Wednesday, August 20, 2014


BNPA2014 friends-File photo



Kgafela oa Magogodi, Richard Ali, Joanne Arnott (Judges)

#BNPA2014-Shortlisted poets:

Suleiman Agbonkhianmen-Nigeria El Saba Lazim-Sudan Annetjie van Wynegaard-South Africa Tom Jalio-Kenya Nyachiro Ldia-Tanzania Elizabeth Muchemwa-Zimbabwe Fubaraibi Benstowe-Nigeria Saka Aliyu-Ngeria Ugandan hosts: Moses Muyanja Kyeyune, Dorothy Ayebazibwe

Monday 15th September 10:00am to 11:00am.

Launching the African Poetry Book Fund ( at Ugandan Arts Trust:32 Degrees East-in Kansanga after Kampala International University.

Readings from Prairie Schooner Fusion archives namely Botswana, Singapore and Ghana. Poets reading include Hilda Twongyeirwe, Roshan Karmali, Qrea-us, Nakisanze, BNN, Kagayi, and Kangye.

This event is supported by:

Literature Association of Makerere University, Femrite, 32 degrees-East:Ugandan Arts Trust, Lantern Meet of Poets, Poetry-in-session and African Poetry Book Fund –Nebraska.

Monday 15 September-Femrite, 5:30PM


Literature Association of Makerere University will moderate discussions on each of the #BNPA2-14 shortlisted poems. Femrite-Kamwokya, +256 772 743943

Entry fee: 2,000/-

Tuesday 16 September events at Kati Kati Main Hall, off Lugogo By-Pass.

Entry fee is 5,000/-


Save our Poets! Written word vs. Spoken form poetry panel.

Is written poetry gradually becoming extinct? Is the traditional form irrelevant? Are Spoken Word artists running ahead of themselves?

Join the poetry panel at 2:30pm on Tuesday 16 September at Kati Kati Main Hall.

Panelists include:

Kgafela oa Magogodi, #BNPA2014 Judge and Patron Spoken Word Africa

Kagayi Peter, The President of Lantern Meet of Poets, Uganda

Joanne Arnott #BNPA2014 Judge and award-winning poet of several collections including A Night for The Lady

Elizabeth Muchemwa, #BNPA2014 shortlisted poet from Zimbabwe

Richard Ali #BNPA2014 Judge and Chief Operations Officer of Parrésia Publishers in Nigeria.

Moderator: Roshan Karmali, Coordinator at Poetry-in-session.

Tuesday 16 September, 5:30pm- Kati Kati.

Awarding the #BNPA2014 winner



Launch of A Thousand Voices Rising, Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry.The #BNPA2014 winner will launch the anthology.

Online copies are available from the website at


17th to 21st September:

#BNPA2014 Poets and Judges at various workshops

PoeTRicks Workshops, run by BNN

Master-classes all week

Press conference on 18th September from 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Launch of A Thousand Voices Rising on 20th September.



BN Poetry Foundation, Femrite, Makerere University Film Studies Department and Lantern Meet of Poets, are joining with IIFF to host a film festival from 18th to 20th October.

18th October: The full day film festival and spoken word performances. (Venue to be disclosed)

20th October morning:

Tsitsi Dangarembga Meeting the Makerere University Film School, run by Sr. Dr. Dominic Dipio.

20th October 5:30pm

Tsitsi Dangarembga, author of Nervous Conditions, hosted by Femrite, as Author of The Month. Entry fee is 2,000/- Femrite: +256 772 743943, Kamwokya Kira Road, Plot 147.






Thanks for all your support. Here is the official BNPA2014 programme. If any other activity is added to this, you will receive official notification from this email address. Thanks to our friends and partners who have led us so far To the judges, poets, media, bloggers, #BNPA2014 poets, arts organisations like 32 Degrees/Ugandan Arts Trust, Femrite, Lantern Meet of Poets, Poetry in session, Makerere University Literature Association,African Writers Trust, Sunday Trust (Nigeria), CACE-writivism, African Poetry Book Fund, somanystoriesug, Dilstories, Storymoja, International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF), Ake Arts and Book Festival, Malaika Educare, House of Talent, House of Words Consult, Peepal Tree Press-thank you all so much.

