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?
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
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.