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A one-act play written for "Africana 2009," presented by African Students’ Association,

Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
Chinyere G. Okafor



Treasure: A young woman in her early twenties. She wears jeans and an African blouse. Her hair style is African plaits.

Gold: A young woman in her early twenties. She has big breasts and big buttocks (She can make these up with artificial ones). She wears a simple sleeveless dress and ties a broad belt to emphasize her curves. Her hair style is contemporary.

Kash: The brother of Treasure and Gold. He is in his late twenties. He’s in shorts.

Mama Africa: In her forties. She wears African attire - a long wrapper and blouse. She ties a second wrapper on top of the first one and sometimes wields it or reties it for effect.


Scene 1


(Early morning. A bit dark. Treasure is sitting back CS as curtain opens.

Gold comes from the audience area.).

Treasure: (Peering at a letter. She stops when she hears Gold say ‘bye.’)

Coltan: Bye, my love. I’ll be there soon.

Gold: Bye. (She hums a popular song)

Treasure: (Runs back, stops and listens).

Treasure: Who is there? (Hiding the letter inside her brassier).

Gold: (Stops in her track) That sounds like my sister’s voice.

Treasure: Who is there?

Gold: That’s definitely my sister, Treasure.

Gold: It’s me.

Treasure:  Gold, is that you?

Gold:  (Enters the stage) Yes (Sings and dances to a popular music).

Treasure: What’s wrong with you? And why are you dancing?

Gold: And what’s wrong with you? You’re out here in the cold, this early morning. What’s wrong with you?

Treasure: Watch how you talk to your big sister. Where have you been?

Gold:  (Stops dancing. Silent)

Treasure: I suspect that you went to see that guy. Eh? Isn’t that so? You sneaked out of the house. Wait until Mama hears it.

Gold: Pl-e-a-se, don’t tell her.

Treasure: (Pointing with her finger) Mama has told you to leave him alone, that he’s not good for you; but you refuse to listen and refuse to hear anything.

Gold: Treasure, you are my sister. Are you also against my love for Coltan? Can’t you understand what is going on in my heart, in my head, in my veins, my blood; all over my body? My sister, I can’t control the feeling. It is love. You understand it. You feel it too for that American Peace Corps guy who writes you love letters from America

Treasure:  (Feeling her heart and body) Oh … Tyron. I understand the feeling of love. But we have to obey our parents. We have to trust Mama. She knows better than we do. She knows that Coltan is not good for you.

Gold: Pl-ea-se you have to help me. I love Coltan so much. He is so good-looking and strong and smart and sensitive and loving and …

Treasure: Stop it. What you are saying hurts me because that is exactly what I think about my man Tyron. That is why I came out of the house. I want the fresh air to cool my brain. It is so hot from confusion about this … (brings a letter from her brassier).

Gold: You have another letter from him!

Treasure: Sh! (looks around) I promised Mmma that I will leave him and I want to leave him and wait for another man. (Sobbing) But my heart is not moving in the same direction with my brain. My brain says, “Follow Mama’s advise.” My heart says, “Follow your man in America.”

Gold: (Sniffing) I understand the feeling.

Treasure: But look at the wonderful news in this letter.

Gold: What is it? Does he want to marry you? (Tries to take the letter).

Treasure: Sh! Don’t be so loud. Mama will hear us

Gold: Does he want to marry you? Is he proposing to you?

Treasure: I’ll tell you everything. Let’s go to the park. I’ll give you the letter.

Gold: We’ll dance (Singing and dancing). We’ll dance about our love.

Treasure: You’ll read this letter and know everything. I want you to help me beg our mother. We have to convince her that Tyron is not inviting me to America in order to traffic me.

Gold: Traffic you?

Treasure: Yes. Because of the report that there is a global company that that agents that recruits girls for them. They promise to give the girls jobs in far away countries. When the girls get there, they force them to prostitute themselves. They take the money that the girls earn.

Gold: so the girls work for them.

Treasure: You got it. Mama suspects that Tyron may be an agent.

Gold: But we all know Tyron. He was in the American Peace Corps. He cannot be a trafficker.

Treasure: Will you help me to convince Mama about that?

Gold: Will you help me beg Mama to allow me to marry my prince?

Treasure: One at a time. Let’s beg her about mine first. After all I’m older than you.

Gold: Age does not matter. I love him. He loves me. We’ll live happily in love. He’s going to be very rich. I’ll be his queen and … (Dancing to the rhythm of love).

Treasure: Why didn’t he bring you home this morning? You sneaked out very early this morning to meet him. All by yourself.

