We were taught at school to greet in the letter yet I don’t know how to greet you without saying “how are you?” Tr. Grace emphasised that you don’t greet your seniors with HOW ARE YOU. So I really don’t know how to greet you here today.
I also find it odd that I have to call you father in this context. You are my father but the language I find the confidence with which to express myself only brings out the true meaning when I call you ‘daddy’ yet I don’t feel comfortable as well calling you so.
Calling you Daddy is far fetched for me. Daddy is what my P3 best friend Paul used to call his father. It always left me thinking of how I could go about us. But you see Paul’s daddy used to drop him at school with pocket money for break. He picked him from school and they always went to church together. This doesn’t apply for us. That’s why I find it hard to call you daddy. I should stick to father only that I am afraid it may make you sad.
I still want to see you happy dancing to kwasa kwasa with your feet tightly held together tapping on the ground. By the way, I have never told you this and perhaps never will but it was through you that I learnt to dance. I would imitate your dance moves every time you were away then teach them to my friends at school. I was your only son and you taught me how to dance Kwasa kwasa.
Every time music played on your untouchable cassette you painted memories in my mind yet I can count how many those few times were. The boy in me longed for a daddy. You were far away and I wondered why I wasn’t like Paul.
Now that I am a fully grown man, I wonder what precedent I am setting before my own children. My childhood disappeared before I realised leaving a grown up longing for the past. I found a place on the dancing floor pulling off Jaba moves and simply like that I crossed to adulthood.
I have come to find a place in poetry where my emotions find a place in the body of words softly chosen. Only through them do I get to get away from living in your shadow.
I still get lost in my childhood thoughts wondering whether we shall ever go back to recreating the relationship a father and son have. All that remains is a broken record of us dancing on broken lines.
It is every child’s dream to grow up and make themselves some money to buy that one item that they think they have not had the chance to have in plenty at a particular point in time.
This particular bucket list usually has candy, bread or meat. Soon it grows to more important items like toys, a bike or a labelled shoe. The constant is that the list does not go away. Instead, it keeps growing getting updated by day. The items may change, some may be very unfortunate to be kicked off before they are realized. However, the list stays till death.
It is drummed in every school going child to think of a career path that they will have to charter in the adult part of their life with that question that opens Michelle Obama’s Becoming; “What do you want to become when you grow up?” And the aspirations begin, career guidance never stops. It comes through an organized school session to speak to the graduating students persuading them to stay in school till university. It comes through parents or relatives at home burdening themselves with which school to send their children to and reminding them to concentrate on their studies. It comes through random people at church and other societal happenings who pick interest in the career and future affairs on every growing child.
Some of these conversations are candid. They come wearing nothing but the very face of their intent. Others come in hiding. They take on different colours and faces. But when you look around, they are lurking in the neighbourhood of the words you hear, the people they introduce you to and the wishes they tell.
That is the beginning of the running process. You run so you can make all the above people happy. You run so your dreams can be fulfilled. You run to catch up with a chase of life you have no idea of. You run so you change the face of the people you love. You just run. When you make it through school, the other bit of the running also starts, running to get a job, to work to find a reason of waking up or going to bed for that matter. Or at least you have to be seen taking part in the business of running, in the business of being busy, in the business of working. Trouble is when that job does not come as soon as expected or comes with all the politics it does come with. No one ever warns you of this and that’s because each job is different. There could be the workers’ manual but no one can dare define its impact to the individual. That is left for you to figure out.
This is when you begin running in heels; learning to deal with the company politics or salvation for that matter. You learn of camps and opposition parties that have no physical walls yet they are very strong and they can be seen all over the place. They exist and can harm you if you dare run into them.
No one teaches you how to deal with them, it is the implied meaning of ‘learning on the job’. You learn to thrive and survive. To deal with the weather, to dive but not drown, to emerge from the deep end of the pool.
That is what Pamela Bayenda shares in her book, Running In Heels. Jumping into a new job that was meant to help her tick off the boxes of the long list of the bucket items of this phase of her life, she found herself having to learn how to swim against the tide. It was the most immediate skill she needed at the time. Other things could wait.
