Hawa Nanjobe Kimbugwe, Young Ugandan Poet and Author of PHASES interviewed by Hamid Barole Abdu.
I am a Human that rises from a society that is run by men and a World that is run by girls, Proud Muslim both by birth and by choice, African Woman and a Ugandan one in particular. A Nutritionist/Dietitian by Profession. An extremely unapologetic Oral and Performance Poet by passion and sometimes an actress.
As you must have noted above, the acquired impositions my birth showered me with fall in the less privileged categories worldwide and these are issues that you’ll best understand as you read on, if you’re lucky perhaps you already know maybe even better than I do… who knows?
Firstly, I am Muslim, a member of the Islamic religion. “Islam” a word that comes from the word “Salaam”- Peace. And as we all know from History and Social media the human beings that follow this religion have been by default baptized “Terrorists/Murders” And the religion itself has been face painted as a “Violent one.” We could be in position to understand where these misconceptions come from, maybe because the ‘Hijab’ dress code is perceived to be abnormal or oppressive and the sunnah of growing beards is too barbaric up until when it starts to become a Fashion trend, Circumcision of Muslim boys at the age of 7 days condemned until Science (After so many years) finally found out it’s more a health- hygienic cause than a religious one, Being pulled aside at an Airport checkpoint because there’s an assumption that your veil is covering more than just your head and hair, to mention but a few. The generalization that comes along is more than tear yielding, let’s reflect on this, When a white kills a person, Does it make the entire White race bad? When a Catholic moves with a gun, does it make Christianity a bad faith? Then why is it that when a single Muslim is alleged to bomb a place, the entire religion is bombarded?
These ironies are some of what made/make my mind a kitchen, so I keep cooking verbal dishes in form of Poems to enlighten society that our existence is not merely about Islam and Christianity, It’s about Humanity!!
Secondly, I am Female, exquisitely and elegantly Woman! who has grown up in a deeply rooted patriarchal society. Where when a woman sleeps with more than man, she’s called a hoe/prostitute but the male that does the same is “Not.” Where daughters are raised with the cultural and any related norms that prepare them to be Husband pleasers while sons are grown to be boys in Men! And not Wife pleasers. Where the media, as seen in music videos and in movies has persistently and deliberately had females, dancing naked or half-dressed while the males are fully dressed and yet we still wonder why Females are more emotionally broken and psychologically tortured, why Females are more fascinated about Marriage than Men are and Divorces are growing in number each day that goes by, Why girls are raped, teenagely impregnated, molested and sexually harassed day in and day out without realizing the extent the media sexual objectifies us/our gender.
These ironies that we fail to internalize/digest/question and know how to dismantle the systemic patriarchy in this Male privileged world instead of mere wondering why, is the reason my mind is still a kitchen. And I understand and appreciate the Organizations that have come up to try and dismantle these gender inequalities but it’s important for us to know that Empowering Women is not enough, Men too have to be sensitized, empowered and their level of consciousness should be enabled to peak because even if you Emancipate the women at a 100%, If the Male still have the mindsets of blindly or ignorantly following the male privileges that are scripted in cultural and religious scripts without present mindedly seeing the adverse effects they have on a future generation in addition to the consequences we are already facing now then less than more is being done. Oppressing the other at the expense of being privileged is something far not easy to understand unless one falls under the less privileged at a certain point in time like maybe in the case of racism or tribalism where it’s not gender based. Despite that we ought to know that;
Male and Female existence is supposed to be complimentary as opposed to being competitive even as the inequalities are being addressed.
During the two decades of my existence, as I observed some and experienced some of the above unfair/unjust treatments/inequalities I chose and decided to remain a Poet as long as I live. I know I’m Black but we need more than just Black Consciousness, We need to be Conscious about Humanity, our Actions, our words and the impact these have on our immediate surrounding and the further surrounding and much as I love Health and tackle issues of Diet and lifestyle, I use my Poetry as a remedy. The World Health Organization defines health as “A state of well-being socially, physiologically, psychologically, emotionally, mentally and NOT merely absence of disease.” And as we all know that people’s experiences in life become part of them whether negative or positive but we all know the effects of the former! We wouldn’t want a cycle of such and in order for us to build a Nation, A continent, A World that is economically sound, politically safe and wealthy in health we have to start with the individuals (Me and You) that build these systems so that not only is Violent extremism countered but also the causes that lead to it and better yet Male and Female can harmoniously live with each other without prejudging one party as a “rapist or the like”
As this journey goes on, so far…I applaud my Family THE KIMBUGWES, that has supported me and supports me through out.
Kitara Nation and Kitara Poets, Kagayi Peter you deserve a Poetry Grammy Award – I should invent that one, I guess…Hahaha…. Ebrahim Balunywa! For a lot more… The Lantern Meet of Poets Foundation, where my Poetry journey had its baby steps, MEMPROW, Who would I have been? The list could go on and on…..
Open your Mind| Love | Give | be Conscious!!| Liberate yourself!| Play Victor Not Victim!
I aspired to inspire before I expire and as you can see I haven’t expired yet…. For You and Me, With You and Me by Me and You!
Hamid Barole Abdu (born October 10, 1953 in Asmara) is an Eritrean writer. After studying literature in Eritrea, he moved to Modena, Italy, in 1974, where he has worked as an intercultural expert and has published several articles about migration. He is currently living in Uganda where he is active promoting cultural initiatives. His books include Eritrea: una cultura da salvare. Ufficio Stampa del Comune di Reggio Emilia, 1986;Akhria – io sradicato poeta per fame. Reggio Emilia, Libreria del Teatro, 1996,Sogni ed incubi di un clandestino. Udine, AIET, 2001,Seppellite la mia pelle in Africa. Modena, Artestampa, Il volo di Mohammed. Faenza (RA), Artestampa, 2009,Rinnoversi in segni … erranti. Faenza (RA), GraficLine, 2013,Poems across the pearl of Africa. Faenza (RA), GraficLine, 2015.