Gold: No. He threw a stone on the window. That was his sign. I came out here and we went off together.

Treasure: But he did not bring you home. He left you to come home all by yourself. That is not love.

Gold: He saw me off but said he would come later to see our brother Kash.

Treasure: What for?

Gold: He wants Kash to help him beg our parents to allow him …

Treasure: It’s not our brother’s place to act as the go-between. That’s not our tradition.

Gold: (Lughing) You almost sound like Mama. (Mimics Mama Africa, “It is not our tradition”).

Treasure: It is not funny. If you want to convince our parents in matter like this, you have to think like them. They like tradition so if you don’t do things properly according to tradition, you lose.

Gold: I’m sure that they will be charmed by Coltan.  (Singing and dancing). He’s so charming. He’s so tall, so dark, so …

Treasure: Listen. Our brother and our cousin have decided to do as they like. Kash is going to Rome and Silver is going to Saudi Arabia.

Gold: They have always done what they want.

Kash: Not really. (Treasure and Gold are startled).

Treasure: Who?

Gold: What?

Kash: (Coming from the house) Our parents are against everything that we do.

Treasure: Oh Kash. You frightened me.

Gold: And me.

Kash: Sorry sisters. I’m just sick and tired of our parents telling us what to do. I want to go to the Christian conference and I must go whether they like it or not. The pastor said that they have a grant from America to sponsor people for the trip.

Treasure: Have our parents allowed you to go?

Kash: No.

Gold: Coltan said that I should greet you. He will come to our house today.

Kash: Papa is not in a good mood-o.

Treasure: What did Papa do?

Kash: He’s mad about many things. He’s not happy about Christianity especially my type that he calls born-again Pentecostalism. He’s also not happy about Islam. He calls them terrorists.

Treasure: But that is not true. The names are not …

Kash: I know. That’s what he hears from the radio. I tried to convince him but he gave me his favorite advice (Kash, Treasure and Gold mimic their parents simultaneously).

 “It is not our tradition.”

Treasure: (Laughing) “It is not our tradition.”

Gold: (laughing) “It is not our tradition.”

Mama Africa: (Coming from the house) What are you all doing outside the house?

Gold: We …

Kash: We were just talking …

Treasure: I … (Puts her hand behind her to hide the letter). We want to sweep the yard (looks for the broom)

Gold: (Runs and picks a broom and begins to sweep).

Mama Africa: Come my children. Let’s go inside the house. (The children are unsure).

Mama Africa: We are going to have a very big cleaning. It is not just this yard that needs cleaning. We are going to clean the land. Go inside.

Kash: I’m not coming. Papa is mad at me.

Mama Africa: Come.

Gold: You won’t get Papa to be mad at us.

Mama Africa: (Takes the broom from Gold) Mad at you for cleaning the yard? (She smiles).

(Treasure and Gold go inside)

Mama Africa: Come. We are going to your father. (To Kash) Go to your uncle’s house (pointing to the house on the right). Bring him and Silver to our house. We are going to have a big cleaning



Scene 2


Papa Africa: (Walking from left to right, contemplating). They think that I am mad. My children think that I am mad. ‘Papa you make me mad. Papa, don’t be mad. Papa, don’t make me mad.’ When has madness entered the language that children use for their parents? It was not in my language when I was a child. But now. Children of nowadays! No respect for an elder. No respect for their father. My noble Africa issues are beyond their understanding. When I explain things to my children, they don’t understand. They read foreign books, learn foreign culture, and see things differently. This is why I want to take this matter to court. They will listen to the judge. I want a judge to listen to me and my witnesses. I want judgment on the issue of respect.

Mama Africa: (Coming from the house) It is not the issue of respect, my husband. It is the issue of everything that they are doing wrong.

Papa Africa: The same thing. Everything is wrong because they have no respect.

Mama Africa: Who will be our witness?

Papa Africa: The children will speak for themselves. I have sent word to my brother.

Mama Africa: You want him here?

Papa Africa: He and his son, Silver will be here. We all need to put our heads together. I want everybody to understand that I’m not mad.

Oil: (Coming from his house on the right): My brother, nobody says that you are mad. It is the situation that is mad. It is confusing.

Papa: Tell me more.

Oil: I’m in the oil business. It is big business. All this talk about litigation, going to court, and finding witnesses should stop. It delays business. Time is money.

Mama Africa: With all due respect to you as my husband’s young brother, I need to tell you now that I am not proud of your business.

Oil: But you take …

Papa Africa: (Gestures to Oil to keep quiet).

Mama Africa: You are in the oil business that pollutes our land. Go to Nigeria and see what is going on there.

