Babishai Niwe Poetry Festival 2016 to make Kampala splash

Babishai Poetry Festival founder Beverley Nambozo.
Babishai Poetry Festival founder Beverley Nambozo.

The Babishai Niwe Poetry Festival 2016, founded by Beverley Nambozo, will be making a Kampala splash as poets and other performers land in the Ugandan capital from 24-26th August 2016.

There will a flurry of activity over a three day period in venues around Kampala featuring some of the most well-known names in African poetry today. The panelists and guest artists come from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Somaliland, Botswana, South Africa, Liberia, Ghana, and Zimbabwe.

Wednesday 24th August 2016

Wednesday starts the action with Oswald Okaitei (Ghana),  Maipelo Zambane (Botswana), Jama Musse (Somaliland) Ngartia (Kenya), Lekpele Nyamalon (Liberia), and Mark Gordon (Uganda) on a panel dubbed We want a Poetry Caravan across Africa in 2018. If you are like me and you are in Kampala, you want to know more about this caravan; if they are going to build the poetry bandwagon you should jump on like the rest of us.

Another panel featuring Ife Piankhi (Global Citizen/Uganda), Harriet Anena (Uganda), Lydia L-Ness (Kenya), Abigail Arunga (Kenya) & Oprah Oyugi (Kenya) will be happening where these poets discuss Exploring the Landscapes of Body, Mind and Soul of African Feminism in Poetry.

In the afternoon, Magunga Williams (Kenya), Joel Ntwatwa (Uganda), James Murua (Kenya), and Moses Kilolo (Kenya) discuss The Surreal and Undeniably Fabulous Digital World that we’ve grown to Love-Hate. This panel discussion will help you who is interested in Online Content Management and Marketing. Hopefully.

For those who want to earn some bucks from your passion, Oswald Okaitei (Ghana) will be hosting a Poetry Entrepreneurship event also in the afternoon.

All these events will be hosted at the Maria’s Place Ntinda, opposite Froebel, near Shell and will be free.

In the evening, the first paid event will be happening at Kati-Kati Main Hall, Lugogo By-Pass and that should cost you Fifty Thousand Shillings (UGX50,000) (Kenyans stop panicking as this is just above Kshs1,500). The event will be the Launch of Bamasaaba Bawandikha, A Platform to Create, Nurture and Promote Creative Writing of the Bamasaaba in Eastern Uganda.

Thursday 25th August 2016

babishai2016On Thursday, the action returns to Maria’s Place Ntinda, opposite Froebel, near Shell and it kicks off with Lekpele Nyamalon (Liberia) running the panel, Children’s Adventure Performances in Poetry and Theatre, and Discussion on the availability of African Poetry for Children.

Lekpele will be followed by Brian Banda a scholar, entrepreneur and financial consultant from Zimbabwe doing the event Babishai Business Talk; Art, Assets and Assumptions among Artists about Money. That one is a can’t-be-missed in my books.

This event on money which we know is what makes the world go round and all will be followed by something for those who want to know more about the technique of poetry. This will be with the Rapercussions Spoken Word Workshop conducted by L-Ness the Lioness from Kenya.

At lunch time there will be a Poetry Explosion featuring Open Mic Poetry from Desai Ogada (Tanzania), Maipelo Zambana (Zimbabwe), Oswald Okaitei (Ghana), Helda Akango (Uganda), Caesar Obong (Uganda), and Lekpele Nyamalon (Liberia). That one looks to be a highlight as well.

Another highlight will be The Place of Sensuality in Contemporary Poetry, and why People still won’t talk about Sex by Kenyan poet Abigail Arunga.

In the evening, there will be chillaxing (not sure the word the cool kids are using today) with a barbeque at the same venue.

Friday 26th August 2016

It starts with a bang as Aggie Kabarungi, Harriet Anena, Lillian Aujo, Hilda Twongyeirwe, Nakisanze Segawa, and Fahima Kimbugwe discuss “What are Ugandan Women Poets ‘Poeting’ about?” They will be moderated by non-woman Tom Jalio (Kenya).

Also on the cards is a round table session discussing Song of Lawino@50 and Okot P’bitek’s lingering shadow and influence. This event will feature a performance from Jordey Lonyo.

Jama Musse; Director of Hargeysa International Book Fair will then run a session about the Hargeysa International Book Festival in SomaliLand. Every year, the festival features a different guest country, this year for instance it was Ghana, and next year as it turns 10 the honour goes to Uganda. You want to attend this session if you are Ugandan (or even just human (and no I am not insinuating that Ugandans aren’t humans you slime)) as Mr Musse tells you how to get to that festival some (OK just me actually) consider the biggest literary shebang in the horn of Africa.

Then comes that we have all been waiting for, the show stopper, the finishing move in wrestling that The Rock calls the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. This time it’s the most electrifying event at the festival as the Babishai 2016 Poetry Award-Giving Ceremony is hosted at the Fang Fang Restaurant, Rooftop Terrace on Communications House, Colville Street Kampala. The event will feature performances from Sammy Wetala (Uganda), Aggie Kabarungi (Uganda),  L-Ness (Kenya), Roshan Karmali (Uganda), Ngartia (Kenya), Thato Molosi (Botswana),  Maipelo Zambane (Botswana), Rap Poet (Uganda), Oswald Okaitei (Ghana), Duduzile Masaba (South Africa), Lekpele Nyamalon (Liberia). At UGX40,000 you know that this is probably the biggest bargain out there.

So there you have it. Book launches, panel discussions, poetry galore and I haven’t even mentioned the daily Babishai Mad Book Dash where you dash blindfolded and win a book. It’s going to be LIT in Kampala from Wednesday to Friday here in Kampala. If you aren’t in Kampala, we shall be keeping you abreast of the happenings in Uganda’s coolest city. If you are in Kampala you are banned from this blog; go to the events yourself as you have zero excuses.


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