“I think of Rusho’s LIGHT as an act of taking the veil off the world; of the man he is, and that of the people around him. I am deliberate about calling it an act because it’s memory in motion. Each poem dances below a bulb at its own tempo and intent. Some of them seek it, the spot, while others avoid it so that the pains and injustices in their bodies aren’t seen. But a lot is on display still, even during moments of darkness. Questions about gender and the human body, loss, relationships, the country, self, and so on. I admire the bravery by which he writes about himself. What drives a man to speak about himself with such honesty? The only way to find out is by diving into the poems he presents as a mirror.
-Lule ssebo Lule, author of OGENDA WA?
“How do you tell your friends that you were raped?
By your boyfriend?
“Do you write a chit/ and place it under each of their pillows/ do you raise it/ at the bar/ 5am/ when Nigerian Afrobeat/ retires/ into retro RnB/ before you throw in a shot/ of chocolate tequila/ you shoot them with the news/ like/ Oh/ by the way/ Simon raped me.
“Do you say it in a poem/ you will never release/ swallow up the paper/ just after you finish writing it/ digest each/ and every/ syllable/ until there is nothing/ because there was nothing/ when you woke up/ no clothes/ no memory/ just a grinning face/ saying/ I thought you wanted it.”
BEGUMYA NKABAFUNZAKI RUSHONGOZA is a Ugandan lawyer and poet. He attended Namirembe Parents Primary School, Katikamu SDA S.S., Mengo Senior School and Makerere University where he read Law. Presently taking the bar course at Law Development Center, he first started writing poetry in Primary Six in 2007, when his English Language teacher set up a poetry writing competition and his poem made it to the list of best poems. Orphaned by 7, and after losing many close family members in his early years, he began writing poems more frequently. Between 2009 and 2012 he stopped writing poetry, preferring to write, first, plays and later novels. He would start writing poems again at the instigation of his friends in 2013, sharing his work with them both in his school and in other schools by letter-writing. In 2015, Rushongoza was chosen to participate in VERSE IN VAC, a mentorship program for young poets in high school vacation. There, he began writing and performing poetry more seriously. That same year, he was a founding member of Kitara Nation, a poet’s collective based in Kampala and has been a member ever since. In 2016, Rushongoza released his self-published debut poetry collection, ‘How Will The Gun Bark If I Am Kissing It’s Muzzle?’ A few years of depression, failing at football, succeeding at school, learning to race cars, falling out of love with the army, gaining weight and writing about all that, he has this book to share.
Format: Paperback & Kindle
Number Of Pages: 96
Publisher: Kitara Nation
“Artistically, it is one of the most engaging anthologies I have read in a very long time. Each poem is special for the way it seems to roll off your tongue. The pattern of rhythm and sound of the words or prosody is enhanced, line on line, by enjambment as feelings spill while carrying the run of the poet’s thought from one line to the next without a syntactical break. The substance of these feelings are so powerful, even tragic.”
– Phillip Matogo, Poet, Author, Critic
This book, the first anthology of its kind, encompasses poems collected from 3 different national High School poetry programs. It could perhaps be the only book of this kind in East Africa.