Sipi Falls are amongst the most majestic sites in Uganda. Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls in Eastern Uganda in the district of Kapchorwa, northeast of Sironko and Mbale. The waterfalls lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park near the Kenyan border.

Photo by Nambozo Daniella

The #Babishai2018 team have organized their fourth poetry festival at Sipi Falls and Mbale, being keen supporters of bridging art and nature, this is the third poetry and nature Babishai series.  From Mt. Rwenzori, to Mabira Forest and now Sipi Falls. Departing on Friday 3 August, the team will head straight to Kapchorwa Eastern Uganda, to camp and seep in as much poetry from the East as possible. With a campfire and barbeque arranged for day one, poets and performers, will revel in the extraordinary talent of poets across Africa and beyond. With a special treat from Sabiny Cultural performers, there will be Babishai guests performing alongside them. What an evening of Cultural Perfection!

The Poetry at Sipi Falls event promises to be one of a kind. Unifying the power of nature with the potency of poetry; reciting, performing and sharing secrets of the world  with music. All of this at the #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival. From Sipi Falls, the festival team will travel to Mbale, to lodging at the cosy cultural spot, Starlight Hotel, owned by Mbale’s great Professor Wangusa. One the evening of Sunday 5 August, the Babishai 2018 award-giving dinner ceremony will held and academics, lovers of literature and friends of art, will be present to share their own experiences with Mbale culture; especially the kadodi season of male circumcision (August 2018), Lumasaaba traditional performances and publishing in both English and Lumasaaba. A fantastic line up of guests will also be part of the special four day #Babishai2018 festival.

Professor Remi Raj, former President of Association of Nigerian Authors, one of the #Babishai218 judges, a prolific poet from Nigeria and member of the Babishai Board of Trustees, will be part of the festival glory.


Josephyne Asiimwe (Jojo the poet). Formerly a student at Gayaza High School and winner of the very first Ug Teen Poetry Slam Competition.  She  has been performing poetry since senior three at  High School.



Gloria Kiconco is a Ugandan poet, journalist, and editor. Her poetry has been published in Brittle Paper and Lawino. She has written articles for STARTjournal of the arts, The Forager Magazine, and lettera27’s column on Doppiozero, Why Africa? She often recites her work in Kampala at Poetry-in-session. Gloria’s struggle with a cross-cultural and complex identity is central to her writing. She digests these issues through written poetry, spoken word performances, and experimental visual poetry.
You can find more of her writing on her blog, Rhymesbythereams.


Ife Piankhi is a poet, singer,[1] creative facilitator and educator.[2] She has collaborated with artists such as Keko, Nneka, Mamoud Guinea, Geoff Wilkinson, Michael Franti, Jonzi D, Wynton Marsalis, Floetry , among others. She has toured internationally for the past 30 years visiting Canada, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zanzibar, Zambia, Romania, Italy, Holland, and USA.


Nathan Suhr-Sytsma, Assistant Professor of English, Emory University and Interim Director, Institute of African Studies.


Lame Pusetso, a poet and performer from Botswana, will be with the team of Babishai.

Shiraz Murray, Proprietor of Open Mic Uganda and the annual Teen Poetry Slam in Uganda, will also be part of the poetry entourage, along with Jojo Asiimwe, the very first winner of the Ug Teen Poetry Slam.



Daisy Nagudi; poetry lover and Proprietor at Rhythym city Mbale, organising the festival from Mbale and Kapchorwa.


Professor Timothy Wangusa, Founding President of PEN Uganda, renowned poet and academic. Forefront of Literature from Mbale.

Some of the Babishai shortlisted poets namely Grace Sharra from Malawi, Marial Awendit from South Sudan and George Gumikiriza from Uganda, will also be part of the Babishai 2018 poetry celebrations.

Grace Sharra #Babishai2018 shortlist; Malawi


Marial Awendit, #Babishai2018 shortlist; South Sudan

There is a long line up of Ugandan poets too from Mbale and Kapchorwa, performing in Lumasaaba and Sabiny, practicing day and night to make the cultural exchange a grand success. There is a large student body in Mbale Secondary School, that holds regular poetry and literature evenings over the weekend. Led by the Head Teacher, Mbale Secondary School will perform poetry in various languages, be part of the master classes and discussions and learn by the wisdom of Mbale great poets like Professor Timothy Wangusa.

A few students of Mbale Secondary School, who will participate in the festival.

In 2016, Babishai began its first poetry-nature series. Staring with an enchanting 4 hour trek across Mt. Rwenzori, witnessing the chirping of a hundred birds, fluttering of dozens of butterflies and a landscape, so awesome that it equalled Paradise. This Poetry on the Mountain, first of its kind, was as breathtaking as life could be. Read about the Poetry on the Mountain experience here:


Poetry on Mount Rwenzori, #Babishai2016

This was followed by Poetry at Mabira Forest, in 2017. An unforgettable trek across Uganda’s largest natural forest, walking under canopies of greenness and retelling memorable tales.

Nambozo Daniella, heading the Kampala team, waits eagerly to host you to literary splendour.







The #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival is creating new spaces for poets all over the region. We are grateful to partners, friends and well-wishers for making all possible.

