Them youths got no discipline

Liz: Hi all this is Chris and Liz again from the FoRel project, which stands for Forum Theatre to enhance joint agency in Kenya and Mozambique: towards relational understandings of climate change. In more simple words, this project aims to put together Forum Theatre performances with people who live in coastal East and Southern Africa as a means to provide the space for them and their friends, neighbours, families, communities, to think about, act out, discuss, dispute, and maybe take action on the climatic, natural, social and economic changes happening around them, with them and/or through them. I’m Liz, a researcher supporting and learning in this project at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. And this is Mr Chris

Recording time!

Chris: Yea my name is Chris from Wildlife Conservation Society in Kenya, for the FoRel project, I am the research assistant. I’ve been involved in data collection, also transcription of the interviews that were done and also participated in coding and assisted in analysis of the findings.

 Liz: As we introduced this storytelling series before (check the first episode or post on the website) I won’t blab too much again, but just to say that these stories came naturally out of fieldwork that Chris led back in 2021 in Kwale county in Southern coastal Kenya. How many interviews did you end up doing again?

Chris: 67 with four focus group discussions. We managed to talk to Fishermen, Mama karangas (female smaller-scale fisher traders), Fish dealers, Food vendors, Shop traders, Boat operators and some community and local leaders. 

Liz: Great, so all of these people, from the interviews and the focus groups you were able to collect the conflicts,  challenges and the changes that are going to be and are being used in the Forum Theatre scripts.

So these little stories we are telling now, the Series is called Tales of Change from Kwale Coast, they are basically straight from participants mouths, I just changed around the structure a little bit. So in each story we have our 

  • Main character(s),
  • We have a little Background of the cause/the cause of the conflictual issue,
  • Then the conflict itself,
  • And then the Resolutions that different people suggested during the interviews and focus groups

Theatre training & discussions 2020

This story today is called “Them youth got no discipline”, it involves drug use, discipline, caning, morals and respect. It is a mix of the qualitative coding of these interview and focus group transcripts from Kwale involving generational, behavioural and traditional conflict codes as well as the social changes that people talked about.  

Our main characters are the young people of Kwale, both genders. So this problem with youth discipline, for me, is a tale as old as time, these generational tensions, I guess because it stems from human behaviour, social, familial, individual, how different generations view each other, so of course it will repeat through the ages. It’s interesting to hear how it’s articulated in different places and times, but it has been incorporated into the theatre scripts and will be given back to or performed back to the communities in question for them to discuss- right Chris?

Chris: Yes so far it’s very good, two scripts have been developed and been given to a professional theatre group, Matuga Arts Troupe and the other being the Mswambweni community group which has been trained by Matuga Arts to do Forum Theatre. They are now already have managed to do some performances for school going children. We are waiting to do a grand performance at the community level.  

Liz: Great! So you can take it away with our story

Chris: Wow this is super cool, as you have been informed by my friend Liz our story is called ”Them youth got no discipline”

“Whatever happens to the kids affects us all.” 

Background: Big changes are with the youth. The kids used to be taught morals and values which lead to positive living but this has become rare. Children have rights nowadays, there are human rights, they are not punished. Children can’t be caned anymore which means there is no punishment, so there is lack of discipline. Children can now sue you, this has afforded children freedom. So now parents can’t question and they are almost afraid. The government has contributed to this. When the hotels were built, the land changed and new behaviours arrived here. 

The conflict: Discipline has been reduced, this has a big impact. For example if you pass an old man carrying a big bag or luggage you should assist him, that’s what our culture entails, if you do wrong he has the right to punish you the youth, when the youth gets home his or her parents will punish them too, because of disrespecting the elder person. As a digo you assist him. Nowadays you can’t ask children things like where are you going, where have you been- they will abuse you, they will tell their parents and then the parents will abuse you too. You can’t discipline other parents’ children. Parents now lack respect too . In school they can also be abusive and nothing can be done. A teacher even had to transfer school due to the insult from a student. Children now lack morality, they engage in immorality. In the evening you can see children all over the beach using drugs and dressed inappropriately. The youth have changed as now they are involved in drugs (muguka leaves, smoking tobacco). Youth lack respect in this area, the drugs influence this. They loiter, they sit around in groups- what are they looking for? Maybe they have lied at home as to their whereabouts so this means children have outweighed their parents. It’s free time now, people are free, there is time for leisure earlier. There is idleness today, stealing and bad influences, this wasn’t in the past. Kids are spoiled. Children know more these days. 

Resolutions: The Government needs to stay out of home affairs. How will children’s behaviour be shaped if they cannot be caned or punished? The Government needs to go back to the drawing board. There is the government but there is also culture, the Government shouldn’t be going against certain cultural practises. Leaders need to take discipline matters seriously, the village chief and village elders should be on the front line of these matters. The situations must be handled in line with the law. We should agree with our responsibilities and solve conflicts with the law. Parents should straighten out their children and take responsibility for teaching no matter what. Take charge of their education programme if they are not doing well, cooperate with teachers. Don’t let children loose talk at home and particularly about their teachers. The drug sellers need to be barred from selling to those under 18. Organizations should be involved that can mentor our children with a view of making them collaborate with their parents to move forward in life. 

Listen here:

Introducing “Tales of Change from Kwale Coast”

Hi there this is Liz Drury O’Neill here with Chris Cheupe, together we are part of the FoRel project that’s based in Kenya, Sweden and Mozambique. 

We can introduce ourselves first before we introduce the project- Chris you want to go first 

Thank you very much, Liz. My name is Christopher Cheupe I am affiliated to WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) Kenya, working on this project called for FoRel. And we are going to tell you stories, very beautiful stories from the work that we have been doing in Msambweni, welcome!

