Unmasking the voices of poverty

Saturday May 18 2013

Dancers from Sosolya Ndugu Dance Academy perform

Dancers from Sosolya Ndugu Dance Academy perform at a previous event. 10 of them were part of the Dooms Day a Cry of the People show. NET PHOTO 


“Is this world so poor that some must continue to die from extreme poverty and hunger? a narrator asks aloud in a theatre dance production, Dooms Day A Cry of The People.

“The answer is a mystery,” he replies, adding: “This world isn’t that poor as the media portrays it to be,” “Is Africa so poor that some people must continue to die in absolute poverty and hunger? The answer once again is a mystery. Our maker put us here because He created this world and he knows there is enough to sustain everyone.”
“If so, then why must some people continue to die from extreme poverty and hunger? The answer is very simple; greed and wickedness. This world is full of some very greedy and wicked bastards who think just about themselves and nobody else,” the narrator continues.

“I am an African, I grew up in the sub-Sahara and I do know how things work in Africa. So let me use Africa as an example and I will show you why the poor in Africa should rise up and fight the greedy and the wicked amongst us. The longer we continue to wait, the more we condemn to death our children and grandchildren,” he adds.
“The longer we continue to wait, the more we condemn to death the aged, the innocent, and the sick that cannot fight. We who can run will run but what about those who cannot run? The longer we stay in silence, the more we condemn to death such poor innocent souls. The time has come for us all to stand up and say enough is enough!” He suggests.

The dance production is set in present day Uganda where corruption, nepotism, greed, poverty and complacency, among other vices have become the norm.

This has left the citizens wondering whether their beloved nation is not about to collapse. The 50-minute production by the Yutta Konvictz Society was shown on March 29, 2013 at the National Theatre in Kampala. The producers employed African contemporary dance fused with the different elements of contemporary dance.

Ten dancers who were accompanied by 10 children from Sosolya Ndugu Dance Academy performed on contemporary Western lyrical music which included :You Only Disappear by Tom McCrea, Something to be by Rob Thomas and Carmina Buruma by Carol Orff.
The narrator laments that: “The rich get richer while innocent people continue to die in absolute poverty and hunger. Africa has all it takes to be the greatest continent in terms of fighting poverty and hunger. Africa has all it takes to be the best society to live in. Yet what do we see? The very few corrupt and wicked-minded politicians continue to tear the continent into pieces. They continue to enjoy while the innocent continue to die. The question remains, why is Africa poor?”


“Africa is poor because we Africans are not ready to get out of poverty. Our leaders are extremely corrupt and unreliable yet we continue to bow down to them. We have the resources and all it takes to be the richest continent on earth yet millions continue to die in extreme poverty and hunger in Africa today and in this nation,” he adds.
“We want to open people’s eyes to the reality of these vices so that they can shun them and join those who are fighting the culprits, get solutions and put the culprits to book.
Our hope and goal is that at the end of this production, we would have spoken out so loud that the culprits and those charged with this nation will have the mandate to care for every citizen,” the producers said.

“So many stories surround us concerning these issues but some people subconsciously never keep the memories of the stories and we only talk about them, in offices, in homes, even in public places you hear people talk about how so and so has taken this money, this other money was lost, sometimes we even tend to give solutions to this problems but its normally mere talk and that’s it,” the director of the production, Kenneth Desire Tereka said in an interview with the EastAfrican.

He believes that the role of theatre in addressing these social hills is simply informing, empowering and sensitising communities.

The director’s motivation

Kenneth Desire Tereka, the director of Dooms day a Cry of the people, says, his biggest motivation during the formation of this dance piece was to challenge himself to constantly think creatively and also try and engage in research for the purpose during the creation.
“This being my duty as an artiste, the motivation really came about because some stories were really abstract or not easily predictable, so I found it really interesting although very sensitive which indeed highlights the seriousness of the story.
But also, this kind of performance will basically help motivate the rest of the performers to understand the purpose to perform with aid of such sensitive information,” Tereka, a dancer and choreographer, argues.