The Otonglo narrator: Will this talent go to waste?
By Henry Onyango
President Kenyatta with the Otonglo narrator and his family when he visted him at Statehouse last year
During the National drama festival held in Mombasa in April 2013, a young man, Daniel Owira surprised many after he evoked the emotions of both President Uhuru Kenyatta and first lady Margaret Kenyatta.
The 23 year -old student was simply amazing. After intense lobbying by the media that attracted a handful of sponsors to see the boy finish his education and to assist his family from abject poverty in Nairobi’s Fuata Nyayo slums in South B, President Kenyatta finally came to the rescue of the now popular ‘Otonglo’ narrator.
President Kenyatta promised to pay school fee for Daniel Owira till university.
Consequently Otonglo boy even got endorsements from Naivas supermarket. He was reportedly paid Ksh 200,000 for the ‘Back to school Naivas advert that was aired across major local television and radio stations in Kenya.
The narrator also made a guest appearance in Kenya’s Citizen TV comedy programme, Inspekta Mwala. Most Kenyan media houses stations equally wanted to identify with Owira.
Nearly four months down the line the story is no more on the public domain with questions lingering whether the talent could be heading to an abyss.
According to experts, President Uhuru Kenyatta and the sponsors would have concentrated more on the talent of the narrator rather than delving solely on sponsoring him to clear his studies.
Critics of Kenya’s 8-4-4 education system argue it does not nurture talents and the narrator’s wonderful humorous skills could be heading to waste if no one comes to his rescue in good time.
“President Kenyatta and the sponsors must think about the talent the boy has not necessarily taking him to school”, says Benard Mwanja, a lecturer in a local varsity.
Mwanja says that as much as the Otonglo narrator amongst other talented children in Kenya are made to undergo their studies in the 8-4-4 system it must be considered that talents need to be the key consideration in the institutions of learning.
Kenya is saturated with acting talent across the age ranges, from kids, teenagers, young adults and adults, as witnessed on local TV programmes, and in theatres and school drama festivals.
All this exciting news is evidence of how far Kenya has come with production and acting talent. Kenyan viewers are now enjoying locally made TV shows and even theatre plays have become a hit.
The now famous Daniel Owira tussle with promoters and family members on who ought to manage him couple of days after the he shot to fame is said to directly have created an impact on his progress.
NTV news anchor Larry Madowo, who claims to have spearheaded Owira campaign in the social media till President Kenyatta came to his rescue is reported to have maintained that he would be his promoter.
Owira’s sister, Promoter Big Ted and the script writer of the ‘Otonglo time’ Clifford Ouma popularly known as Nyakwar Dani who also doubles up as a drama teacher at Highway Secondary School were reported to be scrambling for Owira.
The Otonglo narrator story is that of a young man who leaves his rural home to look for a better life in the city. But life in the town is worse. He later returns to the village where he starts a project that becomes successful. According to the script writer Clifford Ouma commonly known as ‘Nyakwar Dani’ the Otonglo story revolves on devolution urging Kenyans to utilize properly the resources instead of running to the city to look for jobs.
UN report says that Nairobi city will be full in the next five years if the rural-urban migration menace is not effectively controlled.
-Courtesy Class Magazine