Friday, November 6, 2009



Push Your Pens to the Pinnacle!

Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award is here again this time linking poetry to financial literacy and so we invite you to push your pens to the pinnacle. The theme for the 2010 Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award is Money and Culture.

 Ugandan women residing in Uganda from the ages of 18 to 45
 Unpublished poems between 15 to 30 lines
 Poems must be in English following the theme, Money and Culture. Translations from local languages are acceptable.
 Submit your poems by email to or by post to P O Box 8470 Kampala, Uganda
 Typed poems must be in Times new Roman size 12 single spaced. Handwritten poems must be in blue or black ink.
 Submissions will be accepted from November 15th 2009 to March 31st 2010
 We accept up to 3 submissions.
 Include the title of poem, your name, phone contact and email address separate from each actual submission.

The first three winners will receive 250 USD, 150 USD and 100 USD respectively. In addition, all first six winners will receive autographed copies of The African Saga poetry collection by Dr. Susan Kiguli and How to Save Money for Investment by celebrated Kenyan author and motivational speaker Ken Monyoncho. All shortlisted winners will receive writing journals.

1. Dr. Susan Kiguli; celebrated poet and author of The African Saga
2. Iga Zinunula; returnee judge, entrepreneur and poet
3. Joseph Mugasa; President of Literature Association of Uganda and published poet.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009



Somewhere a bullet pierces a woman,
Beyond the reaped edges of her clan’s farmland.
She gets caught in a thicket whose thorns she does not feel,
Limp feet drag onto a tree whose name the woman does not know
With the sun at her back,
Here breaks the charm for luck.
Off her neck are the fetishes
From the sacrificial white hen, herb and hallowed water
To the bosom of the waiting earth.

The woman slumps, face down-
Watching her life drain away
Now the stained soil seeps from her lips;
Heavily the grain is still in the sack-
drawn to the feast a fly lands on her lips.
The light dips lower as the last sounds
Mute in the darkness, still she droops lower
into a night without mourning.

About her who fell unceremoniously
One day someday shall write;
No rock or wood marks the grave
Of these bleached broad bones
Save for a clump of wild sorghum
Hailing her lost name
By Sophie Brenda Alal
This poem won third prize in the first ever Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award in 2009, the first poetry award of its kind for Ugandan women. Sophia Brenda Alal won a cash prize of 100 USD. This award was proudly sponsored by Uganda Women Writers’ Association (FEMRITE), WordAlive Publishers and Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG).



If I am going home tomorrow
Let it be at dawn
Before I have heard the cock crow
Thrice at noon
But not at dusk
After I have seen lurking shadows on the walls
Neither in the night
When a knock on the door
Shall hang my soul over roasting fire
And set me on a precipice
Let it be at dawn
For then, I shall go fulfilled. 
Should I not at dawn
I shall have to return
To settle the score
For I never forgot an injury
Never forgave an insult.
To pay the debts I owe
For I was never dishonest
Then, I shall go in peace
At dawn I must depart
So let me go – at dawn
After I have traveled around this world
Eaten all the delicacies
Drank from the wells of  Love, Unity and Justice
And tasted all the sweet wine of forgiveness
When I have found my lost treasure
When I have cast all my miseries into the sea
It shall be utter dawn
And I shall be gone.

By Catherine Kemigisha

This poem won second prize in the first ever Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award in 2009, the first poetry award of its kind for Ugandan women. Catherine Kemigisha won a cash prize of 150 USD. This award was proudly sponsored by Uganda Women Writers’ Association (FEMRITE), WordAlive Publishers, Uganda clays Limited and Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG).


Monday, August 24, 2009


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

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

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

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...
By Lillian Akampurira Aujo

This poem was the winning poem of the first ever Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award in 2009, the first poetry award of its kind for Ugandan women. Lillian Aujo won a cash prize of 250 USD. This award was proudly sponsored by Uganda Women Writers’ Association (FEMRITE), WordAlive Publishers, Uganda Clays Limited and Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG).


