Power Performance in the Digital Space - An Analysis of Kenyan Online Comedy - Miriam Musonye

  • Miriam M Musonye


The widespread global usage of various social media platforms has had a significant impact on life in general. This form of social interaction has also impacted significantly on the field of
artistic creativity in terms of production, performance, circulation and engagement with artistic material. One key way in which digitization has impacted on life is that it has availed platforms
for young users of digital technology to express their creativity in a manner that was largely not possible in the past. In Kenya, and in other countries as well, one observes that young people are
now creating careers out of short performances on social media platforms such as Youtube, Tiktok and Instagram. In this context, my paper focuses on two separate comedy texts, namely
Flaqo Raz aka flaqo411 and The Mama Njeri Show that debut the moniker Plesident Kingston.
These two are performed by two Kenyan young people and circulated on Instagram and Youtube. The two comedies are set in family contexts and they mainly parody parent-youth
relationships. My main focus of analysis is the portrayal of the parent figure in these texts against the portrayal of the same in traditional oral narratives and in newer but non-digital
forms such as Mchongoano. This will be geared towards attempting to see how current popular Kenyan literature looks in relation to its variants of earlier times. Further to this, the paper
hopes to investigate the question of power contest in artistic and digital spaces.