Thursday, March 31, 2016


On Friday 18 March, to celebrate World Poetry Day, Babishai launched its quarterly Babishai Barbeque Nights at Blue Hummingbirds in Muyenga. Given the strength of spoken word events in Kampala like Poetry in session and Tontoma Poetry Jazz, there is a growing audience and a growing spoken word community which speaks into progress.

Preparing for the barbeque
Given the recent ripple effect of Presidential elections that arguably  crippled social media freedom for  a while and small businesses, events like these give an outlet for unhinged expressions, which are necessary for survival.
This night was held in the unique and breath-taking gardens of Blue Hummingbirds, where poets, musicians, word lovers and the corporates gathered to experience an  infusion of barbeque and poetry. The Body of Brian,with his melodious Humanoid, stunned the crowd. Mark Gordon,  slam poet, recited several poms amongst them, Rolex, published in Boda Boda Anthem.
The Body of Brian, performing Humanoid.
Israel Kalyango was probably the biggest surprise when he sang Lean on Me. Rather timid at first, his gifted voice rang throughout the night. One of our favourite comedians Daniel Omara, was able to wow us at every interval with his unforgettable jokes and gimmicks. you should hear the on about his surname.
Earlier that day, Babishai participated in the Song of Lawino 50th anniversary symposium, held at Makerere University. Packed to the brim with academics, students, schools and writers, Okot p’Bitek received a full honour that day.

Professor Taban lo Liyong and Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva at Makerere University.
During the Babishai Poetry Festival from  24-26 August in Kampala, we’ll be holding more celebrations of Song of Lawino @ 50.

Friday, March 11, 2016


 Each week, we interview our guests coming for the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival scheduled for 24-26 August 2016 in Kampala. In partnership with Praxis magazine, we want to share the power of poetry. This week, it’s Lekpele Nyamalon from Liberia, award-winning poet, public speaker and author of recent poetry collection, ‘Yearnings of a Traveller.’

Courtesy photo

1.       Lekpele, you’re the founder of Africa’s Life, a non-profit organization that supports youth towards motivational speaking and life-skills. Does this have any bearing to your own childhood?
 It does. As a child, I was constantly thrilled by the lives of other successful people. Eachtime a guest was invited to speak to us at school, I looked forward to someday becoming like one of them, coming back in a similar capacity to motivate other young people.

2.       How supportive has Open Society of West Africa been to your poetry in Liberia?
Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) did a tremendous job by exposing emerging poets like me to a larger platform of self belief. The experience on Goree Island, Senegal sponsored by OSIWA remains a treasured memory.

3.       How would you describe your debut collection, ‘Yearnings of a Traveller,’ in three words?
  Journey. Adventure. Homecoming.

4.       You won the 2015 World Poetry Day celebrations, organized by Young People Today in South Africa. Do you think older people are being marginalised in literary circles in Africa?
 I think the wave of literary and artistic expressions are taking a sweeping wave across the continent and a rude awakening is taking place.

5.       The theme for the Babishai 2016 Poetry Festival is Abundance: Poetry from Contemporary Africa. What does this mean to you?
This means that poetry has transcended the traditional approaches. Spoken word and direct forms of expressions that come from the soul are emerging genre of the art that must be accommodated nowadays.

6.       In June, Babishai will hold its inaugural Poetry on The Mountain and while there, launch a poetry collection on Mt. Rwenzori. How significant is this act of taking poetry to the mountain?
 It speaks of spending time with nature, the unspoken companions of poets and listening to them.

7.       What diet do you think is best for poets?
 I think a healthy diet with lots of water works.

8.       When you think of poetry in Uganda, what comes to mind immediately?

9.       Any parting remarks?
It has been a remarkable journey and I look forward to a unique blend of experiences from other poets from across Africa at the Babishai Poetry festival.

Thank you for your time.

For Babishai Poetry Festival details, email or follow us on @BNPoetryAward