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Itiraka: A struggle in vain

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Crown Troupe's Itiraka is, in a nutshell, a tale of struggles. In classic Crown Troupe style, the work is a mirror of our country, viewed by different eyes

Crown Troupe's Itiraka is, in a nutshell, a tale of struggles. In classic Crown Troupe style, the work is a mirror of our country, viewed by different eyes but all pointing in the same direction.

As one identifies with youth in conflict with parents over chosen career, familiar strings stir in the hearts of the audience. Further on, when female woes--'get married, you should have children at your age...'--are depicted all too well, one cannot help but marvel at the theme which constantly runs through the piece: I am not alone in my struggle.

A befitting climax would have been the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of a chance to reach out beyond one's horizon in the acclaimed 'Contacting the World 2012' in Manchester city.

Alas, theirs is an anti-climax.

In reality, the troupe will not be able to show this wonderful production in Manchester.

After being asked to reapply for their visas many weeks ago, they were unceremoniously denied visas to Britain, last week on the grounds that they were from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The British High Commission believes that the young performers, on reaching the much talked about UK, would not return to their desolate country.

This is irrespective of the fact that their leader has travelled to and from Britain a number of times.

Speaking about this disappointment, Segun Adefila, founder and director of this 16-year-old troupe says he no longer feels anger, but just realises that the problem is that the structure in Nigeria is not right.

For him, the bigger picture they looked forward to was that the troupe would return from Manchester and show other youth in that area (Bariga) that with drama and dance they could achieve so much, thus encourage others to drop the guns and bottles and attempt to make something better out of their lives.

Adefila says it is their loss, the world has been denied the opportunity of seeing this great piece.

The troupe remains determined to keep doing what they do best, they only hope that those who have brought about this ruin will have a rethink.

Is it not sad that these poor lads and lasses have to pay the price for those who lend credence to the generalisation that Nigeria is bad, thus Nigerians are all bad? Indeed, what future do these youth hope for, when in their struggle to redefine themselves outside of the murk of their environment, all they are met with is disdain, closed doors and scorn.

In Itiraka, the end question seems to be: Which way forward, Nigeria?

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