An analysis of the woman in gender role-play dynamics Kenyan drama
The underlying aspiration of this study was to analyse how gender role-plays and identities have been progressively constructed by Kenyan Kiswahili playwrights since the birth of Drama in the Kenya literary scene to the present. Consequently, we have undertaken a chronological appraisal of the changing representation of gender roles through the various stages of the genre's evolvement. In order to come up with a balanced literary view, the study has investigated the extent to which literary critics conceptualize and reflect the dynamics of gender role-plays as manifested in the changing socio-political environments represented by Kenyan Kiswahili playwrights. The study is divided into six chapters . The first chapter is an introduction. It contains the formal sub-sections which support the foundation of the study. These include the statement of the problem, objectives, the rationale, scope and limitations, the literature review, conceptual framework, the hypotheses and the methodology. In chapter two, the study analyses gender role-plays in the indigenous African societies before the infusion of foreign ideologies into the African cultures. The chapter then explores how these alien influences contributed to re-alignment of power structures and determination of gender role-plays in the new social dispensation. It interrogates the after-effects of how the cultural cross-breed between the external and indigenous values affected social inter-relations in the African societies. The chapter thus interrogates some of the pertinent issues which determined gender role-plays in the indigenous African societies and how they assumed new dimensions after the advent of colonialism, capitalism and imperialism. This gives an insight into the genesis of the confusion surrounding gender role-play positioning in the post-colonial literature. This chapter also evaluates how cultural and feminist perspectives influence gender relations in the contemporary African societies. Chapter three looks into the extent to which socio-cultural forces are manifested in the gender characterization patterns in Kiswahili drama. It evaluates gender role-play representation in the formative and the middle phases of Kiswahili drama evolvement. In the middle phase, the study interrogates the representation of gender role-plays in selected plays authored by Kenyan playwrights. The chapter demonstrates that the negative portrayal of the woman character in Kiswahili drama was entrenched in the middle phase. To widen the literary perspective on gender role-plays, the chapter also engages a comparative study of how gender role-plays are represented in the African literature by a cross-section of renowned African artists in English literature. This is a deliberate attempt to have an inclusive overview of how gender roles have been represented in the broad African society, not only in Kiswahili drama, but also in English literature as well. Chapter four analyses the representation of gender role-play inter-relations in a modem society. It explores how the dynamics of social conventions are altering the social parameters which shape role-play determinism. This has seen the opening up of the social space to allow the woman exploit her human potential at a competitive level with the male character. The study evaluates the challenges faced by cultural values in the interpretation and determination of social roles along the gender axis in the contemporary Kiswahili plays. In chapter five, the study evaluates the nature and the implication of language usage across the gender divide and how it impacts on the societal values and gender status attached and associated with the gender divide. It interrogates the salient manifestations of the power of language in decoding inter-personal attitudes behind given discourses. The chapter underscores the essence of language in understanding the undercurrents behind the individual and societal identity and satatus. Chapter six is the last and it contains summary of fmdings, review of the statement of the problem, evaluation of objectives, verification of hypotheses, and recommendations for further research.