Creator of television puppet political satire show. After finishing high school, Godfrey “Gado” Mwampembwa joined Ardhi Institute to study architecture and created cartoons for various Tanzanian papers. He left Tanzania in 1992 to work as editorial cartoonist with Nation Media Group in Nairobi, Kenya. Gado studied animation at Fabrica, a Communication Research Centre in Treviso, Italy (1996-1997), and attended Vancouver Film School in Canada, where he graduated in film/animation in 2001.
Inspired by the French television show, Les Guingols de l’info (News Puppets), in 2003 Gado sought to create a Kenyan puppet political satire show. It had a pilot in 2007 and debuted in 2009 to acclaim. The XYZ Show was directed by James Kanja, with puppetry led by Jack Kbedi. Large latex puppets represent important political figures whose actions are lampooned. Marie Lora helped with producing and the show was mounted in 2009 with the help of NGOs on Citizen TV. Kenya Institute for Puppet Theatre (KIPT) helped in this nascent period. The show created a model for Pikabum, a Tanzania television production produced by Gado’s brother, Robert Mwampembwa.
Gado is a 2007 Prince Claus Laureate. He is also a winner of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission Award in Journalism in 2005 and 2007. In 1999, he was named Kenya Cartoonist of the Year.