Friday, August 21, 2009



In December of 2008, a poetic rumbling stirred inside of me and the rumbling has been growing louder and louder up to this point where poetic lava is about to explode on each one of us. Each of you here is a literary sojourner, and you belong to a large family who in one way or another wants poetry to be unearthed from the graves of misconception and skepticism. Each of you, in your own way, believes that female poets have a stage that for several years has been left empty to cake dust. Those that have made recognizable landmarks must be congratulated but right now we need to see that stage meant for women poets to be active once again. This is the stage, and you are the players.

Deep down inside of me that December in 2008 I knew that something had to happen and I was not sure what. Questions like, Will anyone believe me if I say I’m starting an award? When I send a call out for submissions for a poetry award, will anyone in their right mind respond? If I walk up to FEMRITE and tell them that I need 2 judges to look through the submissions, will they just dismiss me as someone with dead ambitions?

Well, seeing each of you here answers all those questions. The hard work I have put into the whole Beverley Nambozo Poetry award is immeasurable. I have climbed so many hills and waded through so many valleys to get to this point. I do not even have any poem at the moment to share the experience with you. When I see WordAlive Publishers sitting there giving me a nod of approval and pushing me forward, I get tears in my eyes. When the Right Honourable Rebecca Kadaga offers to grace this occasion as guest of honour, I am even too humbled to jump. Believing that UHMG and Uganda Clays Limited can stand by me and trust my effort to make an indelible mark on Uganda’s poetic scene, I feel a deeper sense of purpose and understand more than ever, my role on this earth.

I cannot thank each of the poets enough for submitting their poetry because it is those submissions that made me wake up and clean my literary lenses everyday so that this vision would reach its completion. While many women may shy away from this, I want to also thank Emmanuel my husband for always trusting that this day would finally come. Thank you.

I appreciate all of you here and thank you very much for coming.

The Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award will be an annual event and after this one, I will launch into an even more aggressive national campaign to even out the submissions. Every woman with a creative spirit, should have a chance at empowering themselves with the pen. I cannot do it on my own and so I request you, just as you have supported me this year, to support me again for the next event.

In my own unique way of saying thank you, I will give Rt. Hon Kadaga and each of the sponsors one of my own poems that was recently published by FEMRITE. The Chairperson of FEMRITE, Jocelyn Ekochu, will assist me.

May you enjoy the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Oh my goodness, it is here, the poetry award. You know I started it last year in December and after the submissions, i realized that it was actually getting bigger than me. So I got my judges together and they wound up with the winners. All the poems were judged anonymously and now it is time for the award giving ceremony.

It will be at Fang Fang Restaurant on Friday 21st and Hon Rebecca Kadaga the deputy speaker of Parliament has agreed to be guest of honour, how cool is that! Also, WordAlive Publishers and UHMG are main sponsors, i am excited about this. Can't wait for Friday.

Friday, July 3, 2009



I’m on a team that is organizing the launch of a book of a great man, Justice Ogoola. What makes him great is despite his status and fame, none of it gets to his head. If I have to call him concerning something important about the launch, he allows me into his office and we chat, even on phone. That’s cool because his brain is bigger than his ego. I’M NOT QUITE SURE ANYMORE how I got to be in this committee but I AM THERE. The launch is today, 3rd July. And I am pretty sure it will turn out okay. The only nag is on that team are these ‘know it alls.’ I strongly believe in team work but when I AM ON a team where some people want to take over every player’s role and belittle me in front of others exposing their lack of decency, respect and tact, it bothers me. It bothers me because there is no need to horde every task and there is also no need to treat me like you would treat your boda boda friends or waitress friends who you usually order around to do your bidding. I am on the same team you are and I was incorporated on the team just like you to make the event a success. So DO NOT shout down at me. If we plan to meet at a particular time, respect that time as much as possible and do not come panting one hour later yelling at everyone as if you are the reason for the launch. The reason for the launch is Justice Ogoola and not you.