As you read the book, you can only imagine, stop and wonder the version of your own story. In her writing, there is a reflective bit of each one of us. That is what qualifies it as a career memoir. Hers is the perspective of the Ugandan girl but I am convinced it’s an eye opener for the Ugandan boy as well at the work place. This book is a strong reflection of each one of us. And it should cause us to think of the heroes or villains we are at the work place.
This review was written by David Kangye. You can buy copies of Running In Heels from ttpafrica.com.
The new shorter Oxford English dictionary dfines a piece as “a small part of a material thing, any of the distinct portions or objects of which a material thing is composed”.
There are pieces of everything and each and every one of us has their own. They build up the components of who we are. Sometimes our pieces are scattered and they do not make an all-round picturesque resemblance of who we are.
Unfortunately, at times we do not get the opportunity to know that a few of our pieces are missing. This takes us to places in search of our lost pieces. To some, the lost pieces can be found in trying out a new skill or moving to a new neighbourhood or finding new friends while to others the journey is outside in. The search goes on within oneself marking the beginning and, often, the acquisition of new habits such as alcoholism or drugs. Whatever the case, the search for the pieces goes on.
We all long for a complete self. Pieces of me is a story of the small parts of Catherine that she found missing. She needed to find them and assemble herself to being the complete image that her creator made of her yet she was struggling. Knowing that some of her pieces were missing, she went on a search that resulted into the loss of her former self. Often times, she felt undeserving of the love that her husband had for her and the beauty of life that God bestowed upon her life. Identifying the struggles was not reason enough for her to stop with being alcoholic, instead it pushed her to self-confinement to think that the delayed conception of children in her marriage with Paul was a punishment from God of her wrong doing.
This book brings to light a number of individual struggles through which many become victims of the blame game that they have directly created or worse, merely perceived. Those little things silently eat off pieces of the full fabric that we are all created to be.
The beauty with this book comes with the knowledge that God’s amazing grace surpasses the wrongs of our deeds and thoughts. The eight years of a childless marriage easily fade away when Catherine gives birth to her first set of twins and in no record time followed by another.
These bundles of joy knit together the small parts of her life that had gone missing for years the kind that ate away into her joy, gratitude and self-confidence. Here in this book is a wrong story gone right as told by Catherine.
This review was written by David Kangye. Pieces Of Me is available at ttpafrica.com.
There comes a point in life when one is pushed to the corner and the only way one will live is if they leave. This is what happens at the island of Adavera in the Nvaleroah household. The death of Edward Nvaleroaah brings with it episodes of other forms of departure. Edward, is a loving father to his three daughters; Anidanta, Nohana and Lucy. His sudden death leaves his estranged wife, Eleanor a disturbed soul. Disturbed with the way she will start being the daddy to her girls. She is not just assuming that role but rather a loving father at that. These thoughts weigh her down as she has never been present in her children’s lives as much.
As a patient of mental health, she’s left with no option of how to address these issues. Thanks to Uncle KK who is so fond of children that he is willing to take care of the girls from a distance. With his son Preston as their friend and playmate, there is little to worry about. Besides, there is Lucy, Eleanor’s little girl the one who brings life and light to everyone. But the going gets tougher. Eleanor cannot fake it any more. She leaves to find a life of her own. Anidanta has to find answers to the questions in her life. She leaves to follow the music wherever it is laying at the island. Nohana is left as the custodian of this household of leaving souls. She too disappears into herself.
Preston, the only son of Uncle KK is a struggling teenager who is desperate for attention and affection especially from the girls. He misses his mother. She left her father to go to Tampana to pursue her own career. But Preston wonders why she had to leave. His father has never healed from it. It is the very reason he still eats the crumbs of the meat pies he makes. He says that helps him cope with stress.
Lucy takes it upon herself to bring to a hold this continuous chain of departures before they are all gone. She offers her soul to the call of Muuna as a token of redemption for her family. Unknown to her, she was the only string holding everyone and everything in position. Upon her sudden departure, Nohana also chooses to leave for a writing course in Italy. Eleanor abandons the girls to go and use her resources to finance the struggling musicians who will give her something in return.