Oil: what …

Mama Africa: You don’t hear about the Niger Delta area of Nigeria? You say that you have money but you don’t know what is happening in Africa. Let me tell you since you don’t know what is happening in Nigeria. Corporate bodies take sixty percent of their oil wealth. Oil companies pollute the waters with oil. The fish have died because of pollution. The trees have also died.  

Oil: But …

Mama Africa: The gas pollution has turned the forest black with sooth from their fire. The plants have died.

Oil: but … (Throws his hands up).

Mama Africa: Even the people are dying when there is no fish in the sea for them to eat. The farms are destroyed by the perpetual light. The country is …

Kash:  (Coming from the left) Who has provoked Mama this morning?

Oil: I was only trying to say that …

Kash: You don’t want to get her to narrate what the world has done to her.

Mama Africa: Yes the world carried my children away in big ships and I am still mourning them. God knows that my life would have been better without all the wars that were fought to capture them and all the kidnapping episodes and all the fear that made us abandon our homes to live in bushes because of fear.

Papa Africa: My wife. I have told you many times not to remember the slave days.

Mama Africa: But the memory will not leave my head. How can you blame me for remembering my children and brothers and sisters, my uncles and aunts who were carried away in big ships? Blame God for giving me memory.

Papa Africa: Okay remember it. Cry, nag. But it won’t change anything.

Mama Africa: I’ll …

Papa Africa:  (Holding Mama Africa) Let us focus on the court case and witnesses.

Coltan: (Walk in a hurry from the audience area): I have to find my friend Kash. He has to help me persuade his parents to allow me marry Gold. It is now urgent. I have to marry her before I leave. (Laughs and stops hurrying) I will be so rich that her parents will be proud to have me as their son-in-law. But I have to see Kash and see how he can help me to tell his parents that I want to marry Gold. (enters the stage) The thought of my girl Gold makes me …

Coltan: (Stops when he sees Papa Africa). Ah ah! Why is everybody outside here? Papa Africa. (slight bow) Mama Africa. (slight bow. Embarrassed. Coughs) I want to tell you that …

Papa Africa: Is that how you greet your elders?

Coltan: I’m sorry. (Deep bow; greets in an African language) Greetings Papa. Greetings Mama (coughs).  I just want to tell you that … that … I’m leaving for the Congo. (Enthusiastic) The new scramble for Africa is going on there! I want to be part of it. This time they are mapping and sharing the precious stones. Coltan, diamonds, copper, oil; just name it! The whole world is there including Africans. They start wars, get the people out and just keep on digging the earth in search of minerals. And they get plenty of minerals. The global corporations …

Mama Africa: It is wrong!

Oil: What again!

Mama Africa: They create wars and refugee situation. It is wrong! There is mass rape of women there! Children starve. People are dying.

Oil: Old story Mama Africa.

Coltan: I’ll join a militant group, make my money there. Then I’ll start a charitable organization for you. You can go and rescue the children from there and we’ll announce it on the radio! You’ll be a hero! Global hero!

Mama Africa: (gestures with her hand) You’re  … If I catch you ever talking to my daughter again … (moves towards Coltan).

Papa Africa: This fool speaks to my daughter? Which one? Gold or Treasure. (To Kash) Go and call your sisters.

Kash:  Yes sir (goes).

Papa Africa: No, don’t go. I don’t want you to prepare them for my questions. I’ll get them myself (Goes inside. Mama Africa follows him)

Coltan: What did I do wrong? I only want us to join in the global capitalism and get our money. (To the audience) We just can’t sit down and watch different countries and corporations take Africa’s treasure and goodness while we lose out. I just want our own share.  (Sits on the edge of the stage). It is true what they say; that the family is backward. They see the bad side of everything.

Oil: Young man, come back here. We need to convince everybody that we all need to join in the new scramble for Africa. Other countries are making money in Africa and we stay here and talk about tradition.

Kash: You’re right. America is here. That’s how Treasure met her boyfrie … (holds his mouth and looks to see that his father is not there).

Oil: Not only America. China, Britain, France; all of them are here taking our oil and we sit here and talk about tradition. I must continue my Oil business with them in Nigeria.

Coltan:  Me too, I’ll go to the Congo. Every good thing has a price. So what if a few women are raped and a few children die? In the end we create big money. Soldiers die in all the wars in the world, but we still go to wars. Women are raped in all the wars.

Oil: Men are raped too.

Coltan: And there are so many wars going on in places like eh … Afghanistan.

Kash: Sudan. Israel and Palestine. Iraq. Chechnya.

