Prototypes of Teenagers and Construction of Identity in Adolescents through Film: A Study of Tahidi High – A Kenyan Television Drama



Identity is the recognition of one’s potential and qualities as an individual, especially in relation to social context. Identities are the points of identification, the unstable points of identification or suture, which are made, within the discourses of history and culture. Not an essence but a positioning,  identities are quite complex.  Film being a crucial mode for edutainment is an apt avenue for gaining knowledge on a people’s sense of identity. Tahidi High is a Kenyan TV drama whose main focus is the teenage high-schooler. In enunciating the dramas of teenagers, the TV drama inexorably exemplifies the adolescents’ struggles to apprehend themselves and their surroundings. Veritably, the drama suggests that we might think of teenage identities as framed by two axes or vectors, simultaneously operative; the vector of similarity and continuity; and the vector of difference and rupture.  Subsequently, this paper examines the portrayal of the teenage student characters in Tahidi High with a view to look at how the socio-emotional stage of teenage – identity crisis - and milieu has contributed to the representation of the teenagers and hanker to understand themselves and  environment. Basing upon the theoretical perspectives of psychologist Erik Erikson, this paper examines the dilemmas of the student teenagers. The quest for affiliation, the fear of alienation, responsibility and role taking, naïve idealism and role modelling are some of the issues attendant to teenage identity crisis that have been discussed.


Download data is not yet available.

Abrams, B. & Ian, B. et al. (Eds) (2001). Studying Film. London: Arnold.

Atkinson, J. M and Heritage, J (eds) (1984). Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brandt, G. (Ed) (1993). The Language and Technique of the Film. Monton: The Hague.

Boulton, M. (1954). The Anatomy of Prose. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul ltd.

Erikson, E.H. (1970). “Reflections on the Dissent of Contemporary Youth.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 51, 11-22.

Giannetti, L. (1990). Understanding Movies (5th Ed). Prentice Hall: New Jersey

Gillespie, M. (1995). Television, Ethnicity and cultural change.

London: Routledge.

Hawthorn,J. (1987). Unlocking the Text; Fundamental Issues in Literary Theory. London: Edward Arnold.

Lembo, R. (2000). Thinking Through Television. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marcia, J. E. (1966). “Development and validation of ego identity statuses”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551-558.

Marcia, J. E. (1976). “Identity six years after: A follow-up study.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 5, 145-160.

Marcia, J. E. (1980). “Identity in adolescence.” Handbook of Adolescent Psychology. J. Adelson (Ed.). New York: Wiley.

Mugubi, J (2012). The Child Character in Adult Literature: A case study of six selected Caribbean Novel. Berlin: Lambert Academic Publications

Peer, W.V. (1986). Stylistics and Psychology. Investigations in Foregrounding. Kent: Croom Helm Ltd.

Rifkin, B. (1994). Semiotics of Narration in Film and Prose Fiction; Case Studies of ‘Scarecrow’ and ‘My Friend Ivan Lapshim’. New York: Peter Lang Inc.

Vivian, J. (1999). The Media of Mass Communication. Allyn& Bacon: Massachusetts.

Wamuyu, CN. (Director). Tahidi High. (2007). Kenya: Royal Media Services

Wesonga, R. (2011). “The Portrait of a Secondary School Student in a Contemporary Kenyan Television Drama: A Study of Tahidi High”. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Nairobi, Kenyatta University.



How to Cite

Wesonga, R. (2017). Prototypes of Teenagers and Construction of Identity in Adolescents through Film: A Study of Tahidi High – A Kenyan Television Drama. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(6).