It encourages open dialogue about often silenced issues, emphasizes informed decision-making, and fosters a culture of support and empowerment for young people. By sparking crucial conversations and raising awareness, the play contributes to building a healthier and more informed society where young people have access to the knowledge and resources they need to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
Theatre of the Absurd's "Botched" is more than just a play; it's a testament to the transformative power of art. It serves as a reminder that theatre can not only entertain but also educate, inspire, and ultimately, contribute to positive change. This impactful production serves as a beacon of hope, empowering young voices and paving the way for a brighter future where informed choices and healthy lives take center stage.
The three-day Theatre Showcase was entirely organized by students in collaboration with Usawa Health Foundation and with support and guidance from the office of the Dean of Students and Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Nairobi. The play was produced by Carlton Eric Oloo, a fourth year journalism student and Directed/scripted by Marotso Mukwambo, a teacher of drama. Some of the roles were played by Beverly Ngoka (Dean in the play), John Omahe(Melvin), Elvis Mambo (Justin), Henriques Katema (Patel), Keisy Bobie (poet) Jackline Mwikali(Worker), Leah Khoi(Worker) and Joanne Shiveka(Ass. Director), who are all students from the Department of Journalism and the Faculty of Law.