MY SCHOLARSHIP – One Act play 


Chinyere Okafor



 Firsr performed in 2004 at Olive Tree, Wichita, KS


Bare stage. All stage properties are brought in by the actors.


Narrator: She is the only woman in the play and can be of any age. It is her story and she makes the audience aware of it. She plays two parts.  Her dressing is contemporary American.

Clinton: From teenager to thirty. Any height and any weight. Bright. Likeable. Hard working. Serious. Always with books, and uses big words. Originally from a poor home in Nigeria, but determined to make good in America. His father sold part of their family land and his mother sold the jewelry passed on to her from her mother, in order to raise money and send him to school in America. Clinton is determined to buy back his family’s land and his mother’s jewelry.

Tijani: Can be of any height but must have big attitude. He likes to laugh. From a wealthy family, he thinks that life is easy and that people are poor because they are lazy and can’t mix with the right people in power. He dresses in expensive American and African suits.

Wabara: Sponsored by oil rich Rivers State of Nigeria. He is hard-working and is looking forward to finishing his studies and going back to work for his sponsor. He is cheerful and caring.




Narrator: (Singing or whistling as she comes from the audience area). My story is about to begin. Do you all want to hear a story?

All: (From different audience areas) Yes. Yeah.

Narrator:  I am the friendly spider. My real name is Wazobia and I am a storyteller. You know the spider? It snoops around in places and sees a lot of things. I collect play scenarios and leave you to watch how the characters act them out. This is about the dream of a young man; no, the dream of his parents. The first scene takes place at Wichita High School. Here comes the character. I’ll be back (leaves).

Clinton:  (Comes from the audience area with books. Some letters fall as he enters the stage. He picks them up).

Tijani: (Comes from the audience area, As Clinton picks up the letters). Hi Clinton.
What’s up? Are you going to the library?

Clinton: Of course.

Tijani: I guessed as much. Always carrying books and always going to the library, and always speaking big words.

Clinton: So?

Tijani: You always get As. That’s the only thing about you. Just As. Why can’t you be normal … like ordinary folks?

Clinton: I’m normal.

Tijani: I’ve never seen you with a girl. You are ... r-r… not bad-looking (gesturing with a hand). With a designer shirt and good attitude, you can even pass for good-looking… or maybe handsome.

Clinton: That’s not my prerogative at this time.

Tijani: You and your big words.

Clinton: That’s not what I’m in America for.

Tijani: You don’t want girls to like you?

Clinton: I want to read my books, do everything properly, go for further studies in a good college, and go back to Nigeria to pay off the bills.

Tijani: (Laughs) You’re funny. What bills?

Clinton: My father sold part of our ancestral land…

Tijani: Abomination!

Clinton: That’s not all. My mother sold her grandmother’s gold beads and corals passed on to her by her mother.

Tijani: Weird family.

Clinton: You may think us strange or whatever you like, but they did it for a good course. They used it to raise money for somebody to raise the family to a higher level.  That responsibility fell on me because God endowed me with excellent brains. I’m not boasting, just stating facts. I am determined to carry out my responsibility. I’ll succeed, go back to redeem our ancestral land and family jewelry. It is a task that I must accomplish.

Tijani: Sit down. Leave your books for a while. Yes, keep them. Let me tell you something.

Clinton: What advice can you give me? Your parents are wealthy. They send you a lot of money, so you can afford to buy fancy designer clothes and worry about girls. Those are luxuries that I cannot afford right now. As for me, I am gong to the library modify these application letter that I wrote last night. I must make it this time.

Tijani: Application for what?

Clinton: For scholarship. I am applying for scholarship to go to Harvard.

Tijani: (Laughs). You? Havard? (Laughs again).

Clinton: You can laugh all you want.  I’m going to the library (Leaves).

Tijani: (Laughing and following him).

Narrator: (Enters from the audience area).  The question is, “Did Clinton make it to Harvard?”

The answer is, “Big No”. Ten years later. He is now an old man, in his late twenties (cups her mouth to whisper). He even has beards! He has strands of grey hairs, maybe as a result of his harsh conditions, but he shaves them (laughs). He likes to look young.

Clinton: (Brings a chair. Keeps it at the rear of the stage for the narrator).

Clinton: Seat for you Maam. Coffee?

Wazo (Sits): That’s why I’m here (Clinton leaves).

Wazo (To the audience): He is lucky to find a job in this coffee-shop

Clinton: (Brings coffee for Narrator. Goes to bring a chair for another customer who is walking in).

Tijani: Quick service. I’m in a rush.

Clinton: Yes sir. (Brings a chair).  Hey my home boy? (Checks himself). Sir. I know you, Sir.

Tijani: You? Know me?

Clinton: Wichita High School.

