Monday, July 8, 2013

Babishai Niwe Poetry Award 2013 in words and pictures

Celebration of words is so meaningful when many literary minds are together. That was the atmosphere during the 2013 BN Poetry Award ceremony. It took place on 28th June at the exquisite Biriyani House in Kampala. The Indian cuisine did far from disappoint. This year, being the 5th and final poetry award for Uganda was a launch into the next continental phase. Yes, the BN team is taking the poetry award around the continent and this time including men. That was the new that greeted the close to150 guests that evening. Amidst memorable, entertaining and reflective performances from Rehema Nanfuka, Harriet Anena, Gilly Willy and Slim MC, Ntakky Bright, Kushemererwa, Iga Zinunula who also the MC, Ife Piankhi, Rashida Namulondo and violinist Serubiri, U.G.L.Y MC, Susan Piwang (2012 winner) and Justice Ogoola, former Principal Judge, the event was a great 5th anniversary and award giving for the winners of 2013. Being a fundraiser, Honourable Flavia Kabahenda who was chief guest steered the auction well and bought a framed poem, Unjumping, by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva at 380,000/-. This set the auction going and Bev’s mum, Betty Mugoya, won an evening out with Ife Piankhi, the poet who sings. Ambassador Otunnu Olara, former Presidential candidate of the UPC party and literary lover, gave the audience a treat with his appearance. This year, unlike any other, was coupled with the compilation of poems for an anthology which will contain poems of all the winners of the past 5 years and poets from the rest of the continent. It was the most colourful, lively and fun-packed award ceremony by far and no one was more surprised than the winner herself, Rashida Namulondo, upon hearing her name. Her poem, Time, encapsulated the theme of Innovation so well with its unexpectedness, imagery and enchantment. Rashida won 500 US Dollars, and a fully paid trip to the Storymoja Hay festival in Nairobi. The second poem, A face like mine, written by Pamela Orogot, was soulful, deep, melancholic and almost sad, as people said. Clemence Taremwa was third for Innovation, which was a reflection of the new inspirations around us and how they have affected our individual and public lives. The second and third winners won 300 and 200 US Dollars respectively and will also join Rashida for a fully sponsored trip to the Nairobi Storymoja Hay Festival. Amongst the prizes were also autographed copies of Diaries of a Dead African, by Chuma Nwokolo Jr., Home Floats in a Distance, a bi-lingual poetry collection by Dr. Susan Kiguli (also in German), Tropical Fish by Doreen Baingana and Songs of Paradise by Justice James Ogoola. A big congratulations to the organizing committee, a huge appreciation to The High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago for sponsoring the dinner, to Prince Claus Fund for supporting the publication of the anthology, the media, well-wishers, financial contributors, poets and poetry groups and to big dreams.

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