OGENDA WA? – Ssebo Lule

Ssebo Lule’s OGENDA WA?

Ssebo Lule is an amazing Luganda poet. He is doing what many of us are struggling to do with writing in our mother tongues. Lule is writing in the language in which he thinks. His mastery of Luganda is above the ordinary. This is something to do with, I think, continued practise both to speak and write in the same.

OGENDA WA? is a beautiful written poetry collection that tackles a number of subjects of the events of our time the title of the book is based on a poem that goes with the same title. Ogenda Wa? that can loosely be translated to “where are you going?”

Departure is one of the themes that the poet pays a lot of attention to. It is founded on the grounds of self introspection, dissatisfaction and intrigue in the poet’s life circumstances- or as presented in the book. Throughout the writing, he co-relates the past and the present using the language’s wealthy diction and figurative language. The poems are written in short sentence structure and can easily be deciphered even for a recent language learner. He takes a leap at writing the long song poetry a style also very famous with the writings of Okot p’ Bitek.

Lule’s is a unique style that is crafted out of performance which explains why most of the poems have musical beat in their intonation. This argument could be based on the poet’s love for performance well knowing that some of the poems first made it to the stage before they made it on the page. And to fully take in the book, the reader should brace themselves for a lot of humour laced within the lines. And they seem to be effortlessly arrived at.

To make the book more legible and enjoyable, the poet takes the trouble to organise the poetry in five different parts that make it easier for the reader to delve straight in. The parts are; Omukwano Tegugasa, Funa Endagamuntu, Ogenda Wa, Uganda Oli Musiru and Ewaffe Abagenyi…

The collection is deliberately written in Luganda, the poet’s mother tongue. To non-Luganda speakers, it may be such a ragged climb to read yet to those who know how to read and interpret will enjoy the book.

The collection is friendly to the eyes. It is not one of the big poetry bibles but a smaller and lighter one.

This review, of Ssebo Lule’s OGENDA WA?, is written by David Kangye, for ttpafrica.com. Copies of the book are available on ttpafrica.com.

A Focused Journey – Kisamba Mugerwa

Kisamba Mugerwa’s autobiography A Focused Journey.

You may not know him especially if you are below 30 yet he only retired recently after holding a number of reputable positions in the country and at the international level.

Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa is one of the few living professionals that have taken off the time to grow through the different stages of work both in the academia and civil service.

At a time when the country did not have very many professionals to fill up the various positions, Kisamba and a few colleagues played the role. People who take up public positions tend to be only known for their public image and little or nothing at all is known about their private lives. Save for a few.

Here is a tale of a man that played in three unrelated fields, if I may say. To be a dedicated business man that worked to increase his income while working as a civil servant and later as a politician, would easily say is a rare man.

His love for his mother and wife is much undisputed and the weight of emotion upon his mother’s demise is heavily felt. Hate him or like him, Kisamba Mugerwa is one of the few people that lovingly write about their spouses and make you feel like getting married tomorrow. In the course of their lives, he has really supported his wife. Today they are both retired and it is clear that standing with each other means a lot. As a family man, Kisamba’s heart has always been not far from his family. His dedication to transform their livelihood to being a modal farmer is not something to be taken for granted.

Focus comes with intention yet where there is focus also is diversion. It is harder to remain focused than is it to be diverted. A Focused Journey aligns the author’s life together to help the reader come to reality with a person like Kisamba Mugerwa.

It is only people that take off time to reflect on their lives that have such an opportunity to come up with such brave ideas. He is one man to envy.

Many of the self styled leaders in positions similar to the ones that Mr. Mugerwa occupied may not be in position to give a clear and detailed account of their stay in office as this gentleman does. His hatred and intolerance for corruption and inefficiency is very clear.

There is nothing I find more defining like having to building up the people around him. In all the offices he occupied, the author took it upon himself to work with people in teams by knowing their personal life.

All these things he has achieved by being a very simple man focused on changing his story and that of those around him. His story is indeed a tale of courageous strides.

This review, of Prof. Kisamba Mugerwa’s A Focused Journey, is written for ttpafrica.com, by David Kangye. Copies of the book are available on ttpafrica.com.

Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How The Internet Era Is Transforming Politics In Kenya – Nanjala Nyabola

Nanjala Nyabola’s Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics.

No one saw it coming. It looked to be so far away yet it hit like a bang. Before long everyone was talking about it and it became the talk of town. Internet. Everyone had their point of view of what that would be but without clarity of how it was going to affect them.

Politicians have mastered the art of talking things away whether they have the evidence or not. I have a feeling that was the same with the internet. One person once complained of their boss who deliberately refused to learn computer operation. His emails would be printed out by the secretary and he would reply in short hand which would then be typed and emailed back. What such people did not see coming was the digital evolution.

It crept through the crevices of small handsets called mobile phones which everyone wanted to have. Within a short time, the concern went beyond just having a phone but the size, type and later, the complexity. That’s how black berry ruled this world. You had CEOs with black berry phones operating with a p. O box mind-set.