The individual fee for the #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival is $250. There are several young poets, who are eager to attend but aren’t able to. Would you love to sponsor one of them?

Contact the team on +256 751 703226 or babshainiwe@babishainiwe.com

Our #Babishai2018 shortlisted poets can also be read here:






The #Babishai2018 judges for the poetry competition are enthusiastic, avid and serve with verve.  Representing Eastern, Western and Southern Africa, the Babishai team is extremely proud to present the following honourable judges.








Below are the full biographies of each judge:-


Aderemi Raji-Oyelade (aka Remi Raji) is Professor of English and Africana Studies. A
Salzburg Fellow and visiting professor and writer to a number of institutions including
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Universities of California at Riverside and
Irvine, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Cambridge University, UK, Raji-
Oyelade’s scholarly essays have appeared in journals including Presence Africaine,
Research in African Literatures, Wasafiri and African Literature Today. His book –
Playful Blasphemies: Postproverbials as Archetypes of Modernity in Yoruba Culture
(2012) – has received acclaim as a seminal work in contemporary African studies.
Raji’s first collection of poems – A harvest of laughters (1997) – has won national and
international recognition. In 2005, he served as the Guest Writer to the City of
Stockholm, Sweden. His other volumes of poetry include Webs of remembrance (2001),
Shuttlesongs America: A poetic guided tour (2003), Lovesong for my wasteland (2005),
Gather my blood rivers of song (2009) and Sea of my mind (2013). His works have been
translated into French, German, Catalan, Swedish, Ukrainian, and Latvian.
Professor Raji-Oyelade has been External Examiner and Resource Person to a number of
institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Germany. He was member (and later
Chairman), of the Literature Committee of Nigerian Universities Joint Admissions &
Matriculation Board, between 1997 and 2001. In 2004, he was appointed by the Nigerian
National Commission for UNESCO to serve as a member of the National Jury for the
“Bridges of Strugga” International Poetry Award.
Winner of the Alexander von Humboldt 2017 Alumni Award for Innovative Networking
Initiatives, and recent recipient of the European Commission's Erasmus+ Staff Mobility
for Teaching Award, Raji-Oyelade teaches Literature of the African Diaspora, Creative
Writing and the New Media in the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.


Rehema Nanfuka is one of the most unforgettable poets in East Africa; with her vast range of themes, daring imagery and spectacular performances. Rehema is an award-winning poet, having won the 2013 Goethe Institut Africa Spoken Word competition . In 2012, she emerged finalist in the Babishai Poetry Competition as well, for her poem, Ms. Xylophone and her Life-mate. Her poems have been published and performed widely by the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, Prairie Schooner and Goethe Institut, Kenya and various other renowned spaces. Rehema is an ardent  creator and highly acclaimed actress. She studied in Kibuli Secondary School and Makerere University, Uganda’s oldest University and with a degree in International Business, she has used her education to empower herself and other women and girls through poetry and film.

Amongst her film accolades are :-

She’s credited in productions like, Macbeth, Queen of Katwe, Imani, Imperial Blue, The Pardon (Imbabazi), Death and the Maiden, Tropical Fish,  Ga-ad!,  The body of a woman as a battlefield in the Bosnian war , Betrayal in the city, Slay Queens of Africa and many more . Currently, Rehema is the creative director at Afri-Narrative and a teaching artist for the moth, an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art & craft of storytelling.

On the theatre stage, Rehema’s earlier roles were in plays staged at the National Theatre. She starred as Lady Macbeth in the play Macbeth and received critical acclaim for her performance from Daily Monitor critic Brian Magoba and The Observer critic Polly Komukama wrote, “Rehema Nanfuka put up the best performance as the evil Lady Macbeth.`




Alfred Msadala from is the current President of PEN Malawi, a publishing editor, poet and author.

Robert Blake Secondary School, Dowa, Malawi
Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi
President, Book Publishers Association of Malawi (2013-2018)
President, Malawi PEN (2008 – present).
Founding Editor, Business and Technology Today (2003).
Publishing Editor, Acin Publishers (1996- )
Editor, Tiwerenge Series, CLAIM (2005)
Chief Judge, CLAIM Golden Jubilee Short Story Writing Competition (2018)
MBC Writers Corner Radio Programme Anchor (2005-2008)
Columnist, Literary Talk, Sunday Times (2005- )

Reminiscence(poetry – 1996),
One, Steve Chimombo(papers – 1996),
Destined for Great Things(papers – 1997),
We Lost Track of Ausi(poem – 2000),
Neighbour’s Wife and Other Stories (ed)(2002),
Norwegian Literature(criticism – 2004),
Mangadzi was Here and Other Stories(co-ed with Zondiwe Mbano)(2011),

Sprouts of Dowa Hills(ed)(2011),
Ten Tidal Waves (poetry – 2012),
A Ragged Portifolio of My Portrait – Memoirs (2014)
War Drums are Beating (papers – 2015)

Mphamvu ya Konda Ine (Chichewa Short Stories – 2011)
Time Traveller of Maravi (Poetry – 2011)
The Trap (General Anthology – 2001)

The winner will be announced during the #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival, scheduled from 3-6 August in Mbale and Kapchorwa. For festival details, follow this link.


Contact +256 751 703226

Email: babishainiwe@babishainiwe.com