Category Archives: Uganda

Mulumba Ivan Matthias

Mulumba Ivan Matthias is a Ugandan author living in Kampala, Uganda. He is a valuation surveyor by profession. He is the author of a collection of poems, Poetry In Motion, published in 2012. His poetry and short fiction have been published in The Kalahari Review, Readers’ Café Africa, Africa Book Club, Munyori Literary Journal and Lawino Magazine. You can see more of his work on his blog

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva is the founder of Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award and Babishai Niwe Literary Foundation which means Creating with You, in a mixture languages. It Babishai Niwe has been coordinating annual poetry awards for Ugandan women since 2008 targeting hundreds of women country-wide over the past 5 years, being the only award o its kind in the country. In 2014, the award will extend to the entire continent, targeting both men and women. In 2013, the foundation will publish an anthology of poetry from poets of Africa. Beverley Nambozo is also the author of Unjumping, a chapbook collection of poetry which was published by erbacce-press in 2010 after she emerged a joint first runner-up in their annual poetry competition. She has a Masters Degree from Lancaster University and devotes a lot of time to being a stay-at-home mum. Beverley currently lives in Kampala and looks forward to travelling far corners of the world with her husband and children.

Moses Serubiri

Born in 1989, Moses Serubiri took to writing poems while in high school, for the AIDS Club. His poems and prose were first published in the Kibuli Secondary School Magazine in 2005. More recently his poem I Remember was selected for the Hay Poetry Festival’s Shortlist. He is a poet, photographer and pianist currently living in Kampala, Uganda.

Jessica Horn

Poet, activist, interpreter of the ordinary; heiress of a nomadic lineage extending into the Ruwenzori Mountains of Uganda and the shadows of New York’s Yankee Stadium. Jessica Horn won the IRN Fanny Ann Eddy Poetry Prize in 2009 for her poem They have killed Sizakele and the Sojourner Poetry Prize judged by June Jordan in 2001 for her poem Dis U.N: For Rwanda. Her prose-poem Dreamings was profiled in the International Museum of Women’s online exhibition Imagining Ourselves. She is also the author of a collection Speaking in Toungues (Mouthmark, 2006). Jessica works in Africa and internationally on issues of women’s rights, health, violence and peace building.

Jane Okot P’ Bitek Langoya

Jane Okot P’ Bitek Langoya is a Ugandan poet and is one of the children of legendary poet Prof. Okot P’ Bitek (RIP). She is a lawyer by training and holds a MBA (entrepreneurship and business venturing). Her love for poetry started way back during her secondary school days where she would compose poetry and plays for the schools talent shows.

Her poetry was nurtured particularly by her beloved Head Mistress Sr. Cormack Cephas, who went as far as declaring that if she did not want to study literature in ‘’A’ levels then she should go to another school. At that time she was interested in sciences with a view to becoming a doctor. However this was one of the best schools in Uganda so the Head Mistress’s wish became her command.

Her greatest inspiration and influence was her father from whom she adopted the ‘song’ style of poetry. She is a published poet, Song of Farewell, and currently has an unpublished manuscript. Her poetry covers political and social issues, especially those that touch human beings and the rhythm of nature.

Austin Bukenya

Austin Bukenya is best-known as a pioneering scholar in the discipline of oral literature, to which he and his teacher, Pio Zirimu, gave the now popular label, orature.

Born in Masaka, Southern Uganda, in 1944, he went to high schools around Kampala and Entebbe and was a first-class graduate of the University of East Africa (Dar es Salaam) in 1968. He also studied at universities in Madagascar and England, and took his higher degrees at Makerere and Kenyatta Universities.

He has taught languages, literature and drama at Makerere University in Uganda and universities in the UK, Tanzania and Kenya since the late 1960s. He has also held residences at universities in Rwanda and Germany. Bukenya is also a literary critic, novelist, poet and dramatist. An accomplished stage and screen actor, he was for several years Director of the Creative and Performing Arts Centre at Kenyatta University, Nairobi.

