Sunday, January 8, 2017

The New Year Bubbles Like A Brook

Whenever the Babishai team meets,  one of the messages that helps us to realize our annual objectives is to plan as if we have unlimited amount of money. With that,  each of us dreams big without limitations. Poetry offers boundless opportunities. With our third annual festival this year, more publications and poetry adventure through forests, together we'll break limits.

#Babishai2017 will light with poetry

#Babishai 2017, believing

Cynics will tell you that expressing exuberance at the start of the year won't mean anything as long as corruption and poverty exist. These cynics usually have an abundance of mental poverty and emit bad vibes wherever they go.

New years,  new beginnings and new plans are an excellent way to guarantee a year of hope and pleasantness. Starting with energy is like driving a car that's fully serviced and full of petrol. You'll travel far and safe.
During the January 2017 Dine and Dream event organised by Joan Mugenzi's Imagine Me Africa's team, main speaker Julian Kyula empjasized that we should position our vision well. It's impossible to do that with so many negatives outweighing the positives. If your team doesn't value time-keeping,  professionalism and hard work,  it may be time to restrategize and get a new team.
Julian Kyula in centre with Emmanuel and Nambozo Nsengiyunva

When like-minded driven people follow and apply their drive towards the same vision,  the impact is always great.
Julian went on to tell us that we must serve in the correct place.

How often do we engage in time-wasting,  uninspiring activities with unmotivated individuals who only invite you because they expect you to perform a miracle with their extremely poorly thought out plan? It's time to put an end to that. Serve in places where you're valued,  where there's honour and where you're not doing all the work.
Also,  Julian says, that according to investment bankers,  raising 1 Million US Dollars takes the same amount of energy as raising 100 Million US Dollars. We may as well dream big.

Inspiration for the new year.
At Babishai,  we wish you nothing but the very best as you create positive impact.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Babishai and Open Mic at Kampala International School Uganda Poetry Slam

When poetry escapes through the minds and hearts of children,  there is no doubt that the universe has made a great investment.

Early reading inspires creativity/photo from Kampala International School Uganda

 Babishai Poetry Foundation Director,  Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva and Open Mic Director Shiraz Murray witnessed a cocktail of indescribably brilliant poetry at the Kampala International School Uganda Poetry event held in early November.

Shiraz Murray

From Years 7 to 9,  the children captivated the wide-eyed audience for over two hours. Being part of a competition did not deter the pupils from adorning themselves in the most glorious poetry costumes possible.

Topics ranged from deep seated society issues like cruelty to animals,  racism and poverty.  With unexpected word twists,  creative imagery and unapologetic realities,  the children were courageous and explored those themes affecting them. This proved that U. S elections,  race relations and political attitudes affected them as much as everyone else.

It was difficult as the judges selected winners and no surprise that there were several ties. The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation,  through the children's literary program,  Babishai Poetricks,  identifies with school poetry programs like this to maximize a child's potential through exploration of poetic devices.

Students at 2016 Babishai festival

In 2017,  Babishai will conduct another primary school poetry competition after an extremely successful one this year. They will also continue with their creative literary outreaches in children. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016



Orimoyole Moyosore

Isaac Tibasiima, judge

Ambassador Ngesu Chief Guest from the Kenya High Commission

Sanya Noel from Kenya,for his poem, What would we have called you had you lived, emerged joint winner with Orimoloye Moyosore from Nigeria for his poem Love is a Plot Device but your insecticide is not. In the middle of an evening filled with poetry,music, Babishai festivity and conversations from all over Africa, Ambassador Ngesu from the Kenyan High Commission in Kampala, announced the two winners. They  both win 700 USD, participation in the 6-month Babishai mentorshsip scheme and fully paid for attendance and selected festivals around Africa.
Here is Sanya’s winning poem.
What we would have called you if you had lived
The fat graduand. The laughing ugly girl.
But you would have laughed it off.
And your father wouldn’t have stormed into college,
with plain clothes policemen.
No arresting a teacher for having struck you.
No epileptic attacks, Maggie.
No collapsing at your own graduation
fourteen years later.
We watch you walk to be given the power to read.
You’re not a baby now, Maggie.
You’re not a fat spoilt baby at all.
You’re not ugly anymore, Maggie.
You don’t twist your mouth when you speak.
We’re not envious of your having gotten an epilepsy attack
just when the teacher was about to strike you, Maggie.
But no epilepsy protects us from the teacher’s cruelty.
No disease prevents us from going to school, unlike you.
Not even simple Malaria, Maggie.
And our fathers won’t come to school with policemen
because a teacher struck us.
But you’re dead now.
We buried you, Maggie.
And we never took it back;
the fat, the ugly, the twisted mouth.
We just wanted your epilepsy.
We just wanted a father
who would not beat us because teachers beat us, Maggie.
We just wanted a disease, a condition, the police, a mother, anything,
to protect us from the cruelty of the math teacher.
And you had them.
Won’t you just understand that, Maggie?
Sanya Noel
Duduile za Mabaso from South Africa, reading her poetry         and      Oswald Okaitei from Ghana, in performance
Here is Orimoyole’s winning poem,
Love is a Plot Device and your Insecticide is not
And when you design
The ultimate insecticide,
You’ll tell me about malaria,
And how I never have to worry
About artemether,
About lumefantrine,
Ever again.

