Friday, May 20, 2016


Dear Exhibitor,

Do you have music, books, art and craft, jewellery, children’ s stories or any other family friendly product you would like to sell? Have you heard of Maria’s Place in Ntinda, the homeliest of Ntinda homes?

We invite you to market and sell your material during the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival, from 24-26 August, 0900h to 1700h, in one of Kampala- Ntinda’s lushest gardens, at Maria’s Place. With guests from the academia, arts, corporate world, schools and all around the world, we are certain that your products will fall in the right hands.
Please provide  the following information:-
1.       The name of your organization

2.       Name the exhibitor(s) Maximum of 2.

3.       Name the products to be sold.

If they are books or CDs, kindly provide the titles, authors, producer of publisher, year of publications and email the cover pages to

4.       Your contact information:-

Email address: 

 Tel no:             

5.       Each exhibitor will be provided with lunch and exhibition space. If you would like the Babishai sales team to sell your products, that is also acceptable.

6.       The exhibition fee for three days is 100,000/-. Kindly send payment via Airtel money on
+256 751 703226 or MTN mobile money on +256 782 764335 by 5th August 2016.
Early registration fee is 70,000/- and the deadline is June 30th 2016.

7.       For any inquiry, call George Kiwanuka on + 256 703 147862 or email

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Magunga Williams a blogger and creative writer from Kenya will attend the #Babishai2016 poetry festival in Kampala, from 24-26 August. He was nominated for the 2016 #BAKEAWARDS-Bloggers Association of Kenya Awards and runs a large online bookstore.

1.       The Magunga online bookstore is thriving and making a large difference regarding accessibility of literature, how did this idea emerge?
It is one of those things I have always wanted to know. It stemmed from a heartbreak I had when I was a kid when a neighbourhood library was shut down after its owner passed away. I cannot even remember his name. But I remember how much I loved going to that place. It was my refuge. When we were sent home due to unpaid school fees, my brother and I would visit that library. It had so many storybooks.

Time passed. That heartbreak healed, like very few heartbreaks usually do, but like many heartbreaks, it was not forgotten. Fast forward to 2014-15 and my partner and I are walking around Nairobi bookshops trying to get her poetry collection into bookstore unsuccessfully. Then I realized many self published authors, and many other authors had trouble distributing and marketing their books. I saw a vacuum and nature did the thing it does with vacuums. Now here I am, managing an online bookstore from the comfort of my house. One step at a time, because that is how I was taught to do things.

2.       How may we support this fabulous invention of yours?
How can you help? I throw that question back to you. You read books. You consume them with so much relish. Tell me what challenges you experience and then we can have a conversation about how you think we can solve them. I want to reach as many Africans as possible with this venture. Put a book in as many hands as possible.

3.       Which are the most popular books so far, from the Magunga online bookstore?
Oh! Elnathan John’s book, Born On A Tuesday, lasted all of two days and they were gone. Same with The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma.
Then there is Den of Inequities  and Last Villains of Molo  by Kinyanjui Kombani.

Ooooh! Any book by Zukiswa Wanner rarely stays for long. See, Zukiswa and Kombani have learnt that books are products like any other; you have to market them aggressively, and that is working very well for them.

(Do not tell my competitors, hehehe).

4.       What kind of poetry do you like to read?
I like easy to read poetry. The kind that affects you without your mind being forced to understand whatever is going on. Think Warsan Shire, Amu Nnadi, Abigail Arunga, Sheila Okong’o and Eric Onyango Otieno.
Woi! This chap called Saddiq Dzukogi is phenomenal.
I still do not know what the difference between poetry and spoken word is. Because Peter Kagayi is amazing.

5.       Were you surprised by your invitation to the Babishai Poetry festival last year and why?
Yes. I was surprised. Because I do not consider myself anyone of note in these literary circles, much less in poetry circles. I am a pretender. I know as much as Jon Snow.

6.       What do you expect from the festival this year?
I expect more fun. Last year was so well organized and so informative. Guests were treated well, the classes were just as good as they can get. Beverley is an angel. I can say that given the success of last year’s festival, then I am hoping to see a bigger crowd.