The tools were available and soon they were to become the source of our problems. The rate at which technology changes (read improves) is way faster than how the politics of the land does. This has created a number of opportunities but also challenges. When there is a fire outbreak, with the power of social media, there is an immediate circulation of the news to the authorities which is a good thing. Should the fire truck show up with only five litres of water, then expect an explosion on social media.

Politicians took long to jump on the ship of digital that is to say; having active social media platforms both for public figures and institutions, by the time they did, most of them needed to first redeem their image.
Digital has narrowed the distance between leaders and the people they lead, the common folk. They are just a tweet away. And the leader will be forced to respond. We have seen even powerful institutions which rarely relate with the common person coming out to speak on urgent matters online.

These changes are not only happening at the political level, they are being made manifest in the lives of ordinary people who are using digital platforms to access services that were rather very far from them. Within the past five year period, a lot more has changed more than the past decade because of the quick internet speeds and the improved versions of the mobile gadgets and the affordability of both.

Nanjala takes the trouble to break down and examine these different points of time and the effects that each has had on the nations of east Africa especially Kenya and her people. The ten year scope in which she researched the book, there was a lot changing and it goes without mention that more has also changed and improved for that matter.

This review, of Nanjala Nyabola’s Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How The Internet Era Is Transforming Politics In Kenya, is written for ttpafrica.com by David Kangye. Copies of the book can be purchased from ttpafrica.com.

Loved By The Best – Justice Mike Chibita

Justice Mike Chibita’s Loved By The Best: The Journey Of One African Judge.

Nothing beats reading a good story. Probably you have seen people driving while reading a book that is if you are not a victim yourself. Passengers in taxis have missed their stopovers because they are deeply engrossed in a book they are reading.

The “problem” with a good story is that it catches you off guard. Unawares. You begin with a simple intention of reading the first page but then before long, words just seem to run on.

I was at a café when I pulled out Mike Chibita’s book, Loved By The Best. What I didn’t realise was that I was to be tied to my seat till sunset. That time was to pass by without my notice. That the recently risen sun was to go about its shining business without me being cognisant of all her efforts. At least I had a book to blame for that, or so I may say.

The beauty of Chibita’s book is that the story is familiar. It begins in a familiar setting. Familiar in a sense that any Ugandan child can identify with. It is a simple story of a young boy herding cattle and playing in the fields. It is a simple story of this young man beginning school and having to deal with the challenges of a typical primary school. The seed of dreaming of the bigger world is always planted in primary school. It is as simple as asking, “what do you want to be in the future?” Once that question is asked the clock begins ticking.

For Chibita, this clock was already ticking when he sat his primary seven and got the average grade. The size of the dream came into play. Mark you, at this point in time, it was not his dream rather the parents’ and to be more specific, the father’s. As a loving father to a dear son whom he wishes very well, he had to repeat primary seven. The choice of words here is very key. He had to repeat the class. Never mind the young man had already tested secondary school, worn shoes in his feet and trousers for a full term. But there was the dream. And for it to be pursued. He had to repeat.

It was at this second calling that he was able to get admitted to Kings College Budo. Still, it was his father still pushing for all this happen. Chibita’s first intentional input towards pursuing his HAPPENED AT Budo after his father had left him alone among the strangers. This one strange place was to become home for six years. It was to be the place of individual dreams. It was the place of making life long relationships that run on through the entire story. The place of pushing self to be the sportsman Mike is and a place to get a pinch of the leadership salt. It was the point of meeting Christ.  But majorly, it was the place where the dream to become a lawyer was clearly painted.

Then Makerere University happened. Mike was a free man or he thought. He had the power to choose so many things. In a world without a uniform, no bell, and no headmaster to run away from, the place was freedom itself. What he did not know was that the freedom was squarely checked with attending classes.

With university came the question of choice. The choice of life to be lived. It was through the choice of going to Kampala Baptist Church that he met his better half, Monica.

Mike’s story is a beautiful one. He tells the story without hiding or leaving behind any details. Could this be the muzukulu root that was planted at Budo?

In the narration of this story, you will realise that the author has had a stellar career growth which has been contributed to by various factors as he clearly highlights. Most importantly though are the personal virtues that contributed to the growth. Key among these is knowing self and being disciplined.

Mike’s story stands out to remind the reader to be appreciative of the time and believing in self. He also reminds us that around us are people who are always eager and willing to help us grow. When you look closely, you will find them. Like the title, Loved By The Best, is a reflective book that helps you to stop and think about your life. When you do, you realise that for you get to where you are today, it was not entirely very much of your hard work. There is a myriad of other factors at play.  You are where the person you are because you have been loved by the best.

This review, of Justice Mike Chibita’s Loved By The Best, is written by David Kangye, for ttpafrica.com. Copies of the book can be purchased from ttpafrica.com

COURAGE – Timothy Rubashembusya

Timothy Rubashembusya’s Courage: Learning To live With Uncertainty.

Within us, all is an inherent desire to do good and be great. It is this desire that sees us go out of our way to pursue courses, apply for jobs or start our own. The end goal written or not is to have some things done better.

