The dramaturgy of Kalongolongo: A genre by children

  • Lilian Akoth Odero
Keywords: Kalongolongo, role play, local classification of genres, early childhood


Several approaches to the classifications of theatrical genres are modeled on  Western theoretical perspectives, literary analyses and adult viewpoints with less  regard for performance dynamics within children’s specific cultural contexts. This paper is part of a wider study whose main objective is to establish the place of indigenous theatre in early childhood development (ECD) by analyzing theatrical genres at the disposal of children and caregivers from 33 sampled ECD centres in Ugenya District, Kenya. The study engaged the critical lenses of postcolonial theory to interrogate the homogeneity in the traditional classification of genres to conform only to Western literary discourses and adult perceptions with a view to foreground  the authenticity in the classification of genres according to children’s ways of knowing and doing. It is evident in this study that Kalongolongo exists both as a  genre and a performance space that plays host to a whole range of performance  aesthetics. Therefore, this paper analyzes the place of Kalongolongo, an indigenous theatrical genre based on children’s theatrical  performances, to demonstrate the significance of strengthening local classifications in research, policy and practice.

Key words: Kalongolongo, role play, local classification of genres, early childhood


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eISSN: 1016-0728