Oil: Anything can kill anybody. People die in natural disasters; earthquakes.

Coltan: People die in plane crashes. So what? Shall we stop flying because people die?

Mama Africa: (Coming from the house) Oil. Where is your son, silver? He’s not in my house. He should join us in this gathering.

Kash: He’s busy preparing for a conference.

Mama Africa: What conference?

Kash: Mama. What conference. I want to say …eh … Mama, help me beg Papa.

Mama Africa: I have told you to stop speaking in tongues. Say what you want to say!

Kash: Mama. I will be going to the World Christian conference in Rome. I’m going there to represent Africa.

Mama Africa: Who is Africa?

Kash: Uh? Africa. You are Mama Africa. I’m going to represent you and Papa Africa, and my sisters and my uncle and cousin. I’ll represent my friend Coltan. Everyone. All Africa. Yes, I’m going there for all of Africa.

Mama Africa: Who did you discuss this with? Did you discuss it with your father? As for me, I don’t know about it.

(Silver comes out from the house and tries to sneak away).

Kash: I’m an adult, Mama. Must I get permission from you before I go to a conference?

Mama Africa: (to Silver) And you! What are you up to?

Silver: Mama. I’m not going anywhere (looks at his brief case, puts it on the other hand).

Mama Africa: My child. Since your mother passed, have I not been a good mother to you?

Silver: You are a good mother to me. Did I …

Mama Africa: Then come out with the truth. What are you up to?

Silver: Okay Mama. I’m going to the Islamic conference in Saudi Arabia.

Mama Africa: What?

Silver: Kash is going to the Christian conference. I have to go to the Muslim conference. We are just bored with …

Papa Africa: (Comes out with Gold and Treasure. To Silver). Shut your big mouth young man. I say shut your mouth!

Silver: What have I done …

Oil: Sh!

Diamond: (Coming from the audience area and speaking French). Je suis Diamon Diamond. Je parle Francaise parce que J’ai etudie dans des universities globales.

Diamond: (Entering the stage) I want to testify in this court case, whether you like it or not.

Papa Africa: What is going on? Is the world going mad?

Diamond: Mon ami Papa Africa (Stretches his hand for a hand shake).  Qu'est-ce qui se passe? What’s going on?

Mama Africa: That’s it. Our people speak in different languages that we cannot understand. Yes, Papa Africa. The world is mad.

Diamond: No, Mama Africa. I learnt many languages when I went to school. My friend, Papa Africa, saw me when I was going to school. You were there when I went to school.

Papa Africa: So what if I saw you? Somebody has to stay at home and keep our tradition going. People are going to Rome (gestures towards Kash) and Saudi Arabia (gestures towards Silver). (Gestures towards Oil) Others join in killing and looting Africa. (Holding Mama Africa) Some people have to look after our tradition, the mighty Iroko tree, our forebears …

Mama Africa: And take care of the children, the land, the festivals … we have to be here to welcome you when you come back to Africa.  If you come back alive, we welcome you. 

Papa Africa: If you come back dead, we bury you.

Diamond: Non non non. I’m not against you. Just saying that I am speaking what I learnt. Le Français. French. French Mama Africa (bows).

Papa Africa (to Coltan): Young man, what do they call you?

Kash: His name is Coltan.

Gold: His name stands for the precious stone that is used to make cell phones (smiles at Coltan).

Mama Africa: (to Gold) Sh sh. (To Papa Africa) Let us go inside the house. There are too many issues to discuss. Let’s go inside and sit down to talk about them.

Papa Africa: Young man. Mr. Cell Phone, don’t come into my house.

Mama Africa: Please, let us not quarrel. We have too many problems; we need to tackle them together in peace.

Kash: (Gestures to Coltan to come) We are going to sit with our parents across the table. This is wonder in Africa.

Gold: And talk about our issues. Real wonder.

Treasure: Something new is happening. Something great. Don't you feel it?

Silver: I don't want to talk now.  It is time for my prayers. You guys can go. I’ll join you after my prayers (brings out a mat for kneeling as others leave the stage).



Scene 3


(The characters enter the stage from inside the house. They enter in groups of three and two. As each group talks, the others mime a conversation).

Kash: So you won’t be going to the Congo to join in the modern scramble for Africa?

Coltan: I don’t know. Let’s wait to see what the jury will say about the whole thing. If the jury decides that the global corporate bodies and countries that are fighting for Africa’s wealth should stop, then I’ll stop.

Kash: And if the jury does not order them to stop …?

Coltan: I’ll go and make my money! I want to be rich. I still want to marry your sister.

