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.