In early September, The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation was approached by Alliance Francaise de Kampala, and that was the start of a powerful arts collaboration titled, My Story. Akatuuti is a regular production hosted by Alliance and The French Embassy in Kampala. The first was managed by the celebrated musician, Susan Kerunen. Babishai had less than a month to produce something spectacular. The proposed theme: My Story. Each participant sharing part of their story, either of how they stumbled into their art, how they had a breakthrough, something hilarious like ending up performing for a wrong audience by mistake, or even getting lost at an international airport. The stories we bear are endless and eternal.
Inviting artists from various discplines, practises began in the newly acquired basement space at Alliance, a space for practice, discovering talent, and discovering talent.
Below is Blessing Nyamwiza, a spoken word poet.
With only four rehearsals altogether, each person internalised the script and depicted their stories in the most profound, unexpected, and diver ways.
Here below is a cartoon drawing by the indomitable Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo.
Starting with a piece from the classical piano, from Louise Nakayenga, the production started piecing together. The scene was a market, and each participant converged in the market, and shared an aspect of their lives.
Louise at the piano.
Artists get hungry, right? Asha Batenga of Cakely Uganda, with over a hundred thousand followers on Facebook, took part in this festivity, and brought along cake at every rehearsal.
Odong Allan, who at 25 years, runs a charity and poetry magazine is quite the fascination when it comes to Langi poetry. As he performed, Walter Asiku wooed the crowd with his adungu playing. Thee talent was limitless.
Walter Asiku with the adungu, above. Odong Allan, left, with Beverley
Andrew Herbert Omuna, Uganda’s haiku ambassador, after emerging overall winner in the #Babishai2020 haiku competition, was highly impressive and adroit at the haiku, creating them spontaneously on stage.
Andrew Omuna, left The group, below right
Rashida Namulondo, a maestro at theatre, also the BN Poetry Award winner of 2013, is known for her exceptional gift and was a crucial part of the entire production.
If you have never heard of Zoey the Storyteller, she brings words to life. She understands what it means to own and possess the stage. Below left is Rashida, and right is Zoey.
The Babishai Team is grateful for the time spent with these phenomenal talent and is sure that there will be many more, at a global level.