Kash: Leave that issue for now. Let’s face the jury first.

Coltan: I’m just telling you as my friend and her brother (smiles at Gold who is coming out with Treasure)


Treasure: I’m happy that everybody had a chance to speak about their issues and their goals in life and for Africa. I think that I’ll continue with school and study languages.

Gold: And speak French like papa’s friend, Mr. Diamond?

Treasure: Not because of Diamond.

Gold: But?

Treasure: Because I want to speak many languages. I’ll learn African languages. I’ll learn European languages. I’ll learn Chinese, Russian and many many languages.

Gold: Say the truth, you want to go to America so that you can join your man.

Treasure: … mh …Yes, but I also want to learn languages so that I can use my skills to speak about African issues to other countries. I’ll interpret our issues in the court. I’ll also learn international law.

Gold: Well … I still want to marry (smiles and waves at Coltan).

Treasure: Anyway, I’m happy that we’re not going to court. I prefer the jury. I want many people, men and women, gay and dull, green and red, purple and yellow; people of all colors and concerns in the world should listen to the issues, think about the issues and judge them. I don’t want one man to sit in judgment over us.

Gold: Me too. I prefer the jury. Can you imagine standing in front of the stern-looking judge and having those attorneys hammer us with questions?

Treasure: I’m not afraid of them. Look at all the bad things that are happening in the world. What are they doing about them?

Gold: Nothing.

Treasure: Tyron said that big money gets in their way. 

Gold (laughing): Huh. Tyron is now the wise man?


(Diamond, Oil and Silver enter)

Diamond: (To Silver) It was good that you came to the meeting with us. (Patting Silver on the shoulders) C’est bien jeunehomme.

Silver: Of course I had to come after my prayers. After all we are all brothers.

Oil: We are one people.

Silver: Religion should not divide us.

Oil: The meeting turned out to be a very good one.

Diamond: I hope that the jury session will be very good too.

Silver: I have prepared my statement with a lot of evidence. I’ll wait for my turn to address the jury, and then I’ll ask them a lot of questions about Israel and Palestine.

Oil: That is not an African issue.

Silver: That’s what you think. All the issues in this world are connected. As long as we have Muslims in our family, their issue is our issue. As long as we all share this global world with Muslims and the faithful of other religions, their issues are our issues. We are connected.

Oil: They said that charity begins from home. Why not begin with the Muslim issue in Sudan, Africa?

Kash: (Gestures towards Oil) Yes, Muslim issue is huge there in the Sudan.

Silver: (to Kush) Don’t forget that it is also a Christian issue depending on your perspective.

Diamond: Muslim issue. Christian issue. I’m sick and tired of religious issues. Let’s talk about rich and poor. Too much money in the hands of few people.  Lack of money for the majority of people. This is the main problem in this world. I’m going to testify before the jury. My subject is poverty in the world. I’m going to present the case of the poor in French, then English, then Zulu, then …


Gold: (to Treasure) There you go, languages!

Treasure: Hey! Guys don’t forget African religion in that argument.

Silver: Our parents already take care of that. Tradition, tradition, tradition. That’s all we hear from them.


(Papa Africa and Mama Africa enter).

Papa Africa: Tradition is the basis of who we are and it is from that basis that we shall speak to the jury.

Silver: When are we going to meet this popular jury?

Mama Africa: You are already before them. This is the best jury. The world jury. (Addressing the audience as the jury) You all have your traditions. You have your cultures. You have your safe places. So you will understand us when we talk about preserving our tradition and identity.

Papa Africa: When we talk about stopping the new scramble for Africa. As we do in Africa, we shall begin with prayer or what some people call anthemn.

Mama Africa: Just to remind us of our basic humanity and what should be important to us as human beings. 

Pap Africa: You all know it, so say it together one line by one person.


(Each character will say one line of the following verse)


We are one world, many fortunes, and many countries; connected.

The ecosystem leads us all to one destiny in one Earth.

The excavations and tunnels destroy our one Earth.

The devastation of forests unnerves the only Earth.

The destruction of human populations is our failure.

The destruction of the environment is our downfall.

Our modernity and humanity come to nothing,

When we cannot say NO to what we know is bad.


The actors take a bow.





Zenas as Papa Africa

 Elgar as Mama Africa

Gui N as Oil

Fabrice as Kash

Yann as Silver

Leo as Coltan

Sandra as Treasure

Norma as  Gold

Augustine as Diamond 

Page title: Scramble for Africa 2 - play
Last update: January 5, 2011
Web page by C. G. Okafor
Copywright © Chinyere G. Okafor