Justice you are hardly aware of what is going on behind the scenes but I am honoured to have worked with you and for you. It was also an honour to meet David Waweru your publisher. He is a good decent African man and it is always refreshing to meet one of those. I have read your book and though I THINK the beginning is quite preachy, the political ones are quit something.

If you ever would like me to work with you, I would be glad to do so but on certain conditions; tasks have to be allocated a bit more specifically. It would be easier to have a driver or two to assist with some tasks. Thirdly, please do not have three emcees at one function. I am not sure how today will turn out but three emcees is a bit too much; especially if they do not have all that chemistry together.

All the best with the launch then.



It is ridiculous for a 50 year old woman to stand before an audience ill-prepared for a speech which she had a month to prepare for. It is even more ridiculous when this 50 year old woman gets up to talk and after about 15 minutes; no one remembers anything of substance that she has said. It gets worse. What we do remember is that she berated the rest of us who she felt had chided her in any recent past and also who she felt did not match up to certain artificial beautiful standards. Read: Too much make-up, artificial hair.

My own theory of 50 year old women is thus:
Try to help younger women become better by sharing experiences and training them in various skills, introduce them to good opportunities and remember that you are 50 years old and there is no need to behave like a 50 year old stuck in a rut, chatting away about men in their twenties, flirting with 40 something year olds, sleeping with peoples’ husbands and depleting office funds faster than the rise of stupidity amongst Ugandan drivers.

I hate hanging around 50 year old women whose non-existent self-esteem ruins their otherwise inner beauty. Shameless and pitiful.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I joined facebook my other job

I left my job and just got another one called face book. Who knew? Found one of my best friends of 25 years ago. That's a good thing because my novel , I am now on page 4, is about my childhood and I need all the old friends I can find. If you are an old friend of mine from the 1980s hey! help me get this novel out.

Being a stay home mum is so empowering by the way let nobody tell you otherwise. I plan my clothes according to the weather and day and not according to a human resource manual. that rocks...

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's a Monday-I have no problems with Mondays I just wish they came like in the middle of the week. Anyway no worries, I'm leaving EASSI end of the month and so I will be able to embrace Mondays more wholeheartedly.

I need to revive my inner energy by writing more, spending more time with Zion and Emmanuel and also see how I can make more money doing the things I love. Sounds a neat plan....where do I start?

Our family is preparing for this huge retirement party for my jajja daddy, Prof. Senteza Kajubi. Don't know if it's a surptise anymore because we meet every other week on a Sunday. It'll be kool. Our relatives from all over the world will be coming over and well, looking forward to it.

By the way, where are all these wonderful publishers of poetry. I ahve a whole collection which has been ready for a while and I need a publisher. Looking for a publisher people! Or maybe they should be looking for me?

I used to be unafraid to call myself a write when i was just starting out and now the more I write, the more afraid I become really.

Well, since it is a Monday, let me get back to work and make the most of my two weeks left here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brown Ring-short story by Nambozo