We are all caught up in a web where we wake up to fulfilling societal demands, graduate from school get a job, start a family and live happily thereafter. Seldom do we stop to talk about individual goals and our ambitions and how they are to be achieved. The difference between what is scripted or expected of one and what one desires to do is what Timothy writes about in his book, Courage.

To make it even clearer, he uses a fitting subtitle of Learning to Live in Uncertainty. Parents are always eager to protect their children from the “world” out there because it is very uncertain, anything can happen.

Similar to this courage is what William Golding writes about in his forever beautiful novel Lord of the Flies. In the novel, a group of young boys finds themselves marooned alone on an island after a plane crash. For the very first time in their lives, they have to make decisions for their survival and rescue. In the end, there is the division which results in death unfortunately and the survival of some. The driving factor of this among the boys is the courage to face the world or its lack thereof.

Timothy is such a courageous man to take on such a hard topic and discuss it in nine solid chapters in the most simplified way possible. He breaks down the concept making you the reader, first identify that you need courage and secondly that the courage is within you.

We live in a very first paced world that just keeping tabs on what we are doing is very difficult. A lot of things are happening at the same time and as a result, we are caught up in a web. It is a web of doing what everyone else is doing, a web of survival and a web of putting up appearances. This is a dangerous place.

Timothy troubles himself with coming up with working solutions to help us overcome this situation. If there is something you desire to do, go ahead and write it down. When you do, follow it up and give it time. He continues to give extended explanations of how these work out in the long run.

This book is timely in the sense that there are so many young people out there wearing the vest of courage and trying to make sure it clearly fits. And in the process, some have given up and others are on the verge. There are scanty voices as Timothy’s screaming into these ears to keep on trying. Because the initial structural setting is mainly comprised of people that have given up before trying at all, they easily lure the rest they find along the way. Uncertainty is real. We wait for the signs to be right, we wait for the time when the waters will be calm so we can assail and yet Timothy here writes saying just go.

When I was reading this book, I found a lot of truth about myself and the work I do. I also figured a number of friends I know stand to benefit from the resource that is this book. I wish you could spare a moment and study this book, it will be of great help.

This review, of Timothy Rubashembusya’s book COURAGE: Learning To Live With Uncertainty, is written by David Kangye, for ttpafrica.com.

Miriam’s Travels – Miriam Kyasiimire

Miriam’s Travels, a travel journal by Miriam Kyasiimire.

For the lovers of the road and adventure, here is a new friend. Her name is Miriam. Miriam has been to the folds and corners of this country out of passion. You know how you purpose to finish all the food you have served on the plate and you achieve it? That is how Miriam has gone about the business of unwrapping the beauty that is the Pearl of Africa; Uganda.

At first, it was a passion of learning about her country only to learn that she would earn from it. Through organizing trips for other people, she would get to breathe life into her vision of trotting the globe.

The only way this would be realized was by opening up KAGERA Safaris, a tour, and travel company that organizes tours around Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.

Not many people have taken off time to write travelogues and that could be because of one of the minor detail in which Miriam majored; journaling her travel experiences. The experiences here in written were first journal entries which only graduated to this a book.

Here, she shares experiences of the different places she has been not only in Uganda but also around the region.

This book is a combination of a number of factors. One, Miriam writes about the places she has been to herself she gives a detailed account of the geography of the place, how one can get there, and the activities to do while there. Two, she indirectly shares her sole journey of building a tour and travel company in an industry that is driven by heavy marketing budgets, influence, and verve. She tells you of how she has beaten the system at all odds. Thirdly, Miriam deliberately digresses from the travel to talk about her zeal and drive as a young Cristian woman in the business space.

Having drawn inspiration from her dear father to be self-employed, little did she know that it was more than wishing and free dreaming. By trying to actualize her dream, she has found herself at a place where she has had to roll her sleeves, bite her upper lip and get dirty with fingers crossed that things work out. The mere fact that this book is out is testimony enough that indeed when one puts in the effort, things work out.

This 178 paged book gives insights on how you can go about choosing your tour packages and how you can achieve more from your trip by spending less. Miriam’s travel journal is bound in a golden hardcover which makes it easier to carry along. She makes use of various photographs taken from the places she writes about which makes it an inviting read for one to keep.

This review, of Miriam’s travelogue, is written, for ttpafrica.com, by David Kangye. Copies of the book can be purchased from ttpafrica.com.

Dancing on Broken Lines – Ronald Ssekajja

Dancing On Broken Lines – Ronald Ssekajja

Dear Father,

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.

Your dear son,

Me

***

This review is written by David Kangye.

You can get a copy of book from ttpafrica.com

Running In Heels – Pamela Bayenda.

Running In Heels – Pamela Bayenda

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.

Pieces Of Me – Catherine Bagyenda

Pieces Of Me – Catherine Bagyenda.

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.

Adavera – Racheal A.Z. Mutabingwa

Adavera – Rachael A.Z. Mutabingwa.

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