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.

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