2022 Brought So Much Delight, and 2023 will be grander

This year brought with it ripples of delight, cascading creativity with poetry in various forms and opportunities across borders, from publishing three books, the first year we have ever published three books in a space of six months. ‘Dress Me In Disobedience,’ ‘Gorillas of Bwindi Avenue,’ and ‘The night Does Not Drown Us.’ These words of  courage, creativity, well-woven into these fine pages, did take years and months to develop, and it was our pleasure to have them celebrated in this fine year, 2022. We do certainly look forward to 2023.

With our last festival being celebrated online, we continued with online engagements while holding meetings, sessions and opening up new spaces to celebrate poetry with like-minded individuals, curious minds and those eager to spur on with the important work of immersing the society in poetry.

In August, a most unexpected opportunity arose, with Oxfam , where Babishai delivered a creative presentation with young feminists on the topic of climate change. A most crucial time for individuals, for our planet, for women and men alike, when we realize how our individual acts affect the air we breathe, affect our ability to work effectively and our future. The workshop brought together activists and creators, policy makers and educators from all over Africa, rising in unison to address the glaring issue of climate change.

Courtesy photos

2023 will be an even grander year. We are exploring and planning on more intimate spaces of poetry, launching programmes right at your doorsteps, in the comfort of your homes and offices, combining poetry, pleasure and passion.

This to to thank each of you for being a sojourner with us, this year and to thank you for choosing Babishai, even into 2023.

Babishai Theme 2023: Intimacy With Poetry


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.