And I’m Liz, a postdoc at the Stockholm Resilience Centre which is the administering organization for this project. I work on FoRel supporting the project in whatever way is needed and also on another project based in Zanzibar looking at marine protected areas.

Chris & Liz meet to record this intro, from Stockholm & Mombassa #NovicePodcasters

This FoRel project is about understanding and exploring people’s daily practises and relationships in the changing tropical coastlines of the western indian ocean. One of the major changes that coastal groups face is obviously climate change, so the project takes a special interest in the impacts and challenges it presents. An important part of FoRel is using forum theatre, so this is a type of participatory theatre created to get the audience involved and empower them. This project wants to use such theatre in Kenya and Mozambique in the hope it can boost people’s abilities to act together in dealing with the different changes the climate and their social systems present to them.

So that would be the main focus of forel, but there is a lot of work needed to get to the theatre performances themselves, which take place in and are even performed by and with the coastal communities of Kenya and Mozambique. So over the last 2 years Forel has been carrying out interviews and group discussions with actors of different types, like fish traders, food vendors, tourist operators, fishers, community leaders, retailers etc. in different villages in Kwale County in Kenya and Inhaca Island in Mozambique. With the information from these methods the scripts of the theatre have been designed and we have been able to get to know more about their lives- specifically what changes people have experienced, their hopes and expectations for the future, how they go about their daily practices. 

Chris has been leading this work for the two years, would you like to give a sense of how its been and any reflections? 

Yeah, thank you very much. As Liz has talked, I’ve been leading this project in Kenya, in fact, I’ve been the main guy, and i’ve been working closely with the community, during data collection, I’ve worked on the on the data, transcribing it. And I’ve been involved in coding. So I have some reflection based on the work, from data connection, till the analysis. Now, when you look at doing data collection, we had a very interactive platform with respondents or the participants, whereby they were very willing and ready to contribute to the project through sharing out their views or perception with regard to the matters, the subject. So we had a very, very interactive time. Participants were willing to share information. The guides (leaders) of the community were also cooperating, because it was a project that the community themselves liked and they were ready to work, to work with us so that we could have a common goal. The community were happy when we introduced to them about the forum theater. And since they love acting, and throughout, they have been willing to listen to information, which have been coming from the performance, it can be, for example, a short movie or a theater performance. So they really liked that. And they asked us to, to involve them when the scripts are ready, so that they themselves can do the performance and have a chance to, to share out their problems in a better way. Because, themselves they’re the ones who have been experiencing the problem. So they will be, they’ll have a chance to share it to the bigger world. So, after the community gave us their information, we went ahead and transcribed, we did some coding and everything which was coming out was really really the touch of the community. And thereafter, we managed to develop some scripts based on the stories that have been saved by the community. And from those stories now, they are the ones that are we are going to share them with you. And I hope you are going to enjoy listening to them. Because they are the stories from the ground. The story from the people themselves. They have not been diluted in one way or another. So hope you will be enjoy.  Thank you

Thanks Chris, so as Chris was saying, The stories of this storytelling series we are introducing you to today are based on the interviews and discussions done with about 70, mainly Digo participants in Kwale County Kenya.

Chris do you want to introduce shortly the Digo to us

Okay, Digo, one of the Mijikenda subgroup communities in Kenya, Mijikenda is a Swahili word, which means nine tribes, nine homesteads and it consists of nine sub-tribes that include the Giriama community, the Kauma, the Chonyi, the Jibana, the Kambe, the Ribe, the Rabai, the Duruma and Digo. There are seven tribes, sub tribes, they are found in Kilifi County, while the two other sub tribes, that is Diigo and Duruma, are found in Kwale County. Now, the Digo community, the majority of them profess to the Islamic faith, they are Muslim. And in terms of the place they reside, especially the Msambweni area, they are dominant there. Most of the Digo, they are bilingual. They speak Swahili, and they also speak the local language called the Chidigo.

Thanks Chris. Great, So just to give some more information on these stories that we will tell, they were put together based on the transcripts from the focus groups and the interviews, which were translated from Kiswahili to English by Chris, to be qualitatively coded and analysed. So I try to use his direct translations of people’s words and not break apart sentences or text blocks, but put the stories together from them. So I basically have been combining different participants words on the same or similar topic to create a story. I also have created context or named the characters as they talk or interact in the situation I put them in. Making sure everything is anonymous and not traceable to the real people, that Chris worked with. 

But just to give my motivation for these stories, as Chris already mentioned his,- well I thought it would a cool thing to do as in this way we can hear directly from people’s experiences of climate, environmental and coastal changes in East Africa in a more engaging way than scientific articles or interviews. Also by highlighting a different group of characters or character in each story we can bring more of a diverse understanding of the impacts of different social and ecological changes to light, beyond that of fishermen or farmermen. I also feel these stories based on the interviews and discussions prioritise the voices of those that are and will be the most impacted by climate change. Also I’m just super bored of zoom and powerpoint. So I thought this would be more fun, to create stories from the very rich data Chris has created for us. Chris any final words’? 

Yeah, this is a great initiative. And it’s a new style or a technique, whereby we are going to present our data in a simpler way rather than a complex and difficult way. We are aiming at reaching the last person that could get this information in right way, in an inappropriate way so that they can absorb it and utilize the information for their self development. As you can see, this perspective, we are going to tell you the stories the way they are. And we believe that the people who are not much well informed, they will have an avenue or a space whereby they could get this information so that they can utilize them. So for this approach, I believe we are going to reach a wider and bigger audience and we believe that they are going to listen and to enjoy, the stories that we are going to tell them. Thank you Liz

Thank so much for listening, we’ll see you next time with some of the stories, from all of us here at FoRel- Kwaheri!