Tuesday, August 14, 2018


George Gumikiriza Obyaga is my name.
Alias: Sir_Wootridge
George and Remi at Sipi Falls: #Babishai2018 Festival

I'm a 21 year old Ugandan currently in my 3rd year at Makerere University doing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with a great passion for art and creativity. I like photography but I bleed poetry for it's therapy to the mind.
I started doing poetry around mid 2016 when I joined a group of poets that were organizing a show to fundraise for the cancer patients called "Poetry for Cancer.
If I remember well none of my poems was selected for the show because they weren't good enough. And if you asked me, I would say this was the time I started writing poetry and gave time to every piece I wrote till I was obsessed with it. 
I hardly performed but kept sharing short poems on my Instagram (@sir_wootridge.writes) and sharing them in different WhatsApp groups. Day after day, people kept liking and commenting positively and this gave me the motivation to take it further.
I remember for about a month or two, people kept asking me where I got sir_wootridge's pieces from since they had googled and found nothing about him, till I told them it was me.

2. Process of writing the poem, Hymns of a Broken Symphony.
It took me about a fortnight to place ink on paper since I had been asked by a friend to write about their orphaned friend who was going through a tough time so I had to wait till the mise was ripe. So I kept thinking about my parents and imagined how I would feel if I lost them. 

3. Poetry to me
Poetry is life to me. I literally bleed, think and breathe it. Every time I see something, I'm always thinking on the half empty side of the bottle. Generally I derive depth from small things.

4. 5 year goals
First and foremost I would like to have released a book and create my own poetry firm to mainly help the fellow young writers and mainly the deep poets. Because I've realized most "would be" deep poets end up doing spoken word which they actually aren't good at.
So mainly I want to make a difference, become a certified poet and able to perform all over the world.
And mainly I would like to have a standing writes company to help writers all over Easy Africa and keep growing.

5. African Poets I Read:-
Chinua Achebe
Jayson Ntaro

6. Challenges I face:
The fact that I can't survive on poetry alone but need a certain job to cater for my bills. Which means I have to divide my time to cater for the two which I feel is cheating my talent.
Plus not many Ugandan actually understand the art so it's kind of a hard time explaining from scratch.

7. Advice to Literature Teachers:
Literature teachers should get their students more involved in the art, do more original writings than dwelling on the assigned books for a year or term. It's a very big thing what I have in mind for this and my fingers could get tired typing

Monday, August 6, 2018


Marial Awendit, from South Sudan, was declared the winner of the #Babishai2018 Poetry Prize, on Sunday 5 August at Starlight Hotel, Mbale. The winning poem 38 Photographs of Depression, was selected amongst thousands of submissions. The Chief Judge, Prof Rem Raj, also a Babishai board member, acknowledged, on behalf of the Judging team (Alfred Msadala from Malawi and Rehema Nanfuka from Uganda), that his poem was potent, highly imaginative and brimming with originality. The #Babishai2018 award-giving ceremony was held at Starlight Hotel in Mbale, owned by renowned poet and author, Professor Timothy Wangusa.
The winner receives $700 and publication of a chapbook poetry collection.

Marial Awendit, on receiving the news of his win.

In second place was Grace Sharra from Malawi. Unable to attend, she delivered her acceptance speech on phone and said she was still dazed.

Grace Sharra

In third place, from Uganda, was George Gumikiriza. A young poet studying for his degree in Mechanical Engineering at Makerere University, with a passion for art and creativity.

Award-giving ceremony

Guests at Starlight Hotel, Mbale.

The #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival took place from 3-6 August in Kapchorwa, Sipi Falls and Mbale. Organised by the teams of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation and Rhythm City Mbale, Babishai Founder, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, says that the Babishai Poetry Foundation has grown in extraordinary measures; especially by reaching out to  young poets from Africa, who would possibly have never been discovered or published. This year, the festival drew guests from Botswana, Nigeria, The United States, Rwanda and Uganda.

Poets at Sipi Falls: #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival.

In 2019, Babishai will celebrate ten years of promoting poetry through the annual award, publications and annual festivals. Follow us on Twitter @BNPoetryAward and on Instagram at babishai.