A Review by Frank Nweke II
The location was Davos Switzerland, home of the annual World Economic Forum where the world’s political and business leaders have gathered every year for the past 43years to discuss strategies for improving the state of the world. The occasion was Ariya…. a night of good cheer hosted by the Nigerian government to give the world a sense of what to expect when they visit Abuja Nigeria May 7-9 to attend the 24th World Economic Forum for Africa taking place in West Africa for the first time in the 24 year history of the regional forum.
Nigeria is truly blessed, in spite the challenges that confront us as a people. We are a nation of great minds and talent. All through our history, we have witnessed moments of epiphany that re-assure us of Nigeria’s high destiny. The enthralling and scintillating performance of the young cast of Kakadu, Nigeria’s rave musical drama ensemble at the World Economic Forum in Davos was one of such moments for me. The ‘boys’ and the ‘girls’ gave their souls for our country. They seemed to have sang forever during a 2hour performance which saw the high and the mighty let their hair down lost in the moment with the rhythm of Nigerian music.
Kakadu, the musical is a story of Nigeria’s glorious past…..when our people were truly one. We lived together in peace and harmony in the true African spirit of being our brother’s keeper. No one cared about the other’s ethnic origin. It didn’t matter. We lived together. We celebrated together. We mourned together. We sang and danced together. In our homes, in our communities, we were one people under one God.
Then the story changed….and almost reminiscent of Adam’s consumption of the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden, we acquired a new consciousness and awareness of our ethnic origins. We went to war. We killed each other. We forgot our brothers. We forgot our sisters. We even forgot out children. Nothing mattered anymore. We destroyed our country. With it went our unity and the love we once shared.
As if in sudden realization of our common humanity and patrimony, the fighting stopped. We made up and began to rebuild our country…… Depending on the generation to which you belong, this may all seem like fantasy……but it is a fact that Nigeria was a truly peaceful country where we lived in harmony with one another. Tongues and tribes differed but we stood in brotherhood as our old National anthem had it.
The Kakadu act is a throw back to the past and an inspiration for the present and the future. The cast and crew of Kakadu are a very young and talented group of Nigerians. I had watched them practice and rehearse from the previous day. I also recollect addressing them backstage on why that outing was important for our country. I encouraged them to give their best for love of country. They obliged. It was heartening that such proficiency in theater could be displayed by our youth, given how underdeveloped that aspect of the arts is in Nigeria today.
Kakadu is a trailblazer and I salute the author of the script, Uche Nwokedi, SAN and of course his entire crew. This reawakening of Theater in Nigeria with the Kakadu act and the storm that it has created is quintessentially Nigerian! It may take us forever to get there or to get it right but then we do, eventually and then we take over. That is the story of our music and film which today constitute such great interest as fields of study for scholars of Music and Theatre.
I believe in the high destiny of our country and the talent of our people. The Kakadu story is evidence of the creative genius of our people. Its graphic execution on stage embodies the promise of our nation’s youth. The cast that took our story to the world in Davos hold the key Nigeria’s future. They are the beautiful ones who give of themselves for our country. To all of them and the millions of others who serve and make our country proud in times and places we may not always know, I salute you all.