Odokonyero is here

In July, last year, Madhu Krishnan and I convened two creative writing workshops in Kampala and Gulu, taught by Nick Makoha and Jennifer Makumbi, respectively.  Moses Odokonyero and Jacob Katumusiime were very central to the secondary school teachers’ focus group discussions we held alongside the workshop. The results of the workshop are eighteen short stories, written by emerging and young Ugandan writers, now available for public enjoyment in an anthology, published by Black Letter Media.


Alongside the workshops, in the same month last year, Noosim Naimasiah and I collaborated on a documentary film project on the question of social media and its impact on creative writing. For the film, I interviewed five major Ugandan writers, namely, Jennifer Makumbi, Stella Nyanzi, Nyana Kakoma, Ernest Bazanye and Acan Innocent.

The July days spent with Noosim, Zahara Abdul, Lewis Ainebyona and Esther Mirembe were enjoyable and I am proud of the product of our labour. I am personally grateful to Henry Brefo who has been the key strategy man for Writivism since 2016, Roland Byagaba who has been the man in charge of all things Writivism since September 2017, Rukundo Joschua, and Mulialia Okumu for their labour, and unflinching support.


The final version of the documentary film is on tour in the United Kingdom next week. The film will be screened in Brighton, London and Birmingham. The Uganda screening news will be released as soon as they will be available. I want to be there, obviously. While I wait anxiously to travel to Kampala for that screening, and the launch of Odokonyero, the anthology, enjoy four of the eighteen short stories in the anthology, below.

Candano by Fred Sunday Mugisha

Tendo by Esther Mirembe 

My Name is Ojwiny by George Ocen 

Let me Write to Dad by Jacob Katumusiime 

It was a pleasure doing these things, to celebrate five years of Writivism, no wonder my electronic self passed out in August, and I missed two weeks at the beginning of the semester. I am happy to see the fruits of all that labour.


By Bernard Sabiiti

I just made a startling discovery after reading Yoweri Museveni’s newly released ‘Sowing the Mustard Seed’ 2nd edition. There is no mention of Kizza Besigye at all. I thought there was a page I missed. Surely a figure as monumental in the National Resistance Army (NRA) struggle as Besigye should be mentioned somewhere. I even went to the book’s index and scanned all the K’s and then the B’s and even the C’s (for colonel). Nothing!


Yoweri Museveni (in yellow shirt) launches the second edition of his autobiography (Photo: The Monitor)

But then I had read the first edition of ‘Sowing the Mustard Seed’ numerous times and I remembered Museveni had mentioned Kizza Besigye in heroic and glowing terms, so I went back to the old copy and bingo! Page 152, towards the end of the “Fighting Obote” Chapter, the son of Kaguta, after describing the desperate need for doctors the guerrillas had and praising the role of Dr. Bata, the very first NRA physician, he wrote;

Then Kizza Besigye … joined us and now we had some medical personnel to help us.


Col. Kizza Besigye (in head circled), with other comrades during the 1981 – 86 bush war

But it is page 165 of the old book, now expunged from the new one, that got to me. Under the “Attacking Kabamba” chapter (those who have read Museveni’s story know the importance of this invasion in the NRA struggle), Museveni narrates a pivotal moment when Kiiza Besigye saved his life, as they neared Kabamba:

While scaling these hills, I fainted due to extreme dehydration and exhaustion. Kizza Besigye gave me Oral Rehydration Salts and we were able to continue the journey.


The cover of the first edition

That these key facts that explained Besigye’s role in the NRA struggle and the role he played in saving Museveni’s life were expunged from the new edition because the two men have become rivals is beyond absurd. This in my view shows how extreme Museveni or those around him have become in their politics. It is backward, revisionist and bad for the historical record of the Museveni years. I am still examining the book to see if there are other characters that were expunged in this rewriting of history and will get back.

This is sad!

Q&A: Law is a form of literature – Busingye Kabumba

The second interview/conversation in a series exploring Ugandan Perspectives on Law and Literature has been published today at Africa In Words. The first interview was with Sophie Alal and published a few weeks ago. Today’s is with Dr. Busingye Kabumba. More will follow over the coming months.

Busingye Kabumba Busingye Kabumba

AiW Author: Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire

Dr. Busingye Kabumba teaches Human Rights and International Law at Makerere and other universities. Educated at the University of Pretoria, Harvard, Oxford and Makerere, Busingye is also a partner at Development Law Associates, a legal consulting firm in Kampala. He is famous for, among other reasons, having published a poetry collection at nineteen years of age. He is reputed as the only Ugandan teenager to win a book prize for a full poetry collection! The National Book Trust (NABOTU) Poetry Award of 2002 went to Busingye for his Whispers of My Soul. He has also become a sought-after commentator for the media, television, newspapers etc. He has been quoted in newspapers, local and foreign talking about constitutional, human rights and literary matters.

On one morning, as 2015 rolled into our lives, I meet Busingye for this conversation, I find him in his…

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