Sometimes you lose to win. The departure of Lucy, the only fabric that holds together the Nvaleroah community unites the two sisters towards finding meaning in their lives. Antonia’s crossing of the girls’ lives does not leave them the same. Anidanta is willing to change her lifestyle and serve Muuna. Nohana is tired of running away from her past troubles. She has never told anyone that she was raped by Micheal and it is one thing that has always held her hostage and eaten into her self-esteem. When Preston asks her to be his girlfriend, she says yes. She knows Preston has his past with Colette, it is not a problem at least they are together now. The past is behind, it is time to live a new life on this island of Adavera.
This review was writen by David Kangye. You can buy the book from ttpfrica.com
What does your name mean? Maybe not many people know the meaning of their names, only a privileged few, like me, do.
Her late parents might not have known or they had their own reasons why they christened her Bugingo but it was far more than they had imagined.
The last thing a teenage girl expects to befall her life is sickness. And not just any other sickness but something as gross as cancer. Yet this is Karen Bugingo’s story.
A morning discomfort in her hip tips off a journey that lasts more than two years exiling her excitement of continuing to form 6 with her friends and having to wait for some more time as she gets treatment.
One thing about sickness, you never know how sick you are until you get the check-up done and find out you were only surviving on God’s grace. That was Karen’s life. From a ‘slight’ dislocation of the hip to an eaten spine to cancer.
Karen finds herself having to move from Kigali to Nairobi to Bangalore and back in a small span of time yet growing weaker every other day. First, she fails to support herself and she has to get a crutch, then a wheel chair. In the process she has to forego her hair. With the passing of time, she can no longer make herself breakfast, she has to be served. Before long, she cannot feed herself. Walls come crumbling down when she, in the end, has to feed on formula through a tube.
Karen’s story brings one to the attention of God’s grace upon our lives. As you turn page after page you cannot fail but realize that our ability as human beings is limited as regards protecting and preserving life.
The book is a restoration of hope. Of how things change when you refuse to give up. Of how important it is to have someone by your side willing to take care of you. Karen had Aunt Eva, Grandmother and Calvin. They meant the world to her at a time when she struggled dearly for her life.
Together, they re-wrote the story of her destiny and redirected it to a whole new beginning.
One thing for certain is that we should take off time to be grateful for life because we do not know how things are working.
If your hope is waning and you feel like you cannot take it anymore, this book will help you stop and reflect. Things could be working for you more than you thought.
MY NAME IS LIFE was released in 2018 published by Imagine We, Rwanda. It is available for sale at Turn The Page Africa. You can buy a copy from ttpafrica.com.
I was a freshman at university when Makerere celebrated 90 years of her existence. One of the activities done to mark off the celebrations were a series of lectures on different topics. However, the main public lecture which filled the main hall to overflowing capacity was the one where Dr Martin Aliker was presenting his.
We all sat straight up, the senior citizens, the teaching staff and fellow students. He took off the time to read out his lecture. It was a loaded pact of information. He schooled all of us in attendance. His lecture would pass for a book of its own like Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture of sort. After the lecture, the MC announced that a copy of the paper would be shared with the journalists covering the event. I was not a journalist but somehow I could not leave without a copy of my own.
I do not know how many time I re-read the lecture during my stay at university and I used the information therein written to superintend over other students on matters university history. I still have my copy.
I was overjoyed as I turned the last pages of his memoir to find that Dr Martin Aliker republished this same lecture. It is that relevant as it was then.
Given that there are not many senior citizens in this country that have written down their stories, The Bell is Ringing stands out as a master piece of its own, not that the narrator is so humorous but because he teaches more than many of us know about our country. A number of authors have written on the political history of the country but very few, if any, have written about the business history. The commonest business history of the country that you will ever hear of is the expulsion of the Asians by Idi Amin in 1972. Dr Aliker has been at the pinnacle of the corporate business in Uganda and he tells it all.
