23 August 2008

Giant Puppets continue their journey throughout Africa

It's a really heartening experience for any puppeteer to witness their early work spreading throughout the world. I supposed that's the whole point of using Puppetry for Development.

While searching on You Tube today, still in bed recovering from a nasty flu, I came upon a short film of a puppetry group in a little town called Yei in Southern Sudan, not far from the Uganda border. The group are run by an organisation called 'Capor', who are engaged in development and community programmes. It didn't take me long to realise that the giant puppets they were using, were similar to what we used in the late-eighties in southern Africa, performing 'Puppets Against Aids', which was later transported to Kenya and many other African countries. In the film is an interview with the information officer, Sheriff Maguro, one of the original Kenyan puppeteers from CHAPS, whom we started training in the early nineties. Watch the Sudanese group here!

While we were visiting South Africa in 2006, I were invited to fly to Lesotho for the opening of a puppetry group, again using Giant Puppets parading through the streets. I was informed that the Lesotho group had also recently received training from the Kenyan puppeteers. You can see them in the short film clip below!

Then the third coincidence this week was receiving a Face Book message from a puppeteer from a rural group in Uganda, also having undergone recent training by the Kenyans. The few years we spent training puppeteers in Kenya seems to have really paid off. In my eyes, it is one of the major
puppetry success stories to emerge from the African continent in many years.

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