This morning my mother gave me a boiled egg for breakfast. I hate having boiled eggs on Fridays because that is our swimming day. And now as I enter the car to go to school with my younger sister Lisa, I know that something bad is going to happen to me. Bad things always happen on Fridays. Our coach instructor told us that if we ever need to go to the toilet that we should go before we leave the house in the mornings or just before the swimming lesson. He said that the swimming pool is like God's drinking water and if we make it dirty, then God would get sick and die. I knew that this could not be true, however, but what if? I have this huge feeling that my body will do something bad in the pool today. And what will I tell Flower? What will she think of me? Flower is the girl I am going to get married to after I have become a famous writer when I am twenty one. I have written thirty two poems for her in a blue exercise book. I always keep the book under my bible. I have even written about how I shall kiss her for a whole hour in church after saying our vows.
Oh No! Now God is going to get sick because of my bad stomach. It is funny. I sat on the toilet seat for so long after breakfast and nothing came out. I heaved and closed my eyes and held my breath and nothing came out. I even tried to widen my buttocks with my hands but still nothing came out.
Oh Lord, hear my prayer. I do not want anything bad to happen to me in the pool. Please Lord. Let me not get embarrassed. The coach said that a brown ring forms around any one who does something in the pool. Please let no brown ring form around me. Please Lord. Thank you.
I am standing at the edge of the pool. My knees are wobbly and knocking against each other. It is cold. Jim, the class bully has already swum three laps butterfly stroke. He is such a show off. Just because he is the tallest and (I regret to admit) most handsome boy in class. Well, at least that is what the girls think. Well, I have a better name than his. My name is Yesiimye, meaning he is blessed. And when I get married my wife will be called Flower Yesiimye. My latest poem is called Mrs. Flower Yesiimye.
Yesiimye, it's your turn now!" the coach yells at me from the other end.
I am petrified. I climb up the short diving board. My stomach begins to rumble. I feel it. I can no longer hold it in. I climb up the five stairs while squeezing my legs together. I hear one or two giggles from below. Standing on top and looking down I feel it. As soon as I part my legs, I feel the warm wetness flowing freely down. And then I feel the soft mushy lump. Should I end this as a hero or a victim? Posing for the dive, I look at the coach and then I look at Jim. This one is for you Jim. With arms stretched, I incline towards the water and dive headfirst.
Splash! Into the water. I manage a long marine glide underwater. The boiled egg oozes out with ease. Bit by bit. It is first thick and then it becomes watery. I feel it slide down my legs. The urine feels warm under water. I swim under water almost half the length of the pool. While I am under there, I know that I shall get up and see a huge brown ring. Maybe God will fall sick even. The coach will punish me. Jim will take Flower away from me and marry her. Just before my head bobs the surface, I say another prayer. Don't leave me God.
I hear people shouting. I cannot make out what they are saying. The coach is clapping. I wonder what is going on.
"Congratulations Yesii!" my friend Bob shouts.
I glance back at the pool. The brown ring! It isn't there. There is no brown ring. I swim back to shallow end and climb out. Bob and other friends give me a hug.
"That was a great dive Yesii,' the coach says.
"Thank you."
And to God, I say a special thank you in my heart for hearing my prayer. For keeping the brown ring away. I see Flower walking towards me. God, how can I thank you enough?

Monday, February 9, 2009

I am- poem by Kalanzi Kajubi-12 years old

I am a persevering person who enjoys drumming.

I wonder where I will be in 2020.

I hear a steady beat tapping in unison with my heart.

I see a world with no errors.

I want to live a life for those around me and not for me alone.

I am a persevering person who enjoys drumming.

I pretend that I am in the many books that I read.

I feel that I will accomplish much in life.

I touch keys on a piano and I play my self away.

I worry that my grandfather will die before he sees me succeed.

I cry for all the dying people in the world.

I am a persevering person who enjoys drumming.

I understand that life will not always be as easy for me as it is now.

I say that if you put your mind to it you can reach any goal.

I dream of being the next Donald Trump.

I try to live my life to the fullest before my life is over.

I hope to see a woman president before I die.

I am a persevering person who enjoys drumming.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Feminism and Motherhood

Being a mother has its perks. My daughter reminds me everyday that motherhood is a school of learning where graduation day is everyday because everyday is a test of love, compassion, fortitude and laughter. If you pass the four, you can graduate to the next day.
In Uganda however, some misguided, misinformed and miserable people, some of them witchdoctors, traditionalists, businessmen and even parents deliberately choose to fail the parenting test.

Child sacrifice is not new. In Uganda, thanks to some courageous individuals, it is being exposed in the media quite often. One story irks me every time I recall it. Mugombe is a nine year old boy who at his age should ideally be discovering his gifts at school, playing with his peers, playing the occasional prank and having no real reason to distrust adults. One afternoon in December 2008, when most of his age mates were going home from school, Mugombe was on his way to a shrine. What could have been his last day to alive on this earth. A neighbour and friend to Mugombe’s mother picked the unsuspecting child from school and led him to a shrine on the outskirts of Kampala.

