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An author’s story about the beautiful poetry scene of Uganda:

The evolution of Uganda’s poetry has been described as a journey marked by both beauty and frustration. It has been noted that each year seems divided into segments: a time when poets, including male poets, rant about men, followed by a season of love poetry where no one is actually in love. Then comes the phase where the government is the problem, and finally, a period where life itself is blamed for all the poets’ woes. Recently, there has even been a monthly surge of poetry on sexual harassment and the ill mannerisms amongst poets.

Post-COVID-19, there was a formation of an organization called Uganda Poets Against Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Rape (UPASHASAR). It was reported that female poets came up to speak about being bullied and harassed by older male poets in the guise of helping them with their poetry careers, which they never help with. The tendency reported then was that these men gave unsolicited sexual comments in these girls’ inboxes and screenshots were shared. Some of these young girls were called to hotels to talk about their careers, only to reach and find a room had been reserved. It has been asked why these girls went ahead, and it was explained that every artist who has been desperate before will understand the gullible spaces one has been in when in that state. But also, it was noted that it is difficult for an 18-year-old to fight a “Nasoraj ” to open the door of a hotel room after he has convinced her that her career can be boosted by him (despite acknowledging that he is a really good poetry coach).

Some of these ladies were reportedly called to be written about in articles. It was highlighted that poetry has not been so much in the media and that it needs to be written about and made known. So, when an “Ogotam” feels it is necessary to issue a licence, a young girl is going to ask for the licence on her own. It was recounted that at a meeting, this gentleman felt it was okay to make comments about a young lady’s hips after just one bottle of club. The author has seen drunk men do their thing and remain respectful, but this journalist took the “man eateth where he worketh” bible verse seriously. It was disappointing to learn that he is the vice president a prominent organisation and this was expressed with utter disgust.

The author reported being an almost victim of two gentlemen in the poetry space. One owns a publishing house, to whom the author had shared work and asked for feedback, only to be asked to meet at some place in Wandegeya. The knowledge from the author’s father kicked in at that moment. The author noted that while work had been reviewed by many people via email or even WhatsApp before, this man said, “it is always better to do these things in person.” The author decided to make themselves absent as a person and now sees a “Russan” in everyone who wants to do things in person. It was also mentioned that this man did not want to pay a photographer for work he had done for him.

In the same year, it was reported that a branding agency owner reached out to become friends. The author’s circle knows how friendly and sacrificial they are, always reaching out to help. This “man of God” played the card of helping with the author’s foundation, working on a logo, and branding. He even connected the author to another organization and shared frustrations about his leader “Nalla O” causing conflict in the communities they were working in. The author expressed frustration about people in these communities being falsely promised things and help. Two weeks later, the “man of God” wanted to sleep at the author’s place. The author, who had gained independence from home at an early age, noted that the man had won over people close to them and likely got information from them before making the request. The author took a friend for security reasons when visiting this man’s place and insisted on not staying over despite the man’s persistence. When the man visited the author’s place without notice, he was made to sleep in the boys’ room in the main house. The next day, he sent messages expressing a desire to make the author feel warm in his arms. The author expressed disdain for Kampala men and was particularly disturbed when this man campaigned against someone the author liked, calling him a “paedophile,” which was later found to be false information.

Recently, there has been a case of emotional harassment graciously expressed by The Soet in a 14-episode TikTok series. It was questioned why a talented gentleman would forge lies to gain sympathy, manipulate young people, especially ladies, and rob them of their art. The author insisted that Sull owes these ladies an apology for falsely affiliating with Burton Poetry, claiming to suffer from diabetes, and using this narrative to solicit money for rent. The author questioned whether diabetes patients consume that much soda and beer, suggesting scepticism about his claims.

The author wrote with strong emotions, expressing disappointment that a beautiful form of art has become a ground for rotten and archaic behaviour. The enthusiasm with which poets speak about government failures was contrasted with their silence on the issues within their own community. The need for mental health support was emphasised, criticising how some individuals have normalised making others victims. The author lamented the loss of purity in art forms and criticised the decaying techniques some poets use to remain relevant.

@call me Bansiatbansi

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