The XYZ Show: Exposing Injustice in Kenya with Latex Puppets

December 26, 2012

Creative Time Reports editor Marisa Mazria Katz visited the Nairobi studio of The XYZ Show, one of the most beloved TV programs in Africa, months before Kenya's general elections.


In summer 2012, I visited the Nairobi studio of The XYZ Show, one of the most beloved programs in Kenya and all of Africa. A weekly satirical news show hosted by handcrafted latex puppets, XYZ tackles thorny political issues, from poverty on the streets of Nairobi to Kenyan politicians indicted by the International Criminal Court, with fierce independence and outrageous humor.

Godfrey Mwampembwa (“Gado”), one of Africa’s most famous cartoonists, created XYZ in 2009. The show couldn’t have been more timely. The year before, over a thousand Kenyans were killed and approximately 300,000 more displaced in widespread ethnic violence following controversial elections. With presidential elections coming up again in March, Gado and the whole XYZ team courageously continue to expose corruption and injustice—and keep us laughing along the way.

Below: Video clip from The XYZ Show’s version of “Still D.R.E” sung by the Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga.

Top: Slideshow of The XYZ Show studio with cartoonist Godfrey Mwampembwa and puppeteer Jack Kibedi, 2012. Photos by Marisa Mazria Katz.

This piece, commissioned by Creative Time Reports, has also been published byDomus.