For more information, email or follow us on Twitter @BNPoetryAward


Zaza Muchemwa from Zimbabwe-courtesy photo

The win will give me more time to devote to my poetry and develop it because then I will not have to worry about certain expenses. With part of the win I will organise a poetry workshop facilitated by an established Poet culminating in a poetry anthology. And that will change perceptions of writing and poetry in my community.

Born in Chirumhanzu, Zimbabwe on the 14th of February 1986, Elizabeth Muchemwa is a Poet, Writer and Director for Theatre. Her full names Elizabeth Ruramai Sharon came as a concession between her parents who, at her birth, had each a different name to give her; so in the end she got a name from each parent. Elizabeth has been performing Poetry since 2006 in Zimbabwe; she has performed at Festivals like HIFA, Intwasa Arts Festival and Protest Arts International Festival, participated in monthly poetry events like House of Hunger Poetry Slam and Sistaz Open Micand performed at private functions some of which have included Book Café at 16 years and the launch of the Zimbabwe Market Fair. She has directed plays for the stage; one of them Wedding Day was performed at the Drama for life Festival in 2010 and Intwasa Festival 2010. Elizabeth’s short story Positive Death was published in the Zimbabwe Women Writers Magazine in 2006 and in 2011 her short story Radio Culture is Dead was shortlisted in the Intwasa Short Story competition. Early this year her poem Eve was shortlisted in the Poetry International Zimbabwe competition and will be published on the Poetry International website this September. In June this year with Katswe Sistahood she attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London where they performed a short theatrical presentation called Hands Over. Elizabeth’s influences are derived from writers of books, directors of films, playwrights, poets, musicians, painters and the everyday woman and man. And she believes that whatever art form you use you are all doing one thing; which is telling a story, so she sees herself as teller of story before anything else. Elizabeth is currently living what she calls her second life.

Twitter: @ZaMuchemwa Badilisha Poetry Exchange:

Read her poem here

Blood and Water by Elizabeth Muchemwa (Zimbabwe)

He washes his hands in streams she has made

Rivers flowing beneath her eyes have

salted the land with the acrid taste of her hate

wells have risen to pool within her

catching the cries that would speak her hurt

He washes his hands in streams she has made

She dreams sonic dreams with high decibels to end tyranny

with a speak to raise armies and wage wars

He washes his hands in streams she has made

ignoring the pleas of a maiden body slain

in her shame exposed against her will

half drawn clothes

untidy bundles of blood

laid to waste for a rush

She has made rivers and lakes bitter with the salt of her tears

beneath her breast a molten hold burnishes the light she once had

into a golden strong finish

for those that have laid her to waste

This is for the mother

who has stitched another morsel

into one dish of edible corn for our daily bread

Her who has copied the hands of the creator

and pasted onto the drawing board a new piece to the picture

so that girls everywhere can smile

She is the surgeon who has carried a knife to battles

to cut open wounds and piece them to their proper places back,

them skins and flesh scurrying to obey her command

she has done so

she has carried life so

She has melded pen and paper to tell a story

not worrying

whether the caves within her bring forth life or death

life or death life or death

the ringing bells toll and call all humankind to rest

but she does not stop taking life from death

life from death life from death

building bricks upon bricks

stitching together another life in a war zone.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Acaye Elizabeth

From the opening line, I am suddenly on conversation, listening to the poet; I decide that she is my buddy who recently got married.. This is the power if the poem for me. The sense of conversation, on a subject that touches my humanity. The moments when I shut up, even when I should have spoken and find myself regretting it. Its simplicity of diction and its rhythms arrest me. The hammer beating, her heart beating, her mind racing on anger, and the crescendo : her tears flowing as she draws the curtains...

Flavia Kabuye

I think that this was a beautifully crafted poem. The metaphors used are powerful in themselves and are carefully chosen by the writer. However, she writes about 'abuse' with subtlety and it might be hard to separate it from consent in this context. It also seems like the carpenter was no stranger...


After the second reading, I pity the judges who to make a decision on who wins. It's a tight race. My fingers are crossed.

Nyokabi Mburu

wow this CARPENTER is damn nice I love the way she plays with the words i think its wat is called spoonerism, i think. it is off the hook.

Oluwaloni Olowookere ‏@OluwaloniOlowoo

@BNPoetryAward @Acayepamela this poem by Elbasha is one of the reasons I will forgive BNPA for screwing me out of the shortlist. Lol.

Oluwaloni Olowookere ‏@OluwaloniOlowoo

@BNPoetryAward The Carpenter features a beautiful form of artistic levity that downplays rather than exaggerate.

