Kenyan NGO S.A.F.E. (www.safekenya.org), which uses street theatre and film to deliver social change, has released a feature film in an effort to promote peace ahead of the 4th March elections.
The Kenyan post-election violence of 2007/8 resulted in the death of over 1,300 people and internal displacement of about 750,000 people.
Many see the violence that erupted then as only the beginning of a much larger conflict that is likely to escalate again at the next election.
The film, “Ni Sisi” (‘It Is Us’), is the movie adaptation of S.A.F.E.’s long-running popular street theatre play of the same name. The film’s key aim is to remind Kenyans that it is individuals who have the power to say no to the factors critical in the post-election violence of 2007/2008: tribalism, rumours and corruption.
The story pivots around the theme of Kenyan identity, youth empowerment, forgiveness and personal accountability for keeping peace. The objective of the film is to empower individuals to bring change to Kenya, as the characters say in the film: “It is us who fought, it us who killed, it is us who spread rumours. But it is also us who can change things, it is us who have the power to challenge bad leadership, it is us who create our community.”
Through “Ni Sisi”, S.A.F.E. hopes to help people to recognise their own role in the 2007/8 violence, and their ability to create peace.
The film features actors famous across Kenyan stage and screen, including Joseph Babu Kimani, star of “Nairobi Half Life” and winner of Best Actor at Durban International Film Festival 2012, and Jacky Vike, “Papa Shirandula’s” Awinja.
S.A.F.E. Executive Director Nick Reding, who directed the movie, said: “Promoting peace is the most important project S.A.F.E. has ever undertaken. Violence threatens everyone in Kenya and undermines the work being done to overcome other social challenges such as HIV/AIDS. Both the play and film of “Ni Sisi” help Kenyans to examine identity and explore the complex issues surrounding post-election violence and take individual responsibility for keeping peace this year. We hope as many people as possible see the film.”
Joseph ‘Babu’ Kimani, who plays the lead in “Ni Sisi” said: “Starring in “Ni Sisi” has given me an opportunity to use my talent to make a difference and advocate for peace, reconciliation, co-existence and unity for my country. This is especially important now the elections are just around the corner. “Ni Sisi” enhances and fosters our united Kenyan identity and it is through this united identity that we will avoid a repeat of the violence of 2007/8. I hope that anyone who has watched the play or film of “Ni Sisi” will realise that the change we seek for this nation will come from us and start with individuals. Everyone has to spread that message. “Ni Sisi!”
“Ni Sisi” was launched at the Australian High Commission in Nairobi on 21st February, and released to cinemas on 22nd February. It will be shown on TV, at local screenings and via DVD in the week leading up to the election.
Visit www.facebook.com/nisisifilm for more information about where to see the film and how to promote the message of peace.