Uganda is a landlocked country in east-central Africa. It mostly sits on a central plateau covered by rainforest. It has high volcanic mountains to the eastern and western borders. Uganda’s neighbours include South Sudan to the north, Kenya east, Tanzania and Rwanda south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.
There are at least 40 languages spoken around the country
45.7 million (2022)
241,551 square kilometres
H.E. Nimisha Madhvani
1962 following independence from Britain
Patricia S Kabuleeta
Minister Counsellor at the Uganda High Commission
Lullaby for Kainembabazi
from What’s in a Name: Kainembabazi
Abasiita baryaaha tuzinire Kainembabazi
Abayoombo baryaaha nituzinira Kainembabazi
Ba beene Rukaari ntuzinira Kainembabazi
Abashora nkwanzi ntuzinira Kainembabazi
Akoonka yayera omurungi wangye Kuukuru
Aka cuuka yashetsya obugambo bwaawe Kuukuru
Ogu ka ni Nyinancwende omurungi wangye Kuukuru
Omwishikyi mukuru murungi wangye Kuukuru
Akuzire Kuukuru ekirungi kaine obwengye
Akuzire ya shoma, iwe Kaine kaine obwegyese
Akuzire Kuukuru ekirungi abeire empangare
Abeire empangare, iwe Kaine waaza kwombeka
N’kwokwo okwombeka, manya ogyende okwegire
Obushwere n’engoma, iwe Kaine, burimu abangizi
Abagambi ni baingi, iwe Kaine, ogyende obeetsize
Abasheki barvaaho omurungi, ogyende obehuzye
Abantu obataasye, iwe Kaine, noija kwombeka
Orine Shozzara iwe Kaine, noija kwombeka
Na Nyokozaara ninyenda ngu omukwaate gye
Ebiindi nokuhana omanye ngu harimu okwegyesa
Naiwe Omushaiia, Omwojo ninyenda kukwegyesa
Omushaija n’engabo, emihingo ekingir’ igana
Gyenda omukingire amaka gakunde kwombekwa
Gyenda omukwaate gye amaka gakunde kwombekwa
Omukazi nenjeru omu ruganda nayenda kwezibwa
Ogyende omwereze, amaka gakunde kwombekwa
Ogyende omwereze okakunda Kainembabazi
Manya oku nokuhana omanye ngu harimu okwegyesa
Reeka mbasiibure mbaragisa eshaara yokushaba
Nimwija kwombeka, Ruhanga kanuwe ayombeka.
The Basita are here, singing for Kainembabazi
The Bayombo are here, singing for Kainembabazi
The clan of the sons of Rukaari are here, singing for Kainembabazi
The Beautiful Ones of the Bayombo are here, singing for Kainembabazi.
She suckled and grew, my beautiful Kainembabazi
She was weaned and the words of her childhood brought laughter
She is Nyinancwende, my beautiful Kainembabazi
The firstborn daughter, my beautiful Kuukuru,
Kuukuru has grown and she is well learned
She has done her studies and has learnt well,
Kuukuru has grown and has now come of age
She has come of age and now Kaine you are going to make a home
You need to know how to make a home.
Marriage is a throne, there will be those who are against it
The talkers and gossips are many Kaine, ignore them
There will be those that mock you my beautiful one, pay them no mind
Open your home to people Kaine, and it will be established
Respect your husband’s father Kaine and you will build your home
And treat your husband’s mother well
Our song is a song of teaching, there is wisdom in it.
And to the man, the young man I want to admonish you
A man is a shield, a kraal door that keeps in a strong herd of a hundred cows
Go and enclose her, cover her and your home will be established
Go and treat her well and you will make a home
A woman is sacred like the white cow without spot, within the clan she must be protected
Go and protect her, keep evil from her and your home will be established
Go and keep her pure for you have loved Kainembabazi
Our song is a song of teaching, there is wisdom in it.
Let me end here as I bequeath you a prayer
You will make a good home, is it not the Lord God who builds with you.
OKWARE OUR PANDEMIC EPIC
Age 13 from Mukono, Uganda Junior Winner of the 2021 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
Welcome to my village
Known but much
The village of Okware
Okware our pandemic hero
Okware our pandemic mirror
Whose story’s sweetness
Deserves every Commonwealth ear
Ear to the ground, I shall narrate it all
My village Asila
Ignorant we were about the pandemic
Carelessly we lived with no panic
Too strong we thought we were
With bodies resistant to illnesses
Illnesses including pandemics
It was a disease of the Whites
Okware smelt a rat
And without seeking extra support
Okware launched campaigns and campaigns
Connected a community radio
Loud enough with clear audio
Morning, midday and evening
Okware cautioned the residents
In my native language, Okware met everyone
Bridged the gap between myths and facts
Spoke deep and wide about the pandemic
Every community member shifted the mind
In no time, we started to mind
Minding the Standards
Minding the Operations
Minding the pandemic Procedures
On his flat tyre bicycle
Okware fetched water
Dug from his pockets and bought soap
Supplied it to the elderly community
Reached them hut to hut
Cautioned them to stay home
Enlightened them on the killer pandemic
But never stopped preaching hope
Okware, misinterpreted by the police
Arrested and accused of politics
That he was carrying out campaigns
But even in prison
Okware kept to the reason
Alerted the other inmates about the pandemic
Urged them to create a distance
Prison, turned a pandemic school
Okware, released after community demand
Never shifted his stand
Continued with pandemic lectures
Continued with that generous heart
Shared every little bite
His garden turned a community donor
His farm remained a living hope by all
All, including the haters of oneness
How he discovered herbals
Only heaven can tell
All we saw him do
Was distributing leaves
Calling people to steam
Steaming became steaming
Solely, Okware remained the community hope
All he went through, none can tell
How he learnt tailoring
Heaven is the witness
All we saw were masks
Masks in colours and sizes
Labelled ‘save life first’
Thousands of masks he made
Preached instructions on how to use
And the pandemic avoided Asila
His haters turned lovers
His doubters became believers
Men in political power joined Okware
Together we made an army
And kicked the pandemic beyond repair
Secured our hope, raised growth
Worked in solidarity, in unison
And the community sang ‘Okware, Okware Okware’
Thought it was done but wait
The pandemic tricked and teased our intelligence
When it claimed the life of Okware’s son
Our fear grew fresh
How could this happen to Okware!