Oluwaloni Olowookere ‏@OluwaloniOlowoo

@BNPoetryAward @Acayepamela @aleyakassam @kagayimutanga The Carpenter..... So casual yet so revealing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas BY NYACHIRO LYDIA,


Aleya Kassam starts off the discussion on Things That Were Lost In Our vaginas BY NYACHIRO LYDIA, TANZANIA

This poem was deeply affecting. It took me a while to figure out why this poem crawled into the pit of my belly and would not come out. The way she writes about something so horrendous as a child being abused, in an almost matter of fact way is where the power of the poem lies. The language echoes this sense of numbness she has had to develop to keep living through something so horrendous....the matter-of-factness that this is just what a girl, a girl! goes through, and that is just the way it makes me feel, as a society we are complicit - and of course, aren't we? Yet the poem has a movement and texture that makes it beautiful, when it almost shouldn't be.

Flavia Kabuye

When I first read the poem, I thought it was so graphic. When I read it again and again I realized that much as it breaks communication barriers, it also highlights structural barriers of age and gender. Women's stories like this one are endless and the writer brings out the emotional trauma that even time cannot heal. Her reference to prayer brings a message of hope...

Stephanie Newham

I want to say this is a beautiful poem but it is difficult ,because of the subject matter. However we have to be thankful that there are poets and writers who are prepared to write openly and honestly from their hearts about societies darker side.

Ivan Okuda ," It-is an epic poem, shortlisted for this years Babishai Niwe Poetry Awards, written by Tanzania's Nyachiro Kasese. If it doesn’t tickle your inner most senses, then nothing ever will.

Arafat Ndugga hehehe..respect..people can write.

Wilbrod Gos'pol Lydia I bow in contentment

Mugume Fortune

Stylistic device...vivid

Henry Mutebe

eh... that's a magnificent display of the language. The subject matter notwithstanding, I credit her for her skill in creating imagery. Its powerfully crafted. four star

Jamie Sanyu Mukama

this is so rich

Mukungu Blessed Dennis

well I’m looking for words to describe this literal artistry

Herbert Kaheeru

vagina monologue

Rosey Sembatya

I was sucked in by the title, the dare...yet the poem is so afraid...the fear within us..

Agatha Ayebazibwe Siima

wow!!! this one, I bow!

Derik Lamar

ReLoaded eeeh bulade

Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire

This poem should win the PRIZE in my humble view/

Harriet Anena

Is Nyachiro on Facebook at all? I need to chat her up. This poem should win #BNPA2014.

Herbert Oketcho

thank you #NYACHIRO_LYDIA,

Kironde Timothy

now this is poetry, i love the simple language she uses to talk about something this deep. and the title; shocker!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014



a. The Carpenter Saba El Lazim (Sudan)

b. Insane Living by Dorothie Ayebazibwe (Uganda)

c. L'aruge/Promotion by Saka Aliyu (Nigeria)

d. Under The Guava Tree by Annetjie van Wynegaard (South Africa)

e. The Night Sango Came to Ugbaje by Suleiman Agbonkhianmen Buhari (Nigeria)

f. There Was once Something Special Here by Tom Jalio (Kenya)

g. Orukoro Dancer by Benstowe Fubaraibi Anari ( Nigeria)

h. Blood and Water by Elizabeth Muchemwa (Zimbabwe)

i. Dialogue Over The Twilight Zone (Ebony and Ivory by Moses Kyeyune Muyanja (Uganda)

j. The Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas by Nyachiro Lydia Kasese (Tanzania)

Read the poems here:

Follow us on Twitter: @BNPoetryAward

Follow discussions on Facebook: Babishai Niwe

Email us:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Richard Ali:

I got a pile of about 500 submissions and cutting it down to 46 was merely time consuming, relatively easy. But I had headaches and hesitation every step of the way cutting those down to my best 15, and when 15 each came in as well from Kgafela and Joanne Arnott, it was almost as if some special gravitational field had stayed my scroll-read-appraise-delete functions. Choosing the very best 5 poems called up all the strength I had, for it takes strength to be brutal, to decide which is the fine poem of a lot of fine poems, which possesses the slimmest space between word and emotion, which should make it in because it better turns out the fresher metaphor, the more intriguing image, the pure emotion--to pick five of these from such a rich hoard . . . I wondered, at times, if God would forgive me!

