Haiku and Other Poems from Kenya

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About the author

Odiedo Stephen

 

As a poet, playwright, essayist and novelist my writing dramatizes individuals confronting the fearsome might of the almighty African state in 3rd Millennium Africa. This is the fearful drama of lives violently torn apart on the urban African landscape – lives caught at the crossroads of modern Africa. I write on the tragic drama of lives cast adrift by the death of an anchoring ancient tradition killed by the triumphant march of the fearsome African state.

AFRAHA is the drama of lives dominated by the tragic irony that the almighty African state, the new secular god welcomed with so much hope and fanfare at independence in the last millennium, is now this fearsome monster devouring all: the “enemies of the state.” As the ironic “withering of the state” gathers pace, uprooted Africans are rushing back into the past to resurrect a monstrous version of a long rejected tradition – shattering lives outcast from tradition and targeted as “enemies” by a vengeful remorseless African state unrestrained neither by tradition (discredited) nor by constitutional law (elitist, effete, ineffectual against the state).  

My play TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE was the 1st Prize Award winner of the DAILY NATION NEWSPAPER 1995 playwriting competition. My plays have been shortlisted on BBC African Performance and BBC International Playwriting Competition. OSIRIS OF THE SLUMS - submitted to the BBC International Playwrights Competition was a finalist for the 1999 BBC International Competition.

THE DAILY NATION NEWSPAPER shortchanged me by refusing to honour its contract to my play TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE which was the 1995 1st Prize Award winner of the DAILY NATION NEWSPAPER playwriting competition. East and Central Africa’s leading media house has ignored its contractual obligations to my wining play without fear of any consequences whatsoever since in Kenya your rights can and will be taken away without anyone lifting a finger. Since 1995 none at the giant media house has ever raised their voice against this injustice in spite of the fact that the DAILY NATION’S slogan is truth and integrity. Though unable to get the giant media house to right this injustice, this damnatio memoriae against me and my award-wining play TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE I continue to write.