And I’ll tell you about my lover,
How she runs her fingers
Through these bumps at night.
How she pretends these mosquito bites
Are nothing but bullet wounds.
How she asks with feigned concern,
Where did you get these?
How I wince as I say Kosovo-
We were outnumbered…

Orimoyole Moyosore   (Nigeria)
 Kakinda Maria Birungi frrom Uganda and Kyle Allan from South Africa, were the poets amongst the top five.
Agnes Kabaungi from Uganda ,performing.
Ngartia from Kenya, performing
The #Babishai2016 team thanks you and congratulates the winners.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016



The Toastmasters Challenge is an intellectual battle of words between Kampala Toastmasters and poets. Poets in Kampala have created a positive shift in the creative industry. Through their inventiveness, Kampala flourishes with rich verse. Kampala Toastmasters Club is part of an international organization that trains in public speaking and effective communication. They meet every last Tuesday and every second Friday of the month at Protea Hotel in Kampala.

Tom Jalio,astmasters challenge judge

Meet the contestants:-
Moderator: Phillip Matogo

1.       L-Ness  Lydia  (Kenya)
2.       Winnie Apio (Uganda)
3.       Fahima Kimbugwe  (Uganda)
4.       Mark Gordon Slam Poet (Uganda)
5.       Jordey Lonyo (Uganda)

Kampala Toastmasters
1.       Connie Nshemereirwe (Uganda)
2.       Abubakar Matanda (Uganda
3.       Davis Tashobya (Uganda)
4.       Stephano Kiyemba (Uganda)
5.       Paul Kavuma (Uganda)

Meet the Judges
Lekpele Nyamalon (Liberia)
Doreen Baingana (Uganda)
Tom Jalio (Kenya)

ROUND ONE is a knock-out round where two toastmasters and two poets will leave
Each of the ten contestants has between 3-5 minutes to present their speech or poem on any topic of their choice. Their presentations will be timed and any piece below 2 and a half minutes or above 5 and a half minutes, will be immediately disqualified.

There will be time cards.
Green time card will flag at 3 minutes
Yellow time card will flag at 4 minutes
Red time card will flag at 5 minutes

Judging Criteria:
        I.            Relevance of message
      II.            Eloquence and Enunciation
    III.            Creativity
    IV.            Connection with audience
      V.            The oomph factor/originality

ROUND TWO is also a knock-out round where two toastmasters and two poets will also leave
In round two, each of the 6 contestants has between 3-5 minutes to present their speech or poem on any topic of their choice. This time they are permitted to use a prop of their choice to enhance their presentation. Their presentations will be timed and any piece below 2 and a half minutes or above 5 and a half minutes, will be immediately disqualified.
There will be time cards.
Green time card will flag at 3 minutes
Yellow time card will flag at 4 minutes
Red time card will flag at 5 minutes
        I.            Relevance of message
      II.            Eloquence and Enunciation
    III.            Appropriate and creative usage of prop
    IV.            Connection with audience
      V.            The oomph factor/originality
In round three, each of the 2 final contestants has between 3-5 minutes to present their speech or poem on any topic selected by the audience. This time the two finalists will leave the area while the audience selects a topic. The finalists will then pick a random number in a hat to decide who goes first. Their presentations must be based on the given topic chosen by the audience and they will have minimal time to prepare. They will be timed and any piece below 2 and a half minutes or above 5 and a half minutes, will be immediately disqualified.

There will be time cards.
Green time card will flag at 3 minutes
Yellow time card will flag at 4 minutes
Red time card will flag at 5 minutes

The audience will then select the winner.

The winner will receive a card to the award-giving  dinner on Friday 26 August at Fang Fang Restaurant and a book of their choice.
Our festival programme is available on our website and we can be reached via email at

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


And here we are with the #Babishai2016 Poetry shortlist. The shimmering of verse upon verse and conversations with trusted unknowns; the readers. This shortlist is their gift, an addition to the journey of those who have graciously embellished life with their own creativity.
Congratulations to each one. We’ll be holding a discussion on the shortlist at Femrite offices in Kampala  on Monday 22nd August from 5:30 pm. Please join us. Last year, Harriet Anena and Prof Rem Raj lead the same fiery discussion.


The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation Team
Vision: A Society immersed in poetry

Email address:
Tel:                         +256 751 703226
Twitter:                @BNPoetryAward
The #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival runs from 24 to 26 August 2016  in Kampala Ntinda at Maria's Place opposite the Froebel stage, near Victory City Church.
Poetry Festival

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Abigail Arunga is a Kenyan poet who will one day write and make so much money that she’ll retire young and happy. She is the author of two extremely vivid and creative poetry collection namely; Akello (2014) and a side of raunch (2016). Abigail wonders why people still won’t talk about sex and we’re proud to host her at the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival.