The few times I have had the honour of being in Dr Martin Aliker’s audience, one thing has always come up; the pronunciation of his name. With the English background, most of us miss on the Acholi dialect where the name is pronounced as [Alikay]. This book brings you to laughter a thousand times. You find yourself pausing, thinking through and laughing out loud.
You cannot fail but hear the voice of the old man read out this story to you, if you have had the chance of meeting him, there is one thing that cannot be missed, his jokes. Dr Aliker is full of humour in his personal life that he shades it on everything he touches. This book is inclusive. You cannot run away from how he lightly breaks down complex subjects.
His is a very long story of a life full of events experienced first-hand. This is a rare collection given that most memoirs cover lifespans of seventy years and below. This particular one is unique since it runs close to 90 years of a lifetime, how good God has been to Martin and Camille! The story of this memoir is not necessary the author’s alone, it comes as a story of a country that has an elder.
For the first time, I have come across someone from whom the president sought advice. Not to say that the president does not seek advice but it is a rare gesture more so in a country where he has identified himself as the grandfather and the rest of the nation as his grandchildren.
This senior citizen is the real jaaja if we are to go by the real meaning of the word. In his writing, he narrates, teaches, counsels, jokes and prophesies just as grandparents do to their children. He uses simpler but correct language well knowing the kind of English that his readers are accustomed to.
This book should be a must have for each family. For everyone in business, corporate life, or anyone with an aspiring future, this is one book you ought to read. We may not have the honour of meeting Dr Aliker one on one but that should not be the problem, his voice speaks louder to us through his words written in this masterpiece.
I wish this book to be a source of motivation to the living senior citizens of this country to write their stories down. We need more of such wisdom to be shared.
Turn the Page Africa has taken it upon itself to have this book reach you at your doorstep moments after you have made your order from ttpafrica.com.
Of recent jumping out of bed has been a boring sport. I wake up lazily pulling together disbanded body parts from wherever they were spread in the course of sleep. This Sunday morning was not any different, maybe, it was even worse.
Usually I have a book I am reading before sleep steals me away. That same book starts me off my new day. I awake and turn to it to finish that paragraph, page or chapter that I could have slept off before finishing.
This morning I had no book by my side.
I reached out to my back pack and picked Jackson Biko’s DRUNK.
From the first page I could tell it was going to be a good read and of course a good Sunday. Blame it on the choice of bookmark I randomly picked by so many stories or the beauty of the word order of the text but not me. I was only a reader running after words neatly plastered in crunchy sentences that I could not stop munching. Isn’t that what books are written for?
One thing that strikes me about this book is the way the chapters are clearly crafted; brief and concise to the marrow of the story. If there is one thing the author (or editor thereof) did with the manuscript was to be economical with words. No word is left lousing about in the chapter, every word has a direction to take building up a detailed nimbly presented story in only 167 pages.
Reading the words from one sentence to another, page to page, I found myself identifying with the story.
In Mama Larry, I saw my mother, in Larry I saw myself, as I did of Jeff for my brother. When Larry looks at his brother Jeff with such a judgmental look and talks him into being a better person upon his return from India, it only reminds me of the time my brother was home after university. Why couldn’t he get a job? I always wondered. I saw many opportunities he was not taking up and I thought he was not being fair especially in a world where firstborn children assume the role of deputy parent.
I had to pause and give my mother a call. This book was having a toll on me.
A friend of mine often alludes “to the time that thunder will strike” and I thought this time round time itself must be struck by thunder. The turnaround of events in Larry’s life does not take a lifetime before he is down to seek the umpire’s help.
Larry’s life is no new story to the life very many of us the recent corporate/ working class/ millennial are living.
Our stories have a similar pattern of events. We have so many friends with very few—if any—to talk to. We are all over the place without any being our own.
We live at a time where we struggle to be friends—for those who still try—with our parents. Many have grown up under roofs of broken families with a living—yet absent—parent in their children’s lives. Parents like Larry’s father, who is dead but alive because he gives you some money which you need but are too broken to say no to it. After all, bills won’t pay themselves. Somewhere in a conversation one will share their distaste of their parent, of how they abused or abandoned their own children. If this is not your story, it is one for a friend or even a cousin or someone as close.
