I send you greetings from Rt. Honourable Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament and Patron of the BN Poetry Foundation. It is a privilege to be part of Uganda’s literary heartbeat, to feel the pulse of words and creativity through projects such as this. Literature is one of the most vital tools for any country to survive. Through various historical stages, our country has been immersed in joy and pain. Literature, especially poetry, is able to define those moments in way that no other art can.
The efforts of the annual BN Poetry award, which is now in its fifth year, will not go unnoticed. The steadiness and determination of its founder, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, are immeasurable. I congratulate her and the entire team for joining hands to create a platform to promote poetry.
When I heard that in 2014, the award will extend to the entire continent, I was impressed by the growth and vision of the project. On behalf of The Speaker, I continue to encourage Beverley and each of you here to keep on working towards realizing your dreams. A dream is the seed for success. Hard work and faith are the ingredients for continuity, growth and life beyond our wildest dreams. Every artist and promoter of the arts who are here today should never give up no matter how hard the struggle.
This BN Poetry Award is a testimony to the fact that anything is possible. I congratulate all the poets that have participated in the award since 2009, especially the winners. I believe that each poet is a winner but sometimes there is only space for one in that seat. It is a joy to stand amongst creative talent today and I hope that I get opportunity to share more of the success of literary growth in this country.
There are many poets and literary groups that have shaped and continue to shape the arts in Uganda. Amongst them are Okot p Bitek, Professor Timothy Wangusa, Justice James Ogoola, Uganda Women Writers’ Association, The Lantern Meet of Poets, Poetry in Session, to mention just a few.
There is a lot of power in your pens and in your head. We should unleash it to the world so that we can live in a better place. Change history through your dreams. Make a difference through your words. Tomorrow, renowned Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o will be holding a lecture at Makerere University at 2pm. I hope that you will also be a part of this because when we listen to elders in the trade, we learn wisdom which we can use and pass on. This year I also understand that they are also going to produce an anthology of poetry with all the winning poems and also other poets of the continent.
Once again, I congratulate Beverley Nambozo and her organizing committee. I congratulate the winners and wish them all the best as the award reaches the entire continent of Africa in 2014.
Thank you and God bless you
Honourable Flavia Kabahenda