This weekend was all about enjoyment and this show went above and beyond to deliver. The curtain call at the last show of Too Early For Birds: Tom Mboya Edition last night was deafening. It was the end of another successful show and the audience could have easily stayed on for more. However, there was much to think, discuss and laugh about the revolutionary that was Tom Mboya.
Born Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya to laborer parents, he was many things to many people. A husband. A father. A Pan Africanist. A trade unionist. A political activist. An author. One of Kenya’s founding fathers. Hope for a better Kenya. Even though he came from a humble background, his brilliance saw him going to places that had previously been reserved for just white people. He counted Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy as his friends, among many other influential people on the African and world stage. As his popularity and influence with the common mwananchi grew, so did the threats to his life. His days were numbered and one of the biggest political influencers on the Kenyan landscape now had a target on his back.
These and more stories were told at the Too Early For Birds: Tom Mboya Edition. The theatrical production told the story with dramatic flashbacks to points in Tom Mboya’s life. This great, almost mythical person in Kenya’s history was humanised before our eyes in punny, introspective style. It was clear that our history books had barely scratched the surface, and Too Early For Birds: Tom Mboya Edition was there to flip the tables and expose all the good and bad underneath.
Death comes for everyone, and yet it still hurts anew when it does. The death of Tom Mboya affected the nation, and the world at large. That such a visionary young man who was going places would die at the hands of an assassin while going about his life was something no one could understand. The grief then was palpable as people cried and beat their chests as they asked their gods hard questions. The grief now at the Too Early For Birds: Tom Mboya Edition was no less real, and it was a very sad moment. Part of his eulogy was a very touching song with a sax undertone.
It wasn’t just the sad moments that had everyone glued to their seats almost afraid to blink and miss something. It was also the unexpectedly happy moments. It was also the pop culture references. It was also the sick burns that meant no one was safe. It was also the bad puns sometimes that had everyone face palming. It was also the human story of Tom Mboya that we may never find or here again. It was all these things and more.
One question remains until today: Who killed Tom Mboya? To paraphrase one of the best lines in the show, ‘Don’t think about what if Tom Mboya was still alive. Think about if he had never been born at all, and then appreciate the difference his life made.’
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