 Abigail, which people are those who have refused to talk about sex and why do you think that is?
EVERYONE. Our parents. Our friends. Our teachers. Our publishers. Our newspapers. Our politicians, unless it is to insult each others’ genitals, which honestly, doesn’t count. Why don’t they talk about it…because everyone has this obsession with looking holy. And everyone wants to look holy because sex, even a hint of it, is considered taboo, or only to be talked about by married people, and even then, only on the first night after asking hurried permission for entry.

In your session entitled, The place of sensuality in Contemporary Poetry, and why people still won’t talk about sex, would you consider it successful if more people included sex in their writing?
Well. Successful is not the word I would use. Maybe more, truthful. Because truthfully, or at least as Kenyans, sex is on our minds a lot. Sex sells. People buy it. People want it. People think about it, whether they are having it or not. And not in a pervy leery or rapey way for a large part, just in a healthy, we-are-humans-and-have-needs way.

Akello's books will be on sale at the Babishai Festival

You want to grow your dreadlocks as long as Maxi Priest’s. After that, what next for your hair?
I go around with dread envy for people whose dreads sashay all the way down to the swell of their arses. I love it. I am looking forward to mine being envied. And turning grey. And sashaying.

You will be part of a panel discussion on African feminism in poetry. A few African feminist poet who come to mind are Alice Walker (African American), Warsan Shire, Harriet Anena amongst others. What importance does African feminism play in your own poetry?
Simply because African feminism needs to be touted louder; my poetry, I think, offers a voice to that tone of sensuality that either has been stifled, or hasn’t been told, or hasn’t been said loudly and proudly, a lot of the time. People think some of my stuff is raunchy, and I am like…but you people, you give blowjobs, no? Just because I say it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Don’t act like it doesn’t, hehe.

When you hear of Ugandan poetry, what comes to mind?
Harriet Anena, of course, and Peter Kagayi’s lastest collection, The Headline This Morning. And also a hidden sexuality that I haven’t yet seen broadcasted. Stereotypical though it may be (and stereotypes aren’t a bad thing sometimes, they happen because they have been proven a few times), I think Ugandans are a very sexually exciting people.
How important do you think it is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Song of Lawino, by Okot ‘Bitek? (May he rest in peace)
It is important to celebrate what came before, what is here now, and what is coming. No pun intended.

How different were the writing processes for your two collections, Akello and A side of raunch?
A side of raunch took a much shorter time, and not just because it is shorter. Akello was younger and more unbridled. A side of raunch was scarier for me to announce. I am still hiding it from most of my relatives.

What do you expect at the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival?
To enjoy myself; to have rousing literary discussions; to drink a bit; to love it.

We look forward  to seeing you soon.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Lillian Akampurira Aujo is a Ugandan writer and a member of Femrite. In 2009, she won the inaugural BN Award with the poem 'Soft Tonight'. In 2015, she won the inaugural Jalada Prize for Literature with her short story "Where pumpkin leaves dwell.” During the 
 During the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival, she will Participate in a panel, "What are Ugandan women poets poeting about?"

Which one of your written poems do you constantly refer to and why?

1.      People ask me about ‘Soft tonight’, so I find that I keep referring to it a lot. 

 What is your relationship with poetry on the stage?
  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am comfortable on the page, and really uneasy on stage. So my relationship with poetry on stage is pretty novice.  I might change that soon, because for long I have toyed with the idea of being a performance poet.

 At the #Babishai2016 poetry festival, you'll participate in a panel entitled, What are Ugandan poets 'poeting' about? so, what are Ugandan women 'poeting' about?

3.    Politics! And I am glad that people like Anena have found un ignorable ways of putting it in Ugandan’s faces; a title like ‘I bow for my boobs’ is really hard to ignore.

 How would you define a successful poetry festival?

4.    A successful poetry festival has to have a buzz. (Yeah to Babishai on that!). Good performers to draw a crowd. And by crowd I categorically exclude poets, and include the other public. Good organisation of events, so that there aren’t too many similar things going on at the same time; that way guests don’t feel like they’ll have to miss out on something to attend another event. Then it has to have attendance from the public; otherwise who is it for?

 How has academiia influenced poetry, in your opinion?

5.   Has it? In my opinion there’s no clear cut distinction between academia and poetry. Even poets who don’t have degrees in literature and English or MFAs tend to invariably teach themselves the rules of poetry. So the two ‘worlds’ tend to co-exist in poetry..

6.  Parting remarks? 
6.   Memes like ‘poetry is for the elite’ need to die like yesterday! All our local languages are rich in poetry, the hawker on the street peddling his wares does so poetically, the touts calling to passengers do so poetically. So we need to stop lambasting ‘poetry’ with ‘elite’.

  Thank you.

   The Babishai Festival programme is here.