Joanne Arnott:(Canada/Metis mixed)


”Stepping into the river of poetry submissions was a cool immersion, some poems leapt out while others called from the waters. I learned about the contents of the poets’ minds and hearts, about their landscapes and weathers, about their rhythms and songs. In the end, I could carry away only those few.

Kgafela oa Magogodi (South Africa)

Chopping down was hard. But I had to stop the heart from bleeding for my darlings and chop.

Friday, July 11, 2014


With gratitude to all those that submitted for the 2014 BN Poetry Award, we've finally compiled our long-list. Here is the BNPA 2014 Longlist, compiled by Judges Joanne Arnott, award-winning Canadian/Metiz mixed poet, Richard Ali, Publicity Secretary (North) of Association of Nigerian authors and Kgafela oa Magogodi, South African Producer, Musician and Patron Spoken Word Africa. They received the poems blindly and this is the long-list. Congratulations to all who made it.

Here we go:

1. Blood and Water and Celebration (2 in 1) by Elizabeth Muchemwa Zimbabwe 2. After The Rain by Moses Muyanja Kyeyune from Uganda 3. The Crumpled Up paper and The Smooth Elegant One by Willie Ng'ang'a from Kenya. 4. Insane Living by Dorothie Ayebazibwe from Uganda 5. Reborn by Brenda Kanani from Kenya. 6. The Carpenter by Saba El Laziri from Sudan. 7. Sun Visit by Edzordzi Agbozo from Ghana. 8. Piano and drums by Kelvin Opeoluwa Kellman frm Nigeria. 9. Our Oiled Rusty Shores by Attah John Ojonugwa from Nigeria. 10. Beware by Richard Quaz Roodt from South Africa. 11. Time Zones by Kyle Allen of South Africa.

12. Dear Asabi by Mof'oluwawo Mojolaoluwa from Nigeria. 13. Dialogue Over The Twilight Zone ( Ebony & Ivory) by Moses Kyeyune Muyanja, Uganda. 14. The Things That were Lost In Our Vaginas by Nyachiro Lydia Kasese, Tanzania. 15. There Was Once Something Special Here by Tom Nyagari, Kenya. 16. I am Still Here by Chiugo Veronica Akaolisa, Nigeria. 17. L'aruge/Promotion by Saka Aliyu, Nigeria. 18. She Could Hear God by Jennie Marima, Kenya. 19. Smarty Phone by Nassolo Marjorie, Uganda. 20. Biriwa was My Home by Kojo Turkson, Ghana. 21. A Place Called Home by Dela Nyamuame, Ghana. 22. If I Was by Achieng Odhiambo, Kenya. 23. I am The Beginning by Oladele Noah, Nigeria. 24. Greater Enemy by Emiru David Patrick, Uganda. 25. The Conversation (2) by Tumelo Thekisho, South Africa. 26. Why Must African men Not Cry?

27. Between God and Man 1 and 11 by Oladele Noah, Nigeria. 28. Half Filled Graves by Okwudili Nebeolisa 29. Orukoro Dancer by Benstowe Fubaraibi Anari, Nigeria. 30. Moonlight or No Light by Nana Nyarko Boateng, Ghana. 31. Under The Guava Tree by Annetjie van Wynegaard, South Africa.

32. Two Sides of A Window by Damilola Michael Aderibigbe, Nigeria. 33. It Happened to me too by James Yeku, Nigeria. 34. A Weekend in Lagos by Isoje Chou, Nigeria. 35. Paranoia bu Oluwaloni Olowookere, Nigeria. 36. Autshumato by Celeste Fritze, South Africa. 37. Children Also Grow by Rasaq Malik Gbolahan, Nigeria. 38. A Sudden Time by Solagbade Oyefara, Nigeria. 39. Different Forms of Slaughter by Asante Lucy Mtenje, Malawi. 40. The Night Sango Came to Ujagbe by Suleiman Agbonkhianmen Buhari, Nigeria. 41. What Poetry Means to Me by Rasaq Malik Gbolahan, Nigeria 42. Mama Talks by Valerie Awo-Dede Okaiteh, Ghana, 43.Indeed Beauty Full by Oludami Yomi-Alliyu, Nigeria. 44.Celestial Sprouts (Twin-Tomato-Tree) by Moses Muyanja Kyeyune, Uganda.