5 JUNE 2017

The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation is holding the third Babishai Poetry Festival in Uganda. It’s 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.
In their signature style, the #Babishaipoetrynatureseries launches phase two. The team, with adventurous artists across the region, will trek across Mabira Forest on Friday 4th August. After the success of the 2016 Poetry on Rwenzori Mountain excursion, this year there will be another trek across the green enchantment of Mabira forest.
Poets from all over the region are encouraged to participate and cultivate the practice of orature in organic spaces.

On Saturday 5 August, 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 40,000/-.
If you’re a published poet, distributor of poetry, or bookseller of poetry, come and exhibit and market your work. Uganda needs you.
For more information on the festival, dinner cards or book exhibition, please contact

The Festival Coordinator
George Kiwanuka
Tel:+256 703147862
Twitter: @BNPoetryAward

Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian-#Babishaiku2017 Discussion

The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation is at the centre of learning and unlearning about the African Haiku. Cofounder of the Africa Haiku Network, Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian, also judge of the #Babishai2017 Haiku prize, is editor of the Mamba Journal.

Courtesy photo

Q: Mr. Kalusian, describe the African haiku, using an African haiku.

1) Well I would say African haiku is the sort of haiku that is inspired by Africa’s rich sights and sounds, cum cultures and beliefs.

It is also the type of haiku that uses African season words or kigo as it is called in Japanese. Some of these African season words include ‘harmattan moon’, ‘harmattan season’, ‘harmattan wind’, ‘mango harvest’, etc. In the meantime there is a saijiki, created a Kenyan lady, which contains a list of African season words. Now to show what an African haiku looks like: here’s one i composed which has been published by Red Moon Press in her 2016 anthology.


the village priest

hears his name

(c) Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian

Q: After three editions of the Mamba journal, share with us the journey of publishing haikus.

2) The journey of publishing haiku is a very exciting one. Couple of years back, the first time my haiku was published, i recall that night i couldn’t sleep for the joy. Even now, many years later i still feel excited as more of my haikus are published.

Q:  How do your readers respond to the Mamba journal?

 3) To say the least, our readers are very excited about African haiku and the Mamba journal. This is shown in the appraisal letters we receive just after an issue is published.

Q: Are haikus possible in African languages?

 4) Of course they are possible in African languages. My friend, Mr.

Baah has published haikus in Twi and is planing another translation in Igbo. So I can doubtless say haikus are possible in African languages; in fact their translation should be encouraged.

Q:  Do you feel it’s necessary to popularize the African Haiku (Afriku)?

5) Of course it is necessary to popularize African haiku, because haiku itself is a relatively new genre in the shores of Africa. Matter of fact, Africa Haiku Network is currently running programs geared towards popularizing haiku in Africa.

Q: What was your most recent wow moment in your writing?

6) My recent wow moment was the publication of the haiku which i shared in the prestigious Red Moon anthology. I just wasn’t expecting it. It came as a complete surprise.

Q: What’s the last book you read?

7) I love books and I read voraciously. As to what I’m reading right now? I’m currently reading a novel by Russian literary giant Tolstoy.

Q: Who is the first person you go to when you find yourself in a moment of literary enthusiasm, which you need to share?

8) Well naturally there’s no person in particular I share such moments with. When they come, I simply share it with writing friends on Facebook and anyone around.

Q: If the Afriku were a drink, what would it be?

9) Yummy! Yummy! It would taste like coffee. Just to say i like coffee a lot because it keeps me awake as i write through out the night.

Thank you.