PROF Chris L. Wanjala
Prof Chris Wanjala who has been the Chairman of the Sanaa Theatre Awards Jury since its inception in 2013 has passed away aged 74 and was buried last month in his home in Western Kenya. Artsites, writers, publishers, friends and family came together in a moving cultural tribute at the Kenya National theatre. This year one of the awards has been named after him in his honour for the service and professional input he has grown the Awards and Literature in Africa. In 2015 the Executive of Sanaa Theatre Awards conferred in hi the Lifetime Achievement Award ta the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi. Towards the end of 2012 Prof Chris Wanjala was conferred the award and honour of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear by President Kibaki in recognition of his outstanding and distinguished service rendered to the Kenyan nation as a university academic, literary scholar, writer, critic, and man of culture. Prof Wanjala has served as chairman of the National Book Development Council of Kenya, chairman of the technical committee drafting the Kenya National Heritage and Cultural Policy, chairman of Linguistics and Translations Rights Committee at International PEN Kenya Chapter and former director of Institute of African Studies. Prof Wanjala is an icon known in academic circles as Kenya’s foremost literary critic and historian. He is a repository of knowledge with a rare photographic memory of books read, writers met, places visited and students taught. As critic, he is spokesperson of his contemporaries. But Chris has such a misleading mien of a harmless academic, that is, until you cross his path, for then you will rue what discourse did delight than his wrath will wrought!
Dr Fred Mbogo
Dr Fred Mbogo holds a Phd in Literature from Moi University where he teaches drama and and has been CO-Chair of the Sanaa Theatre Awards Jury since 2015. He now takes over as the Chairman of the Jury. His Masters degree in drama and theatre arts ifs from Witwaterstrand University of South Africa and B.A degree in Literature of Egerton University. Dr Mbogo is a seasoned actor, playwright, director and producer who specializes on tragedies. Dr Mbogo is also a panelist at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development where school texts are vetted and okayed for teaching in Kenyan schools.
Nicholas Moipei is the founder and director of the Moipei Quartet – the Angelic vocal group that has taken this nation by storm. He is also the father of the four sisters in the Quartet. Moipei’s involvement in the Kenyan music and art scene spans decades and is currently the Chairman of the annual Kenya Music Festival that involves over 10,000 participants in music, drama, fashion, visual art, culinary art and sheer traditional preservation of the Kenyan art. He holds a degree in education and has taught music at Kabarak High School as well as Brookhouse school. Moipei has served as the Cahirman at the Kenya Cultural Centre Governing Council under whose watch Kenya Breweries released KSh 100 million to fund the ongoing refurbishment of the Kenya National Theatre. It is also here that the Sanaa Theatre Awards 2016 Gala Night will be held on December 14, 2016.
Dr Margaretta wa Gacheru
Her byline is Margaretta wa Gacheru, a name that is as local as it can get. To her colleagues in media and friends in the world of the arts, she is simply Wa Gacheru. On Buru Buru’s route 58, she is known as mama Migwi. Migwi is her son. Her 40-year-old love affair with Kenya, the Kenyan people and Kenyan art stretches back to 1974 when she first came to the country on a student exchange programme. She arrived as Margaretta Swigert, which was her maiden name. With seven degrees under her belt, Margaretta could easily be the most educated woman for miles around. In the media and arts world, she is known as the slightly built white woman ever in a fast stride, moving from one assignment to the next. Yet her name has misled hundreds of thousands of newspaper readers who have followed her writing career over the last 40 years. “I made my debut in the play, The Trial of Dedan Kimathi. With me on stage was, Stephen Mwenesi, Kenneth Watene and Sibi Okumu. I was later invited by Ruganda to join the university’s travelling theatre.” Recalls Mragaretta in a recent interview . Margatretta is a meber of the Sanaa Theatre Awards 2016 Jury.
Grace Kerongo is the Entertainment Editor at The Star Newspaper and is renown for her sassy column, Word Is. She has also worked for Radio Africa’s Kiss 100 and Classic 105.2 generating content. Today Grace is an influential commentator on the art, culture and entertainment in the country and is an authority on trends around performing arts. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Management of Maseno University.
Yussuf Mwinyihija teaches drama and theatre at Technical University of Mombasa. He has produced and directed many winning plays at the annual Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival. He is also renown for his act on Kenyan Television especially in Fluent Coastal Kiswahili.
Obat Masira has a theatre experience spanning three decades and is currently the convener of the Lake Victoria Film and Theatre Awards. He is also the director of Misango Arts Ensemble and the Sanaa Theatre Awards Western Kenya Coordinator. He is a Theatre Director, Filmmaker, Film Director, Playwright, Poet and an adjudicator. Obat has theater and drama qualifications form Cardiff University in Wales.
Kwamboka Oyaro holds a Master of Arts degree in Communications of the University of Nairobi and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism form Auckland University of Technology. Kwamboka is a holder of a Bachelor of Education degree in Literature and Linguistics of Kenyatta University. She is formerly the Features Editor at The Standard Group and is credited with increased space and coverage of theatre when she edited The Sunday Magazine, The Standard X-Tra and currently Life Magazine. Today Kwamboka is a member of the Complaints Committe of the Media Council of Kenya and a executive committee member of the Kenya Union of Journalists
Sanaa Theatre Awards Founder and Director Mr. George Orido is a celebrated playwright, producer, actor and critic with immense experience in local and international stage. He has been involved with such productions as Broken Vows, KBC Radio Theatre, The Agency, Block D, Afurika Pole Pole, Mbalamwezi’s Labour of Living. Orido is a Fellow of the International Visitor Leadership Program (Washington D.C, New York, Utah and Hawaii in the US) and has worked in other counties including Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Tanzania. Orido is regular adjudicator at the Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival, has been part of the international jury at the Kenya International Film Festival among others. He is the founder and CEO Sanaa Theatre Awards (STA). In February 2015, Orido through the Tone Theatre Productions will be adapting and directing Maya Angelou’s poetry to celebrate freedoms and human rights through poetry. Orido is holds a bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Mathematics of Egerton University as well as a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies of the University of Nairobi. He is an award winning journalist having won among others the CCAWA Journalist of the Year 2015. He is the Technical Advisor to the Sanaa Theatre Awards Jury.