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Depiction of Conflict Resolution 

in Wale Watu and Pieces for Peace

Prepared for The Drum Café 2010 Conference, Nairobi

 By Rosemary N. Kowuor

Daystar University, Kenya



•      This paper draws attention to conflict resolution interventions embedded in two Kenyan films:


Ø Mary Migui/Cajetan Boy’s

   Wale Watu

Ø Robby Bresson/Mburu Kimani’s Peaces for Piece

Introduction Cont…

•      One big influence in the lives of youth is media and entertainment

•      Low budget filmmaking has resulted in sweeping changes in the Kenyan media scene

•      Young people are typically up-to-the-minute on these developments


Youth & Media

•      The impact of media content on African culture poses major threat to Kenyan youth.

•      Young people face severe threats to negative influence and general well-being.

•      What has the local film industry done to enable Kenyan youth make responsible life choices?

Youth & Media Cont…

•      Young people have the tendency to emulate drama cast members they consider as role models.

•      A methodology that informs and motivates mainly by stimulating interpersonal communication among peers is needed for any massive behaviour change to be achieved (Poindexter, 2004).


Study Goal

•      Explore edutainment strategy with the aim of ascertaining the Dynamics that have influenced the development of the edutainment elements in Kenyan film.

•      It has established that Kenyan Film can be a viable advocacy tool for sustainable peaceful coexistence.

Study Objectives

•      To identify dominant social issues addressed by Kenyan filmmakers through film.

•      To establish different ways film characters are shown to cope with social challenges and ascertain the most preferred by viewers in terms of role modeling.

What is Edutainment?

•      The art of integrating social messages into popular and high-quality communication formats, based on a thorough research process (Japheth, 1999) .

•      Commanding the attention of the audience while encouraging their growth and development (de Fossard, 2005)

Edutainment Defined

•      A type of communication which delivers prosocial messages in a pleasurable manner (Njogu 2005).

•      Edutainment is thus any communication initiative that sets out to educate and entertain at the same time.

•      Edutainment film can be an innovative intervention for conflict resolution and sustainability peace

Edutainment’s Definitive Goal

Key Findings

•      Edutainment strategy contributes to social change by influencing an individual’s awareness, attitudes, and behaviour toward a socially desirable end.

•      It can serve as a social mobilizer, an advocate, or an agenda setter, influencing public and policy initiatives in a socially desirable direction.


Film Peace Initiatives…

Ø Wale Watu and Pieces for Peace were a response to the 2007 Kenya’s post election violence.

Ø Titles:

Ø Why do neighbours become ‘those people’ just because a politician has said so?

Ø Do we have to tear one another to pieces to attain peace?


Wale Watu

•      Long shot at the beginning of the film portrays an aura of happy two families celebrating the joy of their children’s wedding plans.

•      A local politician incites the village youth that Daktari has taken their lands, jobs, and women and deserve to be driven out of their village.

Wale Watu  Cont…

Ø Each side of the drive refers to the other as ‘those people’ simply because a politician tells them so.

Ø Why have, all of a sudden,   neighbours they had coexisted with peacefully turned out to be mere ‘those people?’


Pieces for Peace

Ø The plot revolves around two brothers, James and Stanley.

Ø Their father, Mr. Makwere, had bought land among a tribe different from their own.

Ø They have all along lived peacefully.

Ø In a subplot, Wairimu and Rono, are engaged and want to get married.

Ø Irate youth insist that Rono cannot marry Wairimu since she comes from the ‘wrong’ tribe.

Ø Wairimu’s home is burnt down and members of her family seek refuge in an IDP camp.

•      The film ends with the birth of Wairimu and Rono’s child, which symbolizes a new beginning for Kenya.

•      Thematic background music speaks of Kenya as a nation of one people reinforces edutainment message:

–    A call for all Kenyans to bury their tribal differences and uphold peace.

Values Depicted in the Films

Participant Viewers Opinions

•      Looking up to, political leaders to make decisions for us can at times be misguiding.

