Category: Poetry & Literature

Entrepreneurship in the Arts, a model from the Malaika Children’s Mobile Library

The Malaika Children’s Mobile Library is an the first of its kind in Uganda that brings with it new ideas and approaches to reading and children. The Children’s Mobile Library is a unique arts innovation that focuses on children, their reading abilities, what they read, reading for fun, who reads for them. It also has a business niche to it. Irene Nakitto talks to initiator Rosey Sssembatya.

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Behind Closed Doors

“Behind Closed Doors” tells the story of infidelity from a woman’s perspective. Her blend of ecstatic imagery and repellent imagery, “Black filth under my nails/ from scratching your back,” paints an honest scene. It is an act owned by the man and the woman, a woman who possesses herself. She is not anyone’s property, “You walk my city/ with the freedom of a sure foot/ inch and inch of sacred land.”

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What It Is – Arinda Daphine’s Poetry Series on Sexuality and Womanhood

Gloria Kiconco introduces a new poetry series, “What it is”, by Arinda Daphine, a writer, performance poet, and lawyer, traces the journey from girlhood to womanhood. She is one of the few poets in Uganda to explore erotica, a genre that is challenging, sensitive, and often politicised. It is easy to dismiss erotica as a genre. It is easy to assume it has no power or deep social and political influence because it is pornographic.

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Poetry of Memory is Voice, Not Words

“When the late Joseph Walugembe was still the Director of the Uganda National Theatre, he once explained to my friends and I of the Lantern Meet of Poets how our poetry was different from that of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I recall him emphasizing how the memorized and dramatized performance of our poetry was the main ingredient. Up to that point I had never considered memorized oral expression of poetry even as aspects of poetry”. Kagayi Ngobi talks about his journey into poetry.

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Art writing encourages dialogue in the Arts

Last year in March, 32°East, a centre for contemporary arts in Uganda run a art writing residence for three months at their premises in Kansanga. The program co-sponsored by the British Council and Startjournal.org had one art writer, Dominic Muwanguzi, researching and producing articles that were published in the online journal.
Based from his experience from the residency, Muwanguzi a seasoned art journalist working in Kampala became more confident in his writing. For once, he became aware of the relationship that exists between writer, artist and audience.

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Telling our Stories – A review of Invisible: Stories from Kenya’s Queer Community

This petite and easy read is a testament to the importance of telling our own stories. We usually talk about this in reference to being African; outsiders have been telling our stories since before the days of Heart of Darkness, a book published more than a hundred years ago that continues to define the continent in the minds of many. Today we have movie stars like George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck, testifying in front of American Congress or on CNN as “African experts”. It is no wonder that we continue to feel misrepresented or invisible, that millions of dollars are spent annually on aid programs that are later found to not work.

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Endnotes of Chapter Two

“What is art? What is culture? If you are able to define it, then you know you are in trouble. How does Arts writing come into the picture? There is a myth that it is about judging something from very good to very bad, but the criteria for evaluating artworks are multi-dimensional.” Editor Thomas Bjørnskau writes his farewell note, and hands over Start to a new team.

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Half Man, Half Words

“If there is a truth to be admitted to, I will concede this one; it feels like truth, scabrous, incomplete and grudgingly accepted: being a writer is like going on being married. You arrive at a point in it where you no longer have the energy to learn to live with a new person and hold down your peregrinations.” An essay on writing by Ugandan writer AK Kaiza.

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Why Write?

“The doubts hound: Am I really good enough? Who am I to think I have new stories to tell and a new way to tell them? But I have to go on because I have an ego that feeds on words, mine and anyone else’s. I need to prove that I can do it. At the core though, I write in an attempt to make sense of this world. Who and what and why are we? Why do we do what we do, to ourselves and to one another? Why can’t we stop?” An essay on writing by Ugandan writer Doreen Baingana.

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Art, that that………

Samson Ssenkaaba aka Xenson graduated in 1999 from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Makerere University majoring in graphic design and painting. Since then, his works have been shown in numerous exhibitions and fashion shows in Uganda and abroad. Read his poem ‘Art, that that…….’

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Debunking the Chinua Achebe legacy

Unarguably he was one of the most-read writers from the African continent, selling more than 8 million copies. His book Things Fall Apart is the most widely read book in African literature and the most translated. While a whirlwind of tributes has poured in in the wake of Achebe’s death, we have been left to ponder his contributions to African literature and the literature body generally, and to see if he rightfully deserved the continent’s honor: The father of modern African literature. And while at it, also weigh the relevance of his work to the present generation.

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Museveni’s children and their splintered voices in ‘Broken Voices of the Revolution’

The Lantern Meet of Poets is made up of mostly university students who share one thing in common. They were born in the 1980’s—at the time when the National Resistance Army (NRA), now the National Resistance Movement (NRM), allegedly liberated this country from bad governance. During this first themed recital and performance, they sounded out their splintered voices from within the revolution. The writing, though familiarly presented, managed to achieve a simmering hyper-realism in the audience.

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