Potentials of Drama Therapy in Unmasking the Personae of Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation among the Kenyan Maasai

Keywords: Female Genital Mutilation, Kenyan Maasai, Drama Therapy


Circumcision of females was and still remains a cultural practice in many African communities. While modernity and access to education has led to vilification of this tradition, the guardians and conservators of traditions who perceive not virtue but abomination in this revolution intrepidly use myths and falsehoods to sustain the tradition. Where that does not work, force is used. The Maasai are such a community where circumcision of women is still entrenched and highly esteemed. Some girls manage to escape but the effects of the harrowing escape remain. Subsequently, this study proceeds from the postulation that drama therapy is a useful tool not only to reach out to the survivors of any form of distress but also as an avenue for helping the victims cope while enhancing their selfexpression by obliterating the facade engendered by the trauma. Our contention is that as a tool for unlocking the voices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) survivors, drama therapy creates a safe and playful environment where the survivors are able to act out their anxieties, fears and mental conflicts and reclaim their true beings, dreams and positions in society. In this way, drama therapy provides a platform on which the stigma related to FGM emotions can be expelled. While using various drama therapy techniques such as story-telling, poetry, role playing, song and dance, this paper examines and establishes how drama therapy can be used as an effective tool in regaining the real persona of survivors of Female Genital Mutilation. The study employs Nietzsche’s Will to Power theory and Rogerian theory of self in interrogating the potentials of drama therapy. Nietzsche’s Will to Power theory has been used to explore underlying motives behind the survivors’ rebellion against Female Genital Mutilation whereas Rogerian theory of Self has been used in exploring the survivors’ perception of their world, perception of the concepts of freedom, choice and personal responsibility, particularly after surviving Female Genital Mutilation. The study utilizes control-group as its research design while engaging in-depth interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions and participatory theatre to obtain data for analysis. The data collected was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Author Biographies

Zippora Okoth, Kenyatta University

Department of Film and Theatre Arts

John Mugubi, Kenyatta University

Department of Film and Theatre Arts

How to Cite
Okoth, Z., & Mugubi, J. (2020). Potentials of Drama Therapy in Unmasking the Personae of Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation among the Kenyan Maasai. Journal of African Theatre, Film and Media Discourse, 1(1), 5-34. https://doi.org/10.33886/kujat.v1i1.123