Uganda Ignites in Poetry Passion
Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, Lillian Aujo and Rt. Honourable Rebecca Kadaga.

Uganda Ignites in Poetry Passion

I began a poetry award called the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award, to promote poetry primarily amongst women.

By Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
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First published: September 17, 2010

Most of the Ugandan poets I know have told me that poetry takes them to peaks of passion; it saves them from stress and heals them from heart ache. I agree with it all. In 2008, I began a poetry award called the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award, to promote poetry primarily amongst women. I sent out a call for submissions to as many people as I could with a small motivation of a cash prize. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, women responded. By end of March the following year, I had close to forty submissions. Coupled to that, I even got a few volunteer judges who sat painstakingly with me through each submission to decide on the best three.

In August of 2009, I held the first ever poetry award ceremony for Ugandan women at Fang Fang Restaurant with the Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, Deputy Speaker of Parliament as guest of honour, who is currently the Patron. The event spanned itself out like a growing chapati thickened with eggs and tomatoes. The media ate the whole event up like it was a favourite dessert. I’m very grateful to all the guests, poets, poetry lovers and fans of the word.

The winner of 2009 was a young lady called Lillian Aujo, who went further to direct a literary platform called Azania which is an inter-university literary platform started from Uganda Christian University Mukono. Her poem entitled Soft Tonight won the hearts of the judges for its message formation, simplicity of style, physical structure and imagery. The poem is below.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, Lillian Aujo and Rt. Honourable Rebecca Kadaga
Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, Lillian Aujo and Rt. Honourable Rebecca Kadaga.

 

Soft Tonight

I feel so...
... soft...
tonight...

I feel like...
...butter...
under the sun...

...on hot stone...
spreading out...
melting...

...flowing...
a yellow rivulet...
sliding down that slab...

...towards you...

I hope you catch every
t...r...i...c...k...l...e...of  love
I hope you catch every
d.......r......o......p......of me
when I d...r...i...p...intoyourpalms

'cause I feel so...
...soft...
tonight.


This year, I held the second poetry award event at Kati Kati Restaurant. It took place a week after the terror attacks on Kampala. Many people attended the event which began with a candle lit ceremony and poem to remember and stand with the bereaved from the terror attacks. The theme for the poetry award in 2010 was Money and Culture. My mind was driven to delirious heights once again at the enormous support from friends, family and partners. The Nnabagereka Development Foundation were the guests of honour and I am also grateful to the sponsors for both years respectively Uganda Clays Limited, WordAlive Publishers, Stitching Doen based in The Netherlands, Bayimba Cultural Foundation, Amakula Kampala Cultural Foundation and Uganda Health Marketing Group.

In its second year, Sophie Brenda Alal won for her poem entitled Making Modern Love.

 

Making Modern Love

We are not like provincial lovers
Who wait to stalk funerals
That bring opportunities of replacing the departed,
Under the watch of the night, in verdant shambas.

Armed with cash
We’ll open our hearts
On a plate of chips, with a soft drink
Things to nibble and sip, but not too large to distract
Maybe chaps? Muchomo and beer later?
Chips chicken will soften us for now,
And for future food that you commonly acknowledge is delicious.

If you should stare in pockets so deep
That the residential wallet is unseen by short fingers
Soon enough other networks become sexy,
Offering side dishes and desserts
For we’ll soon meet other friends with longer arms
And stronger charms.

It is constantly recommended by wily winners
That going dancing eases misgivings
In tender bones,
Unlikely to be tempered by the softness of night lights.
But if all is careening towards a cold spell
Drinks should be laid out till we are released from thinking.

I saw a secondary virgin sobbing at a table for two
Weighed down by the meanings of disease.
I saw a man who had become a man
For he knew now, how close he was to the deceased
and vaguely inundated with curses of, “Shit happens.”
stumbled away with thoughts that grew from booze
and the dregs of making modern love.

So while good things begin to afflict us now
And beautiful things course through dull heads,
Causing wings of desire to grow like mushrooms in a mist
Of opportunity,
At last. We shall soon make modern love.

 

This year, my first book is out called Unjumping, published by erbacce-press in the UK. I won the publishing contract after emerging third in their international poetry contest. Other Ugandan poets I hold in esteem are Dr. Susan Kiguli, Eduavella Edwin, Mildred Kiconco Barya, Prof Timothy Wangusa, Joseph Kitaka Semutooke and a few others. 

Dr. Joseph Kitaka Semutooke, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva and Dr. Suan Kiguli
Dr. Joseph Kitaka Semutooke, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva and Dr. Suan Kiguli.

Poets are synonymous with passion. Poetry is a part of the thrill of life. I am glad to be part of long online discussions on poetry now and again and also of being a part of the growing wisdom that comes with words.

By Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
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First published: September 17, 2010

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva has a baby girl called Zion Agasaro and together with her husband, tries to make each day another reason to excel. Writing has been her passion from childhood. For her first degree, her desire was to study Creative Writing which was not available at Makerere University in Kampala and so opted for Bachelor of Arts in Education majoring in Literature in English. After that, she did two certificates in French from Alliance Francaise in Kampala.

Beverley currently serves on the executive board of Uganda Women Writers' Association (FEMRITE) and also works at EASSI, an Eastern African regional organization that focuses on women's rights.

She has a collection of Travel poetry and erotic poetry and is interested in the short story genre as well. Her fist novel is expected to be out in 2010.

As we collect more articles from Beverly, for now if you wish to read more from Beverley go to her blog: The Exodus of Whatever.