He says. “They undressed me inside a shrine and smeared me with some things (herbs) But when the witchdoctor realized that I was circumcised, he said I was unfit for sacrifice.”

Rightly so. The boy was unfit for sacrifice because he deserves a full chance to live and succeed in life like everyone else.

Another father of twins late in 2008, beheaded both of them to win a mere few millions of Uganda shillings. He managed to behead them and ended up in jail. Miserable, misinformed and misguided.

Feminism is a hunger for truth and women and men feminists are hungry for truth, for justice and passionate about equality and human rights. Motherhood makes me passionate and hungry for the good health and excellent future for my daughter and I will stop at nothing to make sure she gets just that. As long as there is no underhandedness or manipulation, I will search and seek for all that goodness can bring to my daughter.

A feminist should seek and probe and search for truth so that human madness and injustice is redressed to make life a better place to live in.

A story of a Zimbabwean feminist who held onto her son as the clutches of a crocodile threatened to plunge him to a murky death is a story of a feminist who cared enough to let go to what she loved. Her son survived and the scars on his body are the scars of his mother’s nails as she dug into him to save him. Feminists will leave scars but only because they are holding on to what they cherish and believe to be right. Through mistakes of course, and challenges, a feminist, like a mother, rejoices at seeing her/his baby grow through infancy to adulthood.

Another female feminist that encourages me to move forward is Mukhtar Mai, the author of In the name of Honour (A memoir). I would like to share a review of her book.

Mukhtar Mai has the fortitude of a lioness. This memoir is a struggle of a real woman with real problems that came to the surface after the worst humiliation any woman from her clan in Pakistan could receive. Instead of giving up in a suicidal act, she rose up from the ruins. Mukhtar is a Pakistani woman from a lower caste in Southern Punjabi called Gujar. Her brother, Shakur, is wrongfully accused of rape of one girl belonging to a richer caste, Mastoi. In form of justice, as is usually done, the Mastoi rape a woman, usually a sister to the accused in order to clear his name. The unfortunate woman chosen is Mukhtar Mai, sister to the accused. Her punishment: Brutal rape by 4 members of the mastoid clan in front of the community. Most women after this ordeal, commit suicide, because the shame is too much to bear. For Mukhtar, it was different. In her search for justice, her biggest handicap is her illiteracy because girls and women are not permitted to formal education. However, her resilience and steed work in her favour. As a result, Mukhtar has become the voice of the voiceless in Pakistan and the region beyond. Through the quest for justice, she has gained international support and has managed to establish a small school in Southern Punjab for young girls.

As feminists, leaving a positive path for those behind us to follow is one of the most important legacies we can leave behind.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Me and My Electric Guitar in 2009

I am a rock star this year. Me, my husband and daughter and my electric guitar. I will strum my way from January 1st to December 31st. If you like rock, you can dance to my guitar. My one resolution-to be a rock star. Most people say they will stop biting their nails, make lots of money, take up a new hobby and read the whole bible from Genesis to Revelations. For me, I will rock with my guitar.
When Somalia continues to fight, I will play my guitar. When Kenya passes a media bill that strangles press freedom, I will pick my guitar. As Ugandan fuel problems escalate, I will still play my guitar. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, all you begrudged folk, feeding on anti-depressants, fleeing from the landlord and boomeranging every time you hit a top, follow me as I rock on my guitar.
God played His electric guitar and I have been rocking with Him ever since. And ever since, I have felt like a rock star. Because rock stars are bold, wild and they rule. My daughter Zion looks more like the daughter of a rock star everyday. We pierced her ears, took a family photo shot and laid out a whole plan of places where we will travel around the world.
Rock stars travel. They are not afraid to see the world. Not afraid to jump. Not afraid to swim even though they don’t know the depth.

I’m a rock star.