•      More often than not, it is the same politicians who have an upper hand in the riots that happen in our country due to their selfish political ambitions.


Participant Viewers Opinions…

•      After watching this film, the title (Pieces for Peace) has become a melodious song in my mind to date. I keep wondering:

–   Must we tear one another to pieces before we can forge any lasting peace?

–   Never again!

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films

•      In both films, tribal inclinations spark off clashes that result in massive loss of lives and properties.

•      In Wale Watu, rowdy village youth burn down Daktari’s hospital resulting in his brother’s (Mark) death.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      In Pieces for Peace, Stanley’s business is reduced to ashes by unruly youth incited by local politicians.

•      This serves as a lesson to people who put their hope in politicians to the extent that they turn against their own neighbours.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      The screenwriters made use of shots depicting different camera angles to tell their story in a captivating but educative manner.

•      A scene, in Wale Watu, involving a politician scheming with village youth to attack non-members of the community is presented in low angle shots.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      This provides a distorted perspective, showing a world out of balance.

•      A scene in Robby Bresson’s Wale Watu when Robert is accidentally shot:

–    An oblique shot (dutch angle) is employed as the politician steps over Robert and casually walks away.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      This Presents an overwhelming sense of betrayal and portrays a world where human values and actions are distorted. 

•      It serves the purpose of stirring viewers’ inner emotions resulting in a strong urge to stand united against political misuse of youth.


What Motivates Kenyan Filmmakers?

•      Desire to Instigate Social Transformation

•      Provide Caution

•      Draw Attention to Daily Occurrences

•      Challenging Existing Beliefs/Values

•      Platform for Sharing Ideas

•       Emotional Release/Catharsis

•      Religious Ministry


Summary of Discussion

•     Most of the Kenyan filmmakers base their storyline on societal experiences deduced from personal observation and conversations.

•     Kenyan films under study facilitated dialogue among participant viewers.

•    Through the characters, some participants found archetypical essence of themselves that interact with the social messages.

•     This epitomizes Jung’s theory which is a basis for developing characters that embody universal psychological and physiological characteristics to address themes within a drama.

•    Films that sprang forth from societal experiences appealed to viewers more than the ones that relied heavily on formal research for content generation.

•     The films acted as agenda setter for the participants who arrived at this resolve:

–   It is time to put down our tribal differences aside and live together in peace. This way, we make our society a better place.

•      Politicians are portrayed as inciters, fostering tribalism and nepotism.

•      Wale Watu warns viewers of the dangers of mob mentality.

•      In the end it narrows down to individuals:

–    Robert’s was the politician’s front man but ended up being abandoned by the politicians during his hour of need.

•      Instead, it is Daktari (whom he was incited to kill) who saved his life.


In a Nutshell

•     This study has established that edutainment messages are embedded in some Kenyan films.

•     There has been both deliberate and unconscious effort to use film as tool for promoting peaceful coexistence.



•      In Kenya, an edutainment filmmakers greatest challenge is to understand, appreciate, and respect the knowledge of people’s lived experience not a mere formal research.

•      This mirrors Freirie’s concept of education empowerment, the conceptual framework upon which this study was based.

Conclusion Cont…

•     In Kenyan context this study has coined edutainment definition as:

Ø “The art of integrating popular communication formats based on a thorough understanding of experiences and worldviews of the target audience with the salient aim of initiating change.”


•             Daystar University, Research Department

•             Kenyatta University, Theatre Arts & Film Technology Department

•             Kenya Film Commission

•             Population Services International

•             United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

•             Kenyan Filmmakers

•             God, the Almighty


Parting Shot: It's Not Easy

•      A Ugandan production released in 1991 is another example of edutainment film project of The Development through Self‑Reliance agency.  The film tackles the AIDS issue in a drama.

•      Let us all join hands and use theatre/media for positive change in Africa


•      Film edutainment is lifelong process that may take many years before its impact is tangibly felt in the society.


•      Thank You!


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good work but how do u find new creative people to join you and so far what are the challanges of edutainment in kenya