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After its successful international premiers across the globe, Kenyans now have the opportunity to watch the hilarious short film titled Soko Sonko (King of the Market) which will be shown for the very 1st time at the Udada film Festival as the festival’s opening film.

Here is the funny story about the film, schools are about to re-open and as is the norm, the children have to get a haircut or like in 10 year old Kibibi’s case (played by Chantal Airo) a visit to the salon for a hairdo. Unfortunately, mummy is sick and can’t take her and Ed (the father, played by Larry Asego) braves the fires and goes where no man has gone before - the hairmarket. An easy task he thought it would be until the drama and humorous misfortunes occur.

Soko Sonko

The film which was commissioned by Focus Features’ Africa First Program is directed by Kenyan Born- U.S based director Ekwa Msangi. She has also directed several drama series for mainstream broadcasters in Kenya and for MNET South Africa, including The Agency, MNET’s first ever original hour?long Kenyan drama series.  She’s written for both television and film, and produced several shorts.  Her films have been official selections at several world festivals including New York African, Durban International, and Pan African Film Festivals, and Weakness, a short film she recently produced, was nominated for a 2010 Kalasha Award and a 2011 African Movie Academy Award (AMAA).

Ekwa and Larry Asego

Director Ekwa Msangi and Actor Larry Asego.

“This story is inspired by and dedicated to my late father, Prof. K.F. Msangi, the only African man I know who faithfully and enthusiastically took his young daughter to the market regularly to get her hair braided. He made it his mission to figure out where; he came up with appropriate and interesting hairstyles,and he coached the hair braiders on exactly how he wanted it to look like. At the time when my aunties would marvel with amusement at the idea of him maneuvering these predominantly female spaces all for the sake of my hair (as opposed to asking one of them to take me,) I didn’t think much of it. I knew it was rare and that none of my friends would even dream of their fathers knowing what direction the hair market was in, but it never occurred to me just HOW rare it actually was at the time. As an adult, I realize what an anomaly my father was and what a huge stance he was making at the time. I also realize that hair braiding markets, as well as several other traditionally female spaces, is often fiercely guarded by women who don’t often allow men much access. These spaces are fully functioning cosmoses of their own where most middle?class African men would only encounter by mistake: and that’s the story that I decided to explore.” explains Ekwa.

The film will be screened at the Opening ceremony and Launch of the Udada Festival which be held at National Museums of Kenya (Louis Leakey Auditorium) on the 24th October, from 5.30pm – 9.00pm.

Watch the trailer of the short film below:

By Gerald Langiri

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