Tijani: (Looks closely) Year man! (Clinton extends his hand for a handshake). Of course, I remember you (Hugs him. Puts one leg on the chair). Where are you now?

Clinton: I’m here.

Tijani: (Laughs). You are always funny. What do you mean, I’m here. I am also here. We are both here.

Clinton: I work in this shop.

Tijani: You? Work here? (Looks around). As what? You own the place? Even owning this place is below your level.

Clinton: I don’t own it. I’m the waiter. I serve coffee.

Tijani (Laughs):  Are you serious? (Clinton nods). What about Harvard? You big dreams?

Clinton: I didn’t get the scholarship.

Tijani: You should have applied to go to other colleges.

Clinton: All the schools said the same thing. It was like they had a meeting and wrote the same reply in all my letters.

Tijani: What?

Clinton: Scholarships are for US citizens only. But some put it politely, “Due to decrease in subvention, we are unable to  bla bla bla…”

Tijani: (Laughs) Sound funny.

Clinton: But it doesn’t feel funny, if you are in my shoes.

Tijani: I can’t believe that a brilliant boy like you will end up in a place like this. How much do they pay you?

Clinton: Four dollars an hour. I work six hours a day.

Tijani: That’s below minimum wage.

Clinton: Please don’t say it aloud. I am lucky to find this job. It is hard when you don’t have the correct papers. So I can’t complain. I’m still determined to make it. I intend to take college credits one at a time. What about you?

Tijani: I graduated from Wichita State University and now work at Boeing as an Engineering Director.

Clinton: Sounds awesome. Maybe you can help me.

Tijani: These days, you need  minimum qualification for any normal job. You have to go to college. You need to work hard and get out of your cycle of poverty.

Clinton: Me? You know that I work very hard, so don’t insult me. (Becomes official). What can I offer you sir? We have any kind of coffee that you need. French, Kenyan …

Tijani: Cut that out, my friend. I know you work hard at books, maybe too hard. That’s not what I mean. All work and no play makes is not what I mean. You have to develop social skills. You don’t get them from books.

Clinton: Before I came here, my father told me this (mimics). “My child, you must adopt the wisdom of the chameleon in order to succeed in life.”

Tijani: Meaning?

Clinton: The chameleon is a clever animal that blends with its surroundings.

Tijani: But it is slow.

Clinton: You don’t have to be slow. You have to take the positive side of things. That’s what my father said. My mother said, “My child, do not forget the land that gave birth to you.”

Tijani: That’s okay, but where has all that got you?

Clinton: That’s okay, but where have they got me? I took my father’s advice and acted like the chameleon.

Tijani: Yes?

Clinton: The first thing I did was change my name to Clinton in order to blend with America.

Tijani: (Laughs)

Narrator: (Laughs).

Clinton: Bill Clinton was number one man in America, so I took that name, and it has been good because everybody can pronounces it. No one laughed at my name.

Tijani: (Laughing). You didn’t change your name to Bush when George Bush was there. And now, will you change your name to Barack now that Barack Obama is number one? And change it again after Obama? My friend. America doesn’t care what name you take. You can be Oladimeji, Tijani, Musa, Mountain or Kilimanjero, they don’t care. You can be Subshine, River or Forest, they don’t give a damn. They just want you to be a global person. Be in tune with diversity and political correctness. But you!  You act as if you are still in your village where people notice your worth and rally round to help you. This is the global world, man! Wake up! You have to sell yourself. They have a nice name for it. Networking.

Clinton: Yes. In Nigeria, they call it IM, Ima-mmadu.

Tijani: Imma-mmadu. You know what I mean.  Socialize and meet the right guys. If the schools don’t have money for scholarship, so what? You try other organizations. Do volunteer work. Meet people outside your circle. You can’t just end up in a coffee shop.

Clinton: Please help me.

(Wazobia/Narrator coughs. They look at her).

Wazobia: Have you talked to charitable organizations like churches?

Clinton: No.

Tijani: You see the problem. You are your own problem. How can you be in Wichita and not be part of your immediate cultural community?

Wazobia: Every street in Wichita has a church.

Clinton: I don’t belong-.

Wazobia: It doesn’t matter. Just try. No harm in trying.

Tijani: Are you a member of African Association. I joined them when I was a student at the university.

Clinton: No.

Tijani: Let’s leave this place, man. You have a lot to learn.

Clinton: I can’t leave the shop now.

Tijani. Suit yourself. I’m off. Here is my card. Phone me and I’ll hook you up with the Association.

Clinton: (Takes the card from narrator). Let me get coffee for you.

Tijani:  I was in a hurry, remember. I’m off (Leaves).

(Clinton leaves the stage).

Narrator: Wow! That was tough.  Do you think that Clinton will get help? Well, he got some help. The Association helped him. And he is now taking some classes at college (Clinton walks in with books, dumps them and begins to sleep). Working hard, as usual.

