Babishai Niwe Festival 2017

The Babishai Poetry Festival 2017, the third for the organisers, is set for Uganda in August 4-6.

The Babishai Poetry Festival was first hosted in Kampala in 2015. That festival was the natural growth of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize which was born as the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Prize in 2008 as a prize for Ugandan women. Winners of the prize from its humble beginnings included Lillian Aujo (2009), Sophie Alal Brenda (2010),  Sanyu Kisaka (2011), Susan Piwang (2012) and Rashida Namulondo (2013).

In 2014, the prize took on a new identity as well as a new continental focus. Poets of both sexes from all over the rock we inhabit were invited to enter for the prize and that year Kenyan Tom Jalio went home with the honours. In 2015 the prize would be won by Nigerian Adeeko Ibukun during the same year that the inaugural festival was hosted. Last year, the festival was hosted again in Kampala and the prize went jointly to Nigerian Orimoloye Moyosore and Kenyan Sanya Noel Lima.

It is 2017 and our friends the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation are ready to go all over again with both festival and poetry prize. There will be a three-day poetry buffet from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th August in Uganda. Poets, poetry publishers, poetry performers, poetry teachers and poetry admirers, will converge in various locations across Uganda to conduct workshops and transform young minds.

It starts on August 4 with the #Babishaipoetrynatureseries as adventurous artists across the region trek across Mabira Forest. Poets from all over the region are encouraged to participate and cultivate the practice of orature in organic spaces.

On Saturday August 5, Tontoma Poetry Jazz will orchestrate traditional poetry performances and at the same venue,32° East/Ugandan Arts Trust, there will be a relaunch of the African Poetry Book Fund Library. Published poets are invited to read from their work and donate their books towards the enrichment of reading poetry. Maisha Moto will host spoken word performers and storytellers across the older generation to a much younger one later on that day from 2:00pm.

There will be a full children’s day at the Uganda Museum on the final day, Sunday 6 August, master-classes to groom older poets and finally to close the festival, an award-giving dinner within the city at Humura Resort. Dinner cards are on sale at UGX40,000/-.

So if you’re a published poet, this is an opportunity to meet your come kind as well as those who love your craft. It is also a great space for publishers and distributors of poetry to exhibit.

For more information about how to get in on the poetry action please go to the official Babishai website.