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Friday 11 Jul 2014

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BBC World Service airs Kenyan Mark Mutahi's award-winning play

BBC World Service is to broadcast a play by Kenyan Mark Mutahi entitled The Confession, as part of the BBC African Performance season 2009.

The play, which won Second Prize in this year's African Performance playwriting competition, was inspired by the violence that took place in Kenya following the 2007 elections.

The broadcast of The Confession, at 16.30 GMT on Thursday 30 July, will be introduced by a documentary piece featuring a Kenyan family that was affected by the post-election violence depicted in the play (16.06 GMT). The programme will be repeated for East African audiences at 13.00 GMT on Saturday 1 August.

The Confession is a powerful play that tackles the issue of tribalism.

The central character, Mbasudi, rallies local youths to go on a killing spree, targeting members of a rival tribe which he holds responsible for the defeat of the presidential candidate he supported in the elections.

However, Mbasudi's world is to turn upside down following a revelation from his ailing mother.

Director of the radio drama, the BBC's Alice Muthengi, will introduce the broadcast of the play with a conversation with a family from Nairobi's Kibera district, who were directly affected by events around the disputed presidential elections of 2007.

The Confession is Mark Mutahi's third attempt at winning the African Performance playwriting competition.

Born and brought up in the Nyeri District of Central Kenya, Mark studied Economics at the University of Nairobi.

He says: "My love for stories goes back to childhood, when my late grandfather would narrate stories when he was not listening to his radio. During the school holidays, I would go to his house even before breakfast just to listen to his stories.

"But as I learnt to read and write, I listened less and read more! These days I observe and write more."

The Senior Producer of the BBC African Performance season, Jenny Horrocks, is delighted to have had such a strong entry from East Africa.

She says: "It's great that Mark Mutahi's perseverance has paid off and just goes to show that he's developed himself as a writer.

"They say that everybody has a story to tell, and we'd love to have more Kenyan entries in future.

"The competition will soon be open for the 2010 African Performance season, so keep an eye on the website for further details."

The winner of this year's BBC African Performance competition is Julia Childs (UK).

Her play, Home Sweet Soweto Home, centres on the Mathebulas family whose dreams of fame and fortune are undeterred by their daily grind in the eponymous South African township. But life is about to change for them with the arrival of the first white woman to live in their neighbourhood.

Two plays share third place in the competition. In No More Redemption Songs, Benjamin Kent (Ghana) discusses the state of activism in modern Ghana (Benjamin also came second last year with another play, Funeral Bells).

The other play sharing third place is Naija Bride, by ATK Robinson from Nigeria. This play is about internet dating, 419 (fraud) scams and corruption.

For more information and transmission times, go to

Notes to Editors

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering 32 language and regional services, including: Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, English, English for Africa, English for the Caribbean, French for Africa, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese for Africa, Portuguese for Brazil, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish for Latin America, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

It uses multiple platforms to reach 188 million listeners globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels.

It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices.

Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate.

For more information, visit To find out more about the BBC's English language offer and subscribe to a free e-newsletter, visit

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