The Babishai Niwe Foundation is set to celebrate its tenth anniversary on World Poetry Day 2019 which is March 21, 2019.
Ten years ago, Ugandan poet Beverley Nambozo came up with an idea that would revolutionise poetry in her country. She set up an organisation and an award scheme with her name to celebrate the women poets from her country who until then had been sidelined in the genre. The first winner of the Beverley Nambozo Award would be Lillian Aujo. For five years the award would celebrate Ugandan women poets with Sophie Alal Brenda (2010), Sanyu Kisaka (2011), Susan Piwang (2012), and Rashida Namulondo, (2013) following in Aujo’s footsteps. In 2014, poems from these winners and others would be incorporated in the anthology A Thousand Voices Rising: An anthology of contemporary African poetry.
In 2014, the organisation would take a new path. Ugandan women poets aren’t the only people who have been missing from the larger poetry body so it was opened to poets from all genders from all over the continent. At this time, the award name would also go through a rebrand adopting the name Babishai Niwe. It would lead to wins in the following years by Marial Awendit (2018), Orimoloye Moyosore and Sanya Noel (Joint-winners, 2016), Adeeko Ibukun (2015), and Tom Jalio (2014).
The organisation has also been involved in other activities like the Babishai Poetry Festival which showcased the best of poetry on the continent and further afield and the Babishai Haiku competition.
The Uganda based organisation kicks off its tenth-anniversary celebrations away from the hustle and bustle in Kampala in Kabale in a four-day event. As they head out on their retreat we congratulate the team led by Beverley Nambozo for keeping the fight for African poetry. May you celebrate many more anniversaries.