I am Andrew Herbert Omuna, a teacher by profession. My passion about arts has been evolving with changing times or state of mind at the time. I love film, writing, art and travelling. One of my poems; Ode to the yellow party, was published in the Best New African Poets 2016 anthology. I write most of the time when I feel there is some idea that sparks my desire to put something down on paper. And although these don’t come that often, when one comes, even the other ideas that have been kept in the back do come up during this creative moment. I also write as a way of speaking my mind on paper, given that most of the time is spent on observing what is around me. These moments help me create some path for hopefully publishing a collection one day.

My inclination to submit to the #Babishai2020 haiku award wasn’t abrupt. I had one time applied with a full poem, although it didn’t make it anywhere that time. When this opportunity availed itself again, I thought it better to try out with the haiku. I had never written any haiku before, but with the basics of a 5-7-5 format, I decided to take on the challenge. And because I first saw the call for submission on the night of 31st Dec 2019 – 1st Jan 2020, I knew I had to try something new and make this a year for writing more often, and if possible, compete.

After seeing the call for submission for the haiku, it was then about doing some research into what made a piece be called a haiku. Although there are regular and irregular forms of haikus, I stuck to the regular form of 5-7-5. On the days I saw the call (night of New Year 2019-2020) and when I wrote the haikus (night of 1st March 2020), it was about what I loved most and what I was going through at the moment. I was doing the night shift on those days and yet I also loved my sleep. This was the first haiku I actually wrote that night. It had to be something about sleep and the many pieces of advice I had heard about too much sleep. With the idea sorted, the rest was about making choice of words fit within the 5-7-5 format.

the morning rain falls

endlessly hugging thy sleep

frozen ideas die

by Andrew Omuna

The African haiku, as is with many other forms and genres of writing, might get swallowed up by the generalization of academic theories often formed for other kinds of “reading.” If the future for the African haiku is to blossom, I would like to see content revolving around our community. Relatability is very important. Although the origin might not be African, the uniqueness of our experiences, adaptability to the form, having more calls for haikus, could help create a role within the vast free form of poetry generally known by the greater African population.

I would think of creating an awareness drive with other poets, performers and writers, to challenge themselves by creating haikus as part of their works. Since majority of creative writers are more familiar with free verse poetry, getting into this space will create an extra experience of brief poetic forms. Publication of these haikus, whether in paper print or online would help push this experience to a global milestone. Lastly, since the haikus are brief, the chances of them accompanying other forms of media is great. Art pieces, outdoor displays, creative art classes can all lend a hand in pushing this experience to more people in Uganda and around the world.



The #Babishai2018 Poetry Festival is for the adventurous, those unsure of their artistry and for poets who dare to dream. We’re taking you to Kapchorwa and Mbale in Eastern Uganda for a poetry excursion like never before, right at Sipi Falls!


Friday 3 August 2018

Day One, Departure from Kampala to Kapchorwa.

We will depart from Kampala to Kapchorwa with a stop-over in Mbale to pick a few participants. There will be snacks on the bus. On arrival in Kapchorwa, the well-established and reputable Rhythm City Mbale, will be ready to welcome the team with a large sumptuous meal, cool drinks and ready tents. There are 2-sleeper, 4-sleeper, 6-sleeper and 8-sleeper.



Warm clothes and shoes

Beddings i.e. sleeping bags, blankets, duvet

Toiletries i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, sponge, soap, lotion

Light clothes for the afternoon heat

Day Two Saturday 4 August 2018

Poetry at Sipi Trek

We will wake up and have a large sumptuous breakfast by 9:00am. We will then leave at 10:00am for the Poetry at Sipi trek. This trek, Poetry at Sipi, is a nature walk across Mt. Elgon, viewing two waterfalls and stopping for spontaneous poetry with the backdrop of the magnificent Sipi Falls. There will also be photo shoots at prime spots and videography. The efficient and experienced guide will explain the history and herstory of the falls, of Mt. Elgon and of Arabica coffee, which grows on the mountain.

Rhythm City Mbale will provide water and light snacks. A lavish meal awaits all of us at a large ground after the second waterfall. Here, there will be more performance poetry and storytelling in Lumasaaba, by the Bamasaaba of the area. On this day, there will be an option of abseiling, at 60 USD per person, for those interested.

In the evening, on return to the camping ground, will be a large bonfire and barbeque with more poetry, storytelling and kadodi celebrations.


Day Three:  Sunday 5 August 2018

Kapchorwa to Mbale: Babishai Poetry Festival Award Giving

We will depart from Kapchorwa to Mbale and stay at Starlight Hotel, where an advance team will have prepared our accommodation. After a hearty lunch, we will rest until the Babishai poetry festival award-giving ceremony in the evening.

There will be poetry performances from the Kampala team, speeches from shortlisted poets of the #Babishai2018 poetry award and the eventual award-giving dinner and ceremony in the conference hall of Starlight Hotel.


Day Four: Monday 6 August 2018

School Visits and Return to Kampala

After an extravagant breakfast, courtesy of Starlight Hotel, We will visit a major secondary school and university in Mbale. This visit will involve poetry workshops, readings, discussions, media interviews and photo shoots.

From the Mbale school visit, we will then return to Kampala, satiated and glowing.

The Fee and Payment Schedules:

Early registration per individual by June 30 2018                                                  250 USD

A non-refundable commitment fee by April 30 2018                                          100 USD

Late registration fee                                                                                                         350 USD


Deadline for all payments is July 20 2018


Fees include return transport from Kampala, accommodation of 4 nights, all meals, tour fees, a T-shirt and hat, poetry experience and entertainment from Bamasaaba performers.


All payment MUST be made to the official account of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, whose details will be provided.


Contact information:

Nambozo      +256 751 703226

Nagudi           +256 784 272149