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.

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