Narrator: Clinton is now in the library (she gestures at him), sleeping (leaves).

Wabara:  Hey. That’s my brother from Nigeria. (Goes to Clinton and wakes him up). Wake up. Do you have flu?

Clinton: (Yawns). Oh. Wabara. How’re you doing man?

Wabara: Do you have flu?

Clinton: No

Wabara: Why are you sleeping in the library?

Clinton: Because I work.

Wabara:. We all work. Stand up! You are still dozing.

Clinton: You don’t understand.

Wabara: Explain it to me.

Clinton: (Sighs) It’s like-.

Wabara: Like what? Let me tell you something about scholarships. I have the Rivers State Scholarship, so I know what I am talking about. They expect you to do very well. They have to see my transcript every semester, to make sure that I am still worth their investment. And because I’m getting good grades, they have offered me a job, so I don’t have anxiety about job. But I still have to work very hard. If I don’t, I’ll lose everything.

Clinton: You still don’t understand. My situation is different. Rivers State of Nigeria is an oil rich state. They give you enough money for everything including allowance for winter clothes and feeding. I get partial tuition only as scholarship money, and I am very grateful and happy, but I have to pay rent and feeding and other things. I do two jobs and go to school full time to maintain my work visa.

Wabara: That’s too much. How do you manage to be sane?

Clinton: Good question. I don’t know how I haven’t cracked up.

Wabara: You need support.

Clinton: I do. And that’s why I am happy to have two jobs and the partial tuition money.

Wabara: Have you talked to the women?

Clinton: What women?

Wabara: Women Associations in Wichita can help you – o. At least, some of them can help you with food.

Clinton: I’m not a woman.

Wabara:  You’re a woman’s son. You need to move out of this box of books that you have made for yourself, and see the real world of people. One thing that I’m sure you’ll get from women is food. In addition, they may consider you for some scholarship.

Clinton: They award scholarships? And they give food?

Wabara:  Just try them and see what you get. You don’t have your family and friends here to help you and you don’t have network. As new immigrants, we need to network. Create our own families here in Wichita. You contribute to your problem by your attitude.

Clinton: People always think that I have a problem, that it is my fault that I am poor and struggle so hard.

Wabara: I don’t think so. I am from a poor family too, so I know that we have to work harder. We also have to work harder at social skills. The rich don’t need these skills as much as we do, because they are already in the network of the rich and powerful.

Clinton: With such a rich scholarship, you cannot call yourself poor.

Wabara: Listen. I still know where I’m from. I’m from the rich area with a lot of oil, but oil spillage has destroyed everything. The water is polluted and the fish died. The farms also died from polluted soil. The people also died.

Clinton: That’s so horrible.

Wabara: It is horrible. The militia group that fight for the clean-up of our deserted land.

Clinton: Yes. I read a lot about them. They kidnap people.

Wabara: They are looking for attention. I should have been with them, but they set me free to go and get education, come back and join the fight.

Clinton: You mean that you will go back and join a terrorist group?

Wabara: There are many ways of fighting. I’m training to become a lawyer. I tell you something. I take all kinds of courses that will help me in fighting for my deserted village. I take courses in Globalization, Mineral Exploitation, women’s Studies-.

Clinton: You? A man? Studying about women?

Wabara: At first, I thought that they would hate me, but I still wanted to know about women and maybe get a girlfriend, so I registered for one course. From one course, I got hooked. I like the courses.

Clinton: What do you like in them?

Wabara: Knowledge, critical thinking, social skills and a lot more.

Clinton: Really

Wabara:  I learn how to understand issues from women’s point of view. As a man, I already understand our point of view.  With my new perspective from Women’s Studies, I’m in a better position to discuss with any gender.  I always have a lot to say to women about issues and women like it when they know that I understand the women’s angle. Another thing is that women easily understand issues of people who don’t belong to the mainstream. So they understand problems of how the rich exploit the oil from my area and don’t care that my people suffer and die. And we share ideas about my mission.

Clinton: (Brightens up) I can’t believe that you get all these from Women’s Studies’ department.  I didn’t even know that men can  go there.  Do they give scholarships?

Wabara: Yes, they do, but I don’t know how it works.

Clinton: I will take their courses.

Wabara: Come on. Let’s leave this place (Clinton gathers his book. They leave).

Narrator: Clinton never a full scholarship as he wished. He still worked two jobs, but he finally graduated, not only in learning but also in character. He does not lack social skills. He is very good at navigating the system.

Clinton: (Entering the stage without books) I formed the first African Youths of Wichita Association with my friends (he bows).

Wabara & Tijani: (Enter and bows).

Narrator: That’s the end of my story (bows).


Page title: My Scholarship - play
Last update: January 4, 2011
Web page by C. G. Okafor
Copywright © Chinyere G. Okafor