These young poets were awarded the first three prizes of “On The Wings of Love”, a poetry competition in Ugandan schools, which took place in 2016. Full description of project by organizers at bottom of post.
GENDER AND FREEDOM by Ronnie Mubiru & Collin Wambete
A thought back to the days of yore
In the summers of my youth
Often left at home to do chores
Considering its my worth
In hope for better fate
I would let my mind project
To realms beyond possibility.
Under the haven of silhouetted leaves
Against the sunlight, I would seek refuge.
Through random yet carefully chosen rhythm
Questioning why things are the way they are
I would chant;
Would the sun please kiss my right cheek
Oh what vile perdition
The less they see the more you’d be
Enslaved to tradition.
Would the sun please kiss my left cheek
My father’s trust is bound
To a young farm boy’s brawn and wit
Which to me can’t be sound
Would the sun please kiss both my cheeks
Unveil the man in me
For weak and useless I was born
To face society’s scorn.
A buzz in my ear, I would hear
And enjoy its gentle and soothing
Transfiguration into son
Whispering to me, the bee would sing;
You love your father as much as you’re bound
A man of strength you wish to be.
But a girl like you is weak to the crowd
And that is the choice of fate.
Do not renege on your innate promise
You are young with so little time
Even I the worker accept
The insalubrious yet fair life.
Do as you’re told, make everyone happy
Your father will love you the more.
It will be so sweet; sweeter than honey
And nature to which you were born.
The buzz became more profound day by day
Until it abruptly vanished
In a whirlwind of realisation
I saw it was my inner most fire of
Doubt and disbelief in the world
So rigid, so ugly in the way
It beguiles me as I reach for my dreams
It denies me the right to be happy
In a new light and spirit
A new song echoed from my heart
A song that defies all odds
A song that rejuvenates my soul
A song where worker turn to queens
I sang with all the glee
That this philosophy could offer me;
Only one cheek then, the sun must kiss it.
For I do love my father much
I would manifest myself rightly
For his good approval as much!
But what about my own hopes, fears and dreams
Why does this fate disgrace me so?
I am quite intelligent but deemed lean
What did I do to deserve this scorn?
No, I shall not conform to this world’s norms
I do not need to be a man
For I am enough the way I am
The sun will forever kiss both my cheeks!
Like a Phoenix from the ashes of
My old wrong state of mind
A new song had risen.
A song sang with gaiety of heart,
Body and soul!
A song of freedom from bias and firmness of mind
A song I have carried with me
From times long forgotten!
A song the world should join in
To sing along.
NATURE – Sweet And Sour by Ethel Alexandria Luyiga
The roar that brings me fear
And the hiss that brings me peace
It is impossible to fathom
The effect on me that nature forms
The wolf howls to drive me insane
But look at the magnificence of its mane
The mountains stand with such beauty and majesty
That all my forefather have been looking,
But when they start to crumple, one might
Think that with me they would be humbled
But no dear, I am left addled
For with nature you can never be sure
It embraces every race and knows none.
It has no memory, and no love.
When I close my eyes I could run insane with fear
But when I open them, its splendour takes away my every care
It is magical, it is mystical, it is musical
But don’t dare dance dear, you might awaken the beast.
I CAN MAKE A MASTER SHIP by Nalubwama Brenda Ann
What purpose is me?
Each time I feel like giving up
Reading makes my head go E-wire
Each day boiling with its own stress
Was I meant for this life?
It’s more like I am pulling an endless rope
One covering tonnes overwhelming me
It’s more like taking on a rapture
One with no messiah
I am beyond fade up
With each day, it’s another tear
I am living a life with a lot of fear
But how great is Sudhir, Wavamunno
I am going to pick up my broken pieces
Closing my ears vibrantly
To all voices saying I am a failure
I am going to succeed beyond all imagination
I am unstoppable, untouchable I am great
Each time I look to the sky
It paints pictures of my vision
I am going to built a master ship
The waves will feel the squeaking of its make
For I, now have the zeal to read and excel
I am rendering myself blind to the visible
Working for what seems invisible
For within the flick of time
I will save this generation.
Statement by Hamid Barole Abdu, one of the designers of “On The Wings Of Love”, the poetry challenge organized in Ugandan schools in 2016.
“In a world of uncertainty, interdependence always beats hands down over independence.
The work of the “On the wings of Love” is a synergistic product of various minds. It began in mid 2016 as I was reviewing the success of literature among the youth in Uganda. I proposed a poetry writing competition project to Namatovu Tinah, a team member of the 3D Pursuit company and I pledged to award the best 5 among the various participants.
I extend my appreciation to all the students that participated in this writing competition project and the 3D Pursuit company and other poets who have tested this material and have given feedback and encouragement.
For the development of this project and production of the book itself I feel a deep sense of gratitude;
To the 3D Pursuit company, an educational and entertainment (edutainment) project in schools with an interesting mix of educational messages on career guidance, motivation and mentorship, spiced up with 3D schools to empower youth with life changing information.
Through writing challenges in short stories and Poetry, 3D Pursuit hosted its first high school Poetry challenge awards on the 25th February, 2017 where over 200 students, teachers and administrators of the nine participating schools were invited to witness the awarding ceremony.”
Featured image: Photo by Teri Allen Piccolo.