Interrupt This Program

These puppets are fighting for free speech in Kenya

Nairobi's 'The XYZ Show' satirizes politicians in Kenya and abroad, and the show has "cemented the ground of free speech in this country."

Nairobi's 'The XYZ Show' satirizes politicians in Kenya and abroad

Nairobi's 'The XYZ Show' satirizes politicians in Kenya and abroad, and has "cemented the ground of free speech." 1:57

Puppets may be most often found in children's programming, but longtime Kenyan political cartoonist Godfrey "Gado" Mwampembwa is using them to joke about — and confront — political issues in Kenya, across Africa and around the world.

"It's libelous to call any politician a convicted criminal, a thug, a crook, a thief, a drug lord. But with an editorial cartoon you can get away with that."

It's cemented the ground of free speech in this country.- Godfrey "Gado" Mwampembwa, creator of The XYZ Show

In 2009, Mwampembwa created The XYZ Show. And in 2013, under the direction of Brian Kyallo Msafiri, the show won Best TV Series at the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards in Nigeria.

Msafiri is committed to both getting their message across and telling jokes that hit their mark without going over the line. "It's a balancing act. How far can we push this joke without really offending people but at the same time ensuring that we tell the story?"

Check out The XYZ Show on their YouTube channel and this Friday October 27th at 8:30pm on CBC TV and online, see more artists fighting against corruption on Interrupt This Program: Nairobi.

Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure and airs Fridays at 8:30pm. Watch episodes from Mexico City and Jakarta now.


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