The Remarkable spree of Kampala Writers’ conference


Writers need each other and the world needs us                           

I remember.

I saw a bubbly poet. She was standing left in the circle. Her mouth poised to a shout of a poem and her arms laden with a stack of a poem, her legs troubled with the follies of ballerinas. Before I could discern the foolishness of poets, her flair for poetry was slowly filtering into my sensory data, my eyes opened, I fixed her with unwavering stare and saw her again. She was welcoming members with a dessert of warm ups.

Ife Piankhi.

I remember looking around. The room strewn with Small, medium, large size novels, memoirs, books. I could not help to regret having come like a dust man. How could I forget to come with me just a literary piece? And yet aware I was lingering in the world of writers

I remember identifying faces with those that have come from all walks of life. The feel of the aura of silvery voices, exotic accents, sophisticated poises, and modish dreadlocks, trendy dresses, pants and shirts. Only I could, gradually blend in a complexion of literary artists.

The ambiance- brimming with glamour and brilliance of a writer’s demeanor- was truly defining the fine art of men and women who stop their cars by the roadside and pull out their pencils and paper to quench their thirst.

By this time, I could see the world beckoning to me to become a creative non-fiction literary guru

I remember the curiosity of meeting our faculty.

I remember the fear of the rumor that she might miss. And beginning our first sessions almost without her. What a day we begin! And when she came, I knew I was just about to encounter with the tower of strength that would in the literary stretch, broaden and ennoble my literary horizons.

I remember the infancy of our sessions, the short stories, recitations, the proficient remarks of Rebecca Brown and when she said; “writers need each other and the world needs us”and the humour, the joy, the smiles, the laughter, the pleasantries, the credits, the gestures and the energy. The thrills of writers.

I remember the tears that streamed down the cheeks, the silence that ensued as members shared a heart-rending recall of memories from their dairies.

I remember the simple and yet sumptuous mélange of tender vegetable, fruit and hot coffee that revived my vitality in the morning, in the evening.

I remember the sundown of the long but rich and lively day. The good evening interlude that lured me together with Jordan, Beth…to comb through the neighbouring street to fetch a Dutch courage. Ha-ha! (Exaggerated), we also bought along a few sodas.

I remember seeing the sparks of flames blaze in the dusking sky when we sandwiched the bone-fire and glazing in awe at the magical splendours of the poetry slum and open-mike stars. These men and women were throwing huge lumps of poetry in the air as we cheered and bolstered their art.

I remember her romantic whisper when she told me she was shy to expose her gin. She would maintain her bottle drawn clandestinely to her mouth as she laid her hair down with the amusements of the poetry slum. Ha-ha! You might not guess who she was.

And then there was a peaceful end

The night would fall and the next day was a whole different taste.

I remember the hot sunny day when we hoped on our vans heading to inspire the young literary enthusiasts of St Peter’s SS Nsabya, Kololo SS, St Mary’s Kisubi, St Joseph’s girls Nsyambya.

We talked right into their faces and breathed in them the spirit of poetry that would hopefully lead the way to their most revered literary ambitions.

I remember the selfies and the groupies that we asked for, leaped for and jumped into. The nobility of keeping memories was each one’s ingredient. We could desire to see our friends and feel their presence always time after we can no longer touch their hands.

I remember the eve of our departure, I remember missing to go on spree with Jordan and company and the following morning they came wondering how I could have…That night which I imagine was analogous to the movie “Stomp the yard” is probably one those once in a lifetime moments that I never saw.

I remember the fare well. All good things had finally come to an end however as we packed our hacksaws, harmers, blades and sand pans, we had erected an unwavering monument and adorned it with the finest art and dazzling colours of poetry and then pinnacled with an indelible mark of literary wisdom.

That was the epitome of inspiration and experience I for one desired to have. The invaluable input of our faculty members; Beatrice Lamwaka, Ife Piankhi and Rebecca Brown, the rich spirit of the participants from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Canada and USA, without forgetting all the work of the organizers Jordan Hart, Ronald Ssekandi, Amber Aiello

I lay on my back, looking up into the sky, with my knees straight, and my arms parallel, remembering; that whenever I used to laugh, I laughed with somebody, wherever I sat, I sat with some body. When I needed to recite my poem, they sat and listened and sang praises, when I needed to know, they taught me and all that, they have done to make me write my world. All of them I remember so that they would not have been totally in vain.






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