Sunday, April 28, 2013

FEMRITE POETS ARE NOT JUST PAGE POETS

I want to thank the person(s) who said that FEMRITE poets are page poets because I can’t remember when I have laughed so hard in my life. Thank you. You are funnier than Lenny Henry, funnier than all the Carry Ons put together, more hilarious than Mr. Bean and you are just the right medicine for a dull day. Whenever I feel low, I remember what you said and I just laugh some more. In 2000, FEMRITE initiated its annual week of activities where poets performed during bonfires and book launches. In 2001 outside the National Theater as it was called then, we read and oerformed our poetry around a bonfire, we danced to the Larakaraka, we read from playscripts, we ate roasted goat meat far into the night as our words made us laugh, ponder and more importantly, united us. Dr. Susan Kiguli, (PHD) and author of two award-winning poetry collections, The African Saga and Home Floats in the Distance, the latter which is also bi-lingual, has been performing around the world for over ten years. She has been chief guest at The Time of The Writer in Durban, Creative Center for Arts, in Germany, in England, Scandinavia, many other parts of Europe and countless times in Uganda. Nakisanze Segawa, a young spoken word performer and also a traditionalist is amongst the single most rewarding performers and she proved this during the launch of the Caine Prize anthology this month. How then can people say that FEMRITE poets are page poets? Maybe they say that to make us laugh because you have to admit, it sounds funny when you think of it. In 2002 when Kampala hosted the International Women’s Know How Conference and Women’s World Congress, Jackee Batanda, Mildred Barya, Arac de Nyeko, Beatrice Lamwaka and myself all performed during various intervals. Mildred is relentless when it comes to poetry performance. From 1999 when FEMRITE began hosting the readers-writers’ club every Monday, people have been performing and listening to feedback of their works. Personally, I am very blest because every year when I hold an annual poetry award, new poets read their winning poems at the award ceremonies and I am privileged to listen to new entertaining fresh voices. Hilda Twongyeirwe, the current coordinator of FEMRITE, has been performing in English and Rukiga for over a decade. Other performance poets are Rosey Sembatya, Sophie Alal, Betty Kituyi, Lillian Aujo, Philo Nabweru, Sophie Bamwoyeraki, Flavia Zalwango and so many others. I would like to appreciate the new initiatives that have been set to promote the spoken word. More power to you. We’ve got this. No looking back. Have a gd week. Bev Nambozo

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