A comparative study of the visions and styles of Francis Imbuga and John Ruganda
Kyalo, Joshua Wellington
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The aim of our study is to compare how the prevailing social and political conditions in East Africa, especially in the post-independence period, influence the dramas of Francis Imbuga and John Ruganda. We set out to examine the influence of East African reality on their plays, and to explore some of the dramatic techniques they have adopted for effective transmission of this reality. Thus, our major task is to compare the vision of the two playwrights, as well as their techniques of dramatic construction. It is our key premise that social, historical and political realities in East African form of creative reservoir of the region's drama. East African drama has acquired a sharp socio-political focus. It manifestly responds to familiar but specific historical developments. It is our contention that, a close analysis of the dramas of leading playwrights like Imbuga and Ruganda reveals the socio-political temper in the society. Because of its social commitment, a critic of East African drama must, of necessity, assess its contributions to social development. These contributions include values, attitudes, vision; and their manner of artistic presentation. We proceed on the premises that East African drama functions as a tool for social change. it explores revolutionary themes, through use of novel strategies. As skilled artists, Imbuga and Ruganda, we believe, creatively present revolutionary ideas through equally revolutionary dramatic techniques. We are concerned with how they perceive the East African society, and how their perception affects their style of dramatization. The thesis is divided into four chapters and a conclusion. Chapter one focuses on the statement of the problem, justification of the study, the scope of the study and definition of the key terms. Chapter two traces the political motif in the dramas of Imbuga and Ruganda. It is sub-divided into two sections. Section one mainly focuses on Betrayal in the City, Game of Silence and The Floods; plays which deal with leadership perversion in the society. Section two of this chapter enumerates the effects of leadership distortion. It mainly deals with Man of Kafira and Music without Tears. In Chapter Three, which is also sub-divided into two sections, we focus on power struggle in the society and its aftermath. The plays primarily analysed in this section are The Successor and The Burdens. Chapter Four deals with dramatic techniques. The techniques are discussed from four broad categories, namely: characterization, dramatic structure, appropriation of folkloristic material and symbolic signification. The conclusion, which forms Chapter Five, is a comparative synthesis of the major aspects of style and vision discussed. It is also isolates possible tasks for future research.