And yet the Malkia’s of this world are also as many. When you attend church, pastors are always praying for the same things, breakthrough in finances, healing of the sick and something about relationships. All these spheres are wounded. Yet when the Malkias come into people’s lives, healing happens in people’s hearts. This particular kind of joy is not shared in words, it is only lived.
It is somewhere in a photo near you as a whatsapp display picture or status update. It is a desktop wallpaper on someone’s laptop or smartphone.
It is in this drunk status of our lives that some of us resent phone calls and prefer texts. And texts have come to be just more than that kabiriti sms, the kind that makes a loud beep inviting you for a wedding meeting. We have outgrown that. We are at a level of checking that that whasappp text has been read and marked with the blue ticks. How things change, in school, they were red. And it does not stop there, there is always a reply being waited for. It’s not our fault, it’s just the time we live in.
We are drunk on our smart phones that have since become our body parts but still we manage to hang in there. We are yet to learn that seeking help is not a weakness but a sign of strength. Maybe these our “fathers” should not wait for us to get to this place and them coming their medical advice of how they can be of help. Maybe simple things like creating time for lunch on a birthday would save a thousand nights at a night club with random faces. Maybe!
Maybe if our dear parents and bosses at work took trouble to understand the goings on in our lives before they passed a verdict over our lives, maybe talking also helps.
One sure thing there are a thousand angels in the name of Malkia out there, we need to find them and we talk to them about the lengths of our elephant’s nose.
This book should be read by everyone who has ever addressed someone or been the addressee as a millennial. You cannot escape a paragraph that talks about you.
This review was written by David Kangye. The book is available for sale and delivery at ttpafrica.com
Often times poets write of things that affect the community they live in. They are observers who take note of the many things that the ordinary eye may misses out. They are society’s self-appointed mouth piece without whom some things might never come to light. Ronald Ssekajja takes a U-turn in this collection. He takes an outside-in point of view into the jungle that is his thoughts. Conversations about sadness, death and anything as dark rarely escape the prison of our minds. They clog in there only to manifest as depression later on in life. In his writing, the poet journeys us through the darkness that troubles his mind all clearly set in his head, told in his own voice. The reader cannot fail but identify with the after effects which one never gets schooled on in the process of LOSING TOUCH WITH HUMANITY. Dealing with loss is one of the hardest circumstances in that many find hard to deal with. In his attempt to threaten and scare off death, the poet brings out the fears that many of us walk around with carrying in ourselves that we never get to disclose. He is quick to own up to all the upheavals that are raised, he is quick to make reference to himself in the writing. The poems in the collection are not implied, they are the lived testimonies of his life. It is this kind of roller coaster of life that makes men tired.
Tired men still get called home
Only to die, tired!
Poems like STORM point out the sad reality of writers having to shed their own pain on paper. In the collection, the poet repetitively alludes to ink and its relevancy in soothing and calming the burdens that weigh down his heart. Whereas writing is in itself a remedy of relieving self, it leaves the writer with a lot of uncertainty in regards to the posterity of their work. There is no assurance that one’s work will be read or not.
I wish people would listen to me, or read my poetry
And perhaps in their comments give me their sympathies…
With the resignation in the tone of voice, you are reminded of the renewed purpose of living and the gratitude that comes with it. After all LIFE REVOLVES.
In the writing of his grievances and pain, his cries and yearnings, he finds himself. He finds a relief and a healing. He finds ACCEPTANCE if not anywhere else, at least within himself.
Condemned by the adults in the village as an eccentric child likely to grow into a lunatic, terrified 6-year old Jesse Yesiga learns, under the influence of 16 year old Helen that he isn’t eccentric, but unique and destined, not for lunacy, but a peculiar purpose. Helen, whom Jesse loves platonically but profoundly, soon dies amidst the siege of Mbarara Town by Museveni-led rebels. Later in life Jesse bases his choices in career and romance on societal conventions, and pursues them with the passion of a poet. But after he reaches every school boy’s dream girl, and enrols on every student’s dream course, the culminating disappointment revived the illuminations of his childhood. But can he find himself again? And can he find a girl that can stir his affections the way Helen did? His flight from conventionality, inspired by a jewel bequeathed to him by his heroine, turns out to be perilous but worthwhile.
