Congratulations, Andrew Herbert Omuna

What an event! What an incredibly poignant moment, revelling in the two hours of poetry performances, discussions on the haiku, transition of verse, and what it means for us, as Africans.

Performances by Rashida Namulondo, the BN Poetry Award 2013 winner, Kunta Moloise, an emcee, spoken word poet, and performer from Botswana.

Dr. Sara Kaweesa (PhD) with hard-hitting truths about our environment and how we as artists need to intentionally look after it.

Ann Waruguru Kiai, an activist, woman leader, shortlisted for the 2015 Babishai Poetry Award, and change maker from Nyeri, and Lekpele Nyamalon from Liberia, a Mandela Washington Fellow, poet, and writer. Listening to their own advocacy, hearing how they have paved ways for others through their writing and persistence.

Richard Ali, board member of Babishai, writer and lawyer, and Isaac Tibasiima, Doctoral Fellow, writer, poet and scholar, all in one room, speaking to the continent and interacting with the globe. It was all marvellous.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, Founder and Director of Babishai Poetry Foundation, moderated the two-hour riveting session, and on inviting Chief Judge Kariuki wa Nyamu, a writer, poet and correspondent of the Daily Nation, the spell-binding two hours closed with readings and discussions from the shortlisted poets;-namely Praise Osawaru from Nigeria, Charlotte Akello from Uganda and Andrew Herbert Omuna from Uganda, the other two  were not able to attend.

And then, the winner…Andrew Herbert Omuna, from Uganda. Not only was it the first time for a Ugandan to win the Babishai Africa-wide award, but he had persisted about two to three times, previously. Finally, it paid off.

In second place was Adipo Sidang, from Kenya.

Congratulations to all on the shortlist, and to lots more glorious days in 2021.

Thanks to each of you for your contribution towards this space. Thank you.

On Saturday January 16, from 2pm, EAT, we shall host Waruguru wa Kiai, again on Women, Politics, and Poetry. The village girl has a lot more to say.

Osho Tunde; Poet, Accountant and Nightingale, from Nigeria

Osho Tunde is a Poet and Accountant, and Nigerian Nightingale.

First, I will like to express my joy and gratitude for making the prestigious #Babishai2020 haiku long list.
I am a fresh graduate of Accounting and poet resident in Lagos state, Nigeria. I am a Nigerian Nightingale whose works have appeared in a number of poetry anthologies. Aside from books, I love coffee and nature.
About why I write; I write to break the silence of my body, to convey its discontents, joy and other activities. And poetry is my tool.

I was inclined to submit for the Babishai2020 haiku award mainly because I was searching for growth. I have always seen Babishai Niwe foundation as one of the indispensable literary platforms in Africa to raise my voice in such a very noisy world.
Also, the amazing works of Marial Awendit, Kariuki wa Nyamu and other past winners on this platform woke my inclination. Here I am, jumping for the joy of growing and belonging.

The process of writing this haiku was quite taxing and exciting at the same time. It was my first time. Cramming a story in three lines could take a degree of diligence and patience. I allowed the poem to speak to me in many ways– for instance, how broken places could still be home.

I wanted to bear witness for nature existing under my feet without any alteration or misrepresentation of reality. I was deliberate. I took risks of words and form to cut a haiku that could simply tend imagination to accessible experience.

in the wall

deep opening abandoned

geckoes’ room

The future of African haiku in my opinion is glorious. You will be thrilled by the miracles, the various revelations these young poets are making regarding our shared experience as Africans and as humans. Beautiful voices like Ali Znaidi, Kariuki wa Nyamu, Andrew Herbert, Praise Osawaru, Justice Joseph, Ahmad Holderness, Rose Wangari, to mention a few are on the rise with what the foundation is doing. Thumbs up!

Thank you

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