“REKE MAHIKE” (English translation “LET THEM MARRY”)

Overview
“REKE MAHIKE” (English translation “LET THEM MARRY”), is an upbeat musical play, which made its stage debut in 2019 to very positive reception. This fun love story cum ogre story, that the whole family can enjoy, is performed in the Kikuyu language and has English subtitles.

In the story we will meet a beautiful maiden called Cirũ. Now Cirũ had not married, and this matter is causing much conflict at her home. The problem is that the person she loves is despised by her parents. It came to the point where Cirũ’s father and mother conspired to marry their daughter off by clandestine means. How this conflict resolved forms the substance of the play.

Set in an unspecified time, the tale is, however, structured along well-established modern story frameworks and the musical styles contained in it are varied.

REKE MAHIKE (Synopsis)
Things in the story really get going at a wedding, during which there is an unfortunate scene where a beautiful lady, Cirũ, is embarrassed by her parents for not having married yet. An auction of sorts is announced for the following day, to “sell her off”, but during the bidding, she refuses and sets her price at 1000 goats, an unheard-of amount of dowry. Troubled by this, the parents take her to the council court, but their plea to marry her off by force is denied since it would be in violation of accepted practice. The parents decide they will seek the assistance of a witch doctor who advises them that he can easily sort out their situation.

Meanwhile, we discover that the beautiful lady had a lover called Ngatia, whom she was prepared to marry, but who left the village after being “chased off” by her parents. We discover that he has been living as a wise iron worker’s apprentice in another part of the territory. His mentor and teacher, Karanja, happens to have attended the council case where the beautiful lady was unfairly tried and there, he figures out that his apprentice, Ngatia, is the man she has been waiting for, for many years. Upon his return to the iron-works, Karanja confronts Ngatia, who finally agrees to tell him the touching backstory of how he and Cirũ met, fell in love, and then were broken up.

Fun Facts about the Play:
• A main source of inspiration for the play “REKE MAHIKE” was the author’s experiences during the various rituals he and his fiancée were “put through” in the year leading up to their wedding. A quest for better understanding of a heritage which he felt quite disconnected from ensued and found expression in this Work.
• The play is a work of fiction which presents an artistic expression of ideas drawn from Kikuyu heritage. (It is not at all meant to be chauvinistic/tribalistic.)
• The Kikuyu (also Agĩkũyũ/Gĩkũyũ) are a Bantu tribe native to Central Kenya, but also found in significantly less numbers in Tanzania. At a population of 8,148,668 as of 2019, they account for 17.13% of the total population of Kenya, making them the largest ethnic group in Kenya. - Wikipedia
• Love, tradition, greed, personal choice, faith and redemption are among the dominant themes explored in the story.
• The play is performed in the Kikuyu language.
• The play is subtitled in the English language.
• The play features eight original Kikuyu songs of diverse styles. The music for these songs was almost entirely made on an iPad using the GarageBand app.
• Worth noting is the fact that, though primarily consisting of people of Kikuyu descent, the cast and crew also included people of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
• As of August 2021, the play has been performed only once having first been performed in December 2019, not long before the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, effectively putting plans for future performances on hold. (Thank God we made a rudimentary recording of the performance which now serves to tide us over until the next time.)

  • Gatumia Gatumia
    Director
    KURA
  • Gatumia Gatumia
    Writer
    KURA
  • Beatrice Wanyara Gatumia
    Producer
  • Kerry Kagiri
    Key Cast
    "Ciru"
  • Isaac Kimani
    Key Cast
    "Ngatia"
  • Nyakio Mburu
    Key Cast
    "Mwiri"
  • Nixon Gitahi
    Key Cast
    "Ithe Wa Ciru"
  • Nyawira Macharia
    Key Cast
    "Nyina Wa Ciru"
  • Michael Wallace Karanja
    Key Cast
    "Karanja"
  • Project Type:
    Feature
  • Genres:
    Musical, African, Live Stage Play
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 41 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 12, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Kenya
  • Country of Filming:
    Kenya
  • Language:
    Other
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • K24 Broadcast
    Nairobi
    Kenya
    January 1, 2021
Director Biography - Gatumia Gatumia

Gatumia is a Nairobi based Kenyan with a background in animation. He is married to a lovely lady and they are blessed with two children. He is very keen to do what he can to contribute towards the creation of entertaining, story-driven content, inspired by African Ideas and Perspectives.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Though I was born and raised in the city of Nairobi, with very little connection to Kikuyu heritage or language, I have done my best to write a Kikuyu Musical Play which I believe can be enjoyed by a broad spectrum of society. All the research and personal interactions I engaged in while preparing to do this work have helped me to have a better, more positive, appreciation of Kikuyu heritage and humanity in general. I hope that many people will enjoy the musical play “REKE MAHIKE” regardless of their backgrounds since, in many ways, the themes are quite universal.