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Trump Puppet Show in Kenya

Photographer: Dai Kurokawa

 

Originally created by East Africa’s best-known newspaper cartoonist Godfrey ‘Gado’ Mwampembwa, The XYZ Show, Kenya’s popular satirical television program has been taking pokes at the country’s political elites and international figures ever since it aired its first episode in 2009.Influenced by French puppet show Les Guignols, it uses puppets made of foaming latex, controlled by two puppeteers, to caricature and lampoon top politicians and other social personalities. With the US presidential election only months away, the Kenyan show is now taking on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

 

The shows 11th season’s final episode depicts Trump dressed as a punk rock star and wearing a leather jacket adorned with anti-Hillary Clinton stickers. The Trump puppet bangs on a drum decorated with words ‘Trump Pistols’, and strums a guitar while singing ‘there is no future in the Clinton regime, even Obama can go to hell… I’m the future, America’s future!’ in a remix of ‘God Save The Queen’ by the Sex Pistols. The Trump version of the song ends with Trump talking about his plan for the US-Mexico border wall, singing ‘I will build the greatest wall…. and Mexico will pay for it. Maybe they’ll call it ’The Trump Wall’.

 

‘Even though it’s not our election, it’s something that we hope to keep commenting about’, says the show’s head writer Loi Awat about featuring Trump on the show. ‘Things he talks about are also things we are dealing with in Kenya, like immigration issues and closing down of refugee camps for Somalis’. She adds ‘The idea of The XYZ Show is to make fun of these characters. We are calling out Trump’s nonsense, especially on issues relevant to our Kenyan audiences’.

 

Because of the high production cost (each puppet costs some 5,000 USD), Awat says they are not sure when they can start the production of the next season but they will definitely start it before Kenya’s general elections scheduled for August 2017.