Ife Piankhi

Ife Piankhi is a versatile artist whose creativity knows no bounds. An accomplished poet, singer and dancer Ife has collaborated with artists such as Keko, Nneka, Mamoud Guinea, Geoff Wilkinson, Michael Franti, Jonzi D, Wynton Marsalis, Floetry to name but a few.

Ife has toured internationally for the past 22 years visiting Canada, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zanzibar, Zambia, Romania, Italy, Holland, and USA.

Always an inspirational artist whilst living in London she was a regular on Colourful Radio founded by Henry Bonsu. She has been featured in the documentaries 500 years later by Owen Shahadah and Nubian Spirit by Louis Buckley which highlight her knowledge of Nile Valley Civilisations.

Her music and poetry is influenced by African Stories of migration, relocation and the search for identity.

A formidable educator and creative facilitator, Ife fuses her knowledge of Ancient Africa, esoteric teaching and environmentalism with her music/poetry which is a rich blend of jazz, reggae, and soul. Her stage persona is confident, humorous and participatory with the audience always learning something new. This ability to naturally interact with the audience saw her not only collaborate, but MC the concert of International Artist Nneka who made her first visit to Uganda in 2012.

Ife Piankhi is also a social entrepreneur. Seeing the need for different performance platforms for emerging Ugandan artists Ife created Ife’s Fusion Party (Tilapia, Bunga) and Triple C (Kawa Lounge, Nakumatt). She is also resident poet and MC for Poetry in Session the longest running poetry event in Kampala to date.

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa is a Ugandan South African poet, storyteller, coach and facilitator. She is the youngest daughter of Ugandan poet and civil servant, the late Henry Barlow. Both her parents loved literature – her father the writer, her mother the teacher, researcher and narrator. While she most commonly called Philippa, she always signs Namutebi at the end of her poems. “Namutebi is the creative side of me. She is the one who writes.”

She sees her poems more as stories – portraits of moments in her life. Her poems draw images of growing up in Uganda in the 60s and 70s and in the later years as an immigrant in various parts of Africa – touching on both the personal and political as it impacted her. Having lived in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa, she often wrestles with the question of identity and belonging. She also explores her triumphs and struggles as a woman.

Namutebi also has a passion for folktales and myths – the wisdom of centuries, the tried and tested imagery, the archetypal characters that give new perspective to the perennial questions that we struggle with. She says, “When a story gets my heart beating faster, or an image in a story stirs something inside me, I know that that story has come to teach me at this moment in my life! I believe this is true for everyone.”

Namutebi lives in Cape Town with her husband, Victor, and 3 children – Faye, Senteza and Chris.

Timothy Wangusa

Timothy Wangusa (born 1942) is a Ugandan poet and novelist.

Wangusa is an ethnic Mumasaaba, born in Bugisu, in eastern Uganda. He studied English at Makerere University where he later served on faculty, and the University of Leeds (UK). He wrote his MA and PhD on British and African poetry, respectively.

Wangusa started working at Makerere University in 1969. He was appointed as Professor in 1981 (the first from his Bugisu. In his acceptance speech ‘A Wordless World’ he looked at how words were starting to lose meaning and there was a continuous shift from words and speech. Later Wangusa served as Head of Department of Literature and Dean of Faculty of Arts. He was also Minister of Education in the Ugandan Government (1985–86) and Member of Parliament (1989–96). Presently, he serves as Senior Presidential Advisor In Museveni’s government. Wangusa played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Languages and Literature at Uganda Christian University, an Anglican University in Mukono.

His collection of poems Salutations: Poems 1965-1975 (1977), reissued with additional poems as A Pattern of Dust: Selected Poems 1965-1990 (1994), reflects his rural origins. The novel Upon This Mountain (1989) tells the story of Mwambu, who is determined to touch heaven, and describes his journey towards adulthood. The novel combines African folklore and proverbs with Christian symbolism. Its main theme is that of growing up in the Ugandan society and what challenges come with growing up in the traditional setting.

Wangusa was chairman of Uganda Writers Association and founder president of International PEN  Uganda Centre.