7.       Where would you place Christian literature in this secular world?
Hehehehe. You know everything has its own space, yeah? People who like stories will enjoy it regardless of whether it is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Legion Maria, Polo Piach  or Atheist. Remember that book, My Book of Bible Stories that we used to read as kids? Loved that book. Not because it was Christian, but because I was entertained by the stories. Left to Tell by Imaculee Ilibagiza is a sublime story about a woman finding God in the midst of the Rwandan genocide. But regardless of it’s religious inclinations, the story is well told. But of course there are material that I do not see people other than those of that faith buying. For instance, many people will not read The Hand of God simply because they have no interest in it.

Am I making sense?

8.       Congratulations on your 2016 #BAKEAWARDS nomination, who are some of your favourite Ugandan bloggers?
Peter Kagayi
Harriet Anena
Soooo Many Stories
But you have to agree with me that Ugandans have not really taken to blogging like we Kenyans have. Your internet keeps getting shut down every time the Leopard wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.

9.       What food in your opinion, is best for writers?
The edible kind

10.   Any parting remarks?

Be a good sport and buy books. Sharing is caring with other things, but not when it comes to books. So go to and make an order now. Haven’t you been told that the best place to be is in between the pages of a good book?

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Harriet Anena is the Online ContentProducer at the African Media Centre for Excellence and the author of A Nation In Labour, a poetry collection. She’s also a guest at the #Babshai2016 Poetry Festival from 24-26 August in Kampala.
On stage

Anena, your production, “I Bow for my Boobs,” was described as Political Erotica. Would you say this was an accurate description?
Yes. I deliberately framed the performance around political erotica. First, because my up-coming poetry collection is centered on political erotica. Secondly, politics and erotica are provocative topics on their own and even more provocative when merged; and considering Uganda is just walking off a hot political podium, I thought it relevant to focus the performance on the politics and erotica theme. 

when she's normal

What were some of the most surprising reactions to that performance?
I sort of expected most of the reactions to the performance – the shock, the awe and the pats on the back. After my first week of rehearsal, I was sure the person going on stage would not be Harriet Anena but someone new, someone has known before; someone no one suspects exists; except my director. The only reaction that surprised me was that people found the performance humorous. There was laughter throughout the performance and I could hear a laugh first and a sad sigh later as I performed the central poem of the day, I Bow for My Boobs’, in which I breakdown. 
Have people expressed incredulity at how there is an overt difference between your art and your demeanour?
Yes. A lot of people who have interacted with me know Anena is reserved; speaks only when she has to; shies away from crowds and is not the type who will be in your face. What they saw on stage was a different Anena. Some of the questions I got after the show was; ‘What did you drink before the performance?’ and ‘Was that really you on stage?”. It’s a pleasant reaction, which I still continue to receive, and I largely credit my director, Elizabeth Pamela Acaye, for it.  She literally dug me out of my cage, ensured I immersed myself in my poetry so I can lift them off the page to the stage. 

a star
What are some of your biggest fears as a poet?
My greatest fear has been whether I could ever perform my poems on stage and do it as well as I have done on paper. I think I’m on the way to overcoming that fear wholly, soon. Presently, the looming legal restrictions on how artists can express themselves, through the anti-pornography law, is what has been bothering my mind. I do hope we’ll find a way around it because as it stands, the law is ‘unimplementable’ and a mere diversion from more crucial things facing Uganda.
In an ideal world, how different would poets be than they are today?
In an ideal world, poets would live on poetry ALONE.
What are some of your expectations at the Babishai Poetry Festival?
I hope to see more Ugandans - young and old - converging to celebrate poetry and participate in the various activities and events at the festival.
When it comes to food, what in your opinion, should poets feed on?
Hahaha I love sweet bananas, Odii and sugarcane. Try it out.
Any parting remarks?
I am delighted and encouraged at the expanding spaces for poetic expressions, especially in Kampala today. I’m hoping the wave of poetry sweeps across the country and extends to upcountry areas. Poetry is all around us, we just need to be awaken to see it, feel it, live it. Together, we can make poetry a movement in Uganda and beyond.
Thank you!

The #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival runs from 24-26 August in Kampala. For details, visit or email,