I Will Marry When I Want is a play that portrays the struggle of peasants from Kenya following the declaration of independence. It’s the play that depicts the hardship [a difficult and tragic circumstance] of a peasant’s families like those of the Kiguundas family. Kiguunda is the only person with one-half acres which is his primary source of his family, even however, the tiny piece of land is located in the marginal zone. The play focuses on the high rate of exploitation by foreigners who employ indigenous people to take advantage of Kenyans,and we can see how multinational companies that employ individuals like Ahab Kioi Konoru to profit from other Africans. Therefore, the main purpose of the production is to portray the high exploitation of peasants and workers by foreign capitalists and indigenous people acting as middlemen. The playwrights explore the concerns of neocolonialism as well as its effects on the poorer countries.
This play is a critique of the current world where large corporations from developed countries, working in tandem with indigenous peoples have been exploiting the poorer countries in the name of globalization, so this play generally is an attack on neo-colonialism.
The title of the play is gotten from the 16th page when Gathoni declares “I shall marry when I want, nobody will force me into it”. It represents the freedom that girls want that could have negative consequences, as we see in Act 3 when Gathoni was pregnant outside of wedlock. Also, the above quotes demonstrate the ways that people are traditional because they are ignorant, hence they expect things to occur as they would like.
The play is comprised of three acts. Act one is one act that isn’t divided into scenes. Act second is broken into two parts, and the third act has three scenes.
In Act 1, the playwright explores the concept of drinking in the country, particularly those who are dismissed from their work. We can see this through the drunken man who walks through Kinguundas home singing. We also observe how the church is trying to take money from the poor by soliciting contributions to the construction of the Church from Kinguunda even though his home requires every dime they can get their hands on. We observe that they were lacking salt to cook stew [salt is believed as one of the least expensive ingredients available at the market]. They even had to solicit donations for it from their neighbour Gicaamba. Gathoni is a sign that our children are in moral depravity and lack regard for anyone.
In the second act, Gicaamba talks about the lack of humility of the church. He says that when the wealthy die, they pray for him, but when a poor person dies they do not care about him, and they don’t pray for funeral ceremonies. This is the reason Gicaamba included an old proverb that reads “A wealthy man’s fart will not last’, which means that if someone is wealthy and a leader the people don’t consider their weaknesses.
He claims his new religious beliefs introduced by whites is designed to soften Africans so that they can find an easy method of gaining access to the Africans by setting out what they want and citing the ways African religious leaders react to detention. Camps like Manyani, Mageta, Hola etc. are designed to aid in weakening freedom fighters.
In the third act In act 3, we see the nepotism that occurs when Kioi suggests John Muhuuni be Director of the company. There’s also a huge difference in class as the wealthy are not able to marry those who are poor while considering the way Kiguunda was killed because Kiguunda demanded on Kioi the fact that Kiois son John would marry Gathoni because he had impregnated the woman.
Ngugi makes use of Gicaamba to tell the people of Kenya to cease fighting since fighting will not solve their problems and instead, they must contemplate what they can do to resolve their issues and critically consider who their true enemies are and what they should do to defeat them. Ngugi insists on the necessity of unity as the sole way to end poverty. He also discourages the consumption of drinking so much that it doesn’t solve the issue. With this, the show coming to an end.