“When I was a baby
You were seated comfortably
Now I have a baby
Who asks me if you remember
What it feels like
To be on your feet
To be in motion
In search of something better
I was a baby
And you were seated comfortably
Now I have a baby
Who asks me
If you remember
What it means
To travel to homes
Which do not resemble yours.
To visit relatives who
Are forced to explain why toilets
Don’t flush anymore.”
When I was a baby, Nabukeera Pauline S.4 2020
The poems in this anthology were written during the poetry training conducted by Kitara Nation at St. Joseph’s Girls’ S.S.S Nsambya (JOGINSA). The poems express themselves on a range of issues in society like politics, culture, God, domestic violence, among others. This impressive anthology proves the potential that exists among young people if they are given the opportunity to be creative.
ISBN: 9-798654- 857293
Format: Paperback and Kindle Version
Number of Pages: 70
Publisher: Kitara Nation
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“No speaking Vernacular was beautifully performed; humourous, witty, revealing. I thought the play clearly brought out the shortcomings of an education system that wholly demonizes the use of native languages in schools. No Speaking Vernacular pits Mr. Full stop, the John Speke High School Headteacher against Dambya, (Nsubuga Muhammad) a renegade vernacular speaker. Dambya’s sin is using the Luganda word ‘gwe’ which Mr Full stop considers an unforgivable breach of Article 23 of the school Regulations.
In punishment, Dambya suffers the minimum punishment prescribed by the regulations. He is caned. He is forced to wear old sisal sackcloth, a bone around his neck, and a placard bearing the words: “I am stupid. I speak Vernacular.”
– Herbert Okello Andrew, Lawyer, teacher.
“A nation turning into a mortuary” as an “experiment in human suffering”. This is an example of how powerful Richard Otwao’s poetry is: using deceptively simple diction and imagery, he vividly captures the tragedy that African countries have suffered in different situations of war, dictatorship, deprivation, disease, and insult, to mention but a few. With delicate irony and humour, he shows us that not all is lost, for if we mediate upon our deeds and will ourselves into loving our fellow human beings a little more, we can salvage something from the mess we have put our countries, and ourselves, into.”
-Dr Danson Sylvester Kahyana, Senior Lecturer in Literature, Makerere University
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.