The first question I’ll ask is, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known!? This man is a genius. No, I’m not exaggerating, I don’t need to. This man is a serious, absolute genius.
This book, on its own, is one of the sweetest and cutest
books I’ve ever read. No kidding.
I very much admire and envy his ability to shift the reader
from one mood to the next. From elation to sadness. His descriptive powers are
out of this world… From the way the book begins, with philosophical wondering
on what memory really is and how it affects our lives right to the satisfactory
The language in this book is not hard to understand and the
simplicity in writing style makes it even better. The book is hilarious and has
an introspective nature to it. The story is told with honesty that can be best
described as innocent. I enjoyed how much he mixes the spiritual and reality.
From the outlandish characters to the ones we recognise in
the pages. I’m not a child of the 80s, the era in which the book is set, but I
recognised many of the characters in the book. The village gossip, the
‘prophet’, the teacher that loves his cane a little too much, nicknamed Mr.
The other wonderful surprise in this book was the beautiful
poetry that was featured in throughout the book. Each poem was inspired by an
event happening the author.
In a world where we are made to admire a standard of life
that is somewhat out of our reach, finding our true authentic selves is usually
frowned upon. This may be because our true selves and what we are passionate
about may be unsavoury to society and it’s standards.
Before I give away much of the book’s plot, again I ask, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known? This is a page-turner. I think, in my case, I’ve reached the point of becoming a disciple, not just fan.
This review was written by Mable Amuron, for Turn The Page Africa.
For a copy or more of these books and others, please visit ttpafrica.com.
Sixteen year old Alyna Kalisa returns from school to find a note from her big sister, Adisa, saying that she’s left home to start a new life. Adisa has been looking after Alyna, the 14-year-old brother Kibo Kalisa and her own son, Simeon Kafuuma (four). Now the three children are on their own. Afraid that they will be taken to an abandoned children’s home if anyone finds out that they’re on their own, Alyna and Kibo agree to tell no one that their big sister is gone. As the two struggle to manage the household on their own, Simmi’s pre-school teacher notices that something is not right and begins to snoop around. Meanwhile, Alyna and Kibo are discovering details of their sister’s secret life…
The late Joel Benjamin Nevender wrote that this book was meant for a younger audience and I couldn’t agree more. So, as an experiment, I gave this book to my younger school-going cousin to read and asked her to write a review of the book. She obliged. So I’ll be sharing her thoughts as well as mine.
Deserted delves into the lives of a family of orphans whose big sister has suddenly disappeared leaving her child and siblings behind. This comes as a shock to the kids as their big sister had been their surrogate mother, their parents having been killed by an assassin ten years earlier.
The author, Bob Kisiki, gets the reader into the minds of these children and how they are affected by the this life-altering event.
The book shows that there are people with good intentions in the world, not ones with ulterior motives as much as it casts a light on secret lives.
My “problem” with the book is that I found the luck that befalls the kids, after their big sister…er… deserts them, a little too good to be true.
I think as an older
reader, I wanted just a tad bit more friction and tension. I also found myself
wanting to know more and understand the darkness that shrouded Adisa, the older
I quite enjoyed the little lessons found therein which
further cements the theory that this was meant for a younger audience. I loved
the simplicity of the story, I was, surprisingly moved by it, but then again
I’m a softy at heart. The simplicity of the language too. I liked the snippets
into Ugandan life; the boda bodas, traffic jam, markets, school life, church
Read it? Yes! Then gift it to the neighbourhood teenager, the sister, the cousin, the nephew, the niece.
What my 16 year old
I enjoyed this story and book very much. I loved how Alyna and Kibo managed to take care of their nephew even though they quarrelled and how they didn’t let this affect Simmi. I loved how they were managed at each moment of difficulty. I loved that they worked together and their combined effort to run the house and take care of Simmi. It was a very good story.
This review was written by Mable Amuron, for Turn The Page Africa.
For a copy or more of these books and others, please visit ttpafrica.com.