Who was safe then?
The community looked hopeless
Great people find opportunities even in a crisis
In such a dark hour in Okware’s family
Okware stood strong, courageous and focused
To the entire community he spoke
‘My son is sacrifice, a lesson or else a chance
To teach the entire Asila and the world beyond
That the pandemic is merciless to every soul’
Not just death but a lesson above doubts
Ears turned more open to Okware’s community radio
Eyes became brighter and looked longer
Every mind became cautious and vigilant
And Okware remained the mastermind
Okware’s son rested in peace
But Okware never rested at peace
For he thought the community needed more
If the pandemic was to be arrested
Where could our hope come
Who could sacrifice beyond life
None can count how many could the pandemic shallow
Okware remains our pandemic hero
In his name poems be recited
In his image sculptures be curved
In his memory books be written
In his vision communities be driven
Asila continues to rise above the sky
Asila remains hopeful and matches on
The pandemic sits below the shadow
Our growth is never at a threat
Our lives passed the test
Praise be to that togetherness
No difficult beats a joined effort
No season, no pandemic, no situation
You have a few minutes left to cry
Before you have to let the tears run dry
And conceal the never- ending pain
That’s etched on your heart.
For how can you explain
That you’re hurting psychologically
When there’s no plaster
That can cover the convolution
Imprinted in your brain?
How long will it take until your labelled as insane?
Or the date of your departure
Alongside your name,
Is inscribed on the tombstone
That sits on your grave?
No Longer do the Tears Drop
No longer do the tears drop,
Instead I wallow in the deep water of my morose.
No longer are the tears shallow,
So I can swim or dream about a brighter tomorrow.
No longer do I look up at the darkness of the sky,
and relieve myself from sorrow.
For the star that shines
I no longer can borrow,
Thus I burrow in my suffering until I become numb,
Hoping the pain will end
Today I can’t pretend.
Despite various global interventions,
Climate change continues to impair
All that we treasure
humankind, flora and fauna
But who ignites the crisis?
We all are to blame.
Should we all just sit here helpless?
believing Climate Change is natural?
whilst our home planet earth
is in anguish and suffocating!
No! my intuition echo’s
The struggle must continue.
It’s absurd we don’t attach value to what we have
Planet earth is suffocating
Mother nature is dying!
I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe she cries
Yet we never take our knee off her Neck
Let’s all run to her rescue.
Oh yes! we need industrialisation,
A key factor for development
But how do we handle the products of industrialisation?
Plastics, pollution, pulling down of trees
Our litter is a menace to earth
A cause for global warming.
What a beautiful world we live in!
But we need to be responsible to fully enjoy its fruits
Protect and preserve our greenery, our Eden
It shouldn’t be part of our memory
But rather a piece of our future.
We have the responsibility, opportunity and ability
to save it for the next generation
Let’s leave a legacy
Let’s make it a fight of our lifetime.
HOME - WHAT DOES HOME MEAN TO ME
A short essay
For many people I know home is either a familiar place, city, country, house, building or even a town or a combination of all those titles but for me my home is not like many homes.
My home does not have a roof, nor does it have walls – it is tall, extremely beautiful, hardworking, responsible and shockingly smart. You see for me my home is not a thing, it is a person, it is my mother.
Wherever I go with her that’s my home. We have been very lucky to have traveled to many places together and seen many different countries, camp sites, motels, hotels and some of the worst places you could think of and we have lived in many different “homes” but all of these homes are not the same without her because I know when I am with her then I am home.
When I am with her I know I am okay because she will fight for me like she always does. I know my mother struggles a lot especially because she is a single mother. She goes through a lot to make sure that I have a good
education, a good “home”, good food and I am sure every parent wants that for their children or child but I know my parent works very hard to give me the best and only the best. I know this because I have seen or been with her through every hardship, through every struggle and yet we always come through on the other side – the happy side.
I always wondered why mothers loved their children so much – more than anything in the world. One day, when I saw my mum happy to see me come back from school I asked her and she said to me, “God gave me you to protect and love and care for you with all my heart so when you have children of your own one day you will love them too – to make a mark of my love to you.” After she said that, I started to realize so many things – I realized, that love doesn’t mean to give gifts or jewelry to make a sign of love to show you’d give everything you have – true love doesn’t include money or any sort of object it is simply in my world – my mothers love for me. And though she might not say I love you, I know that she loves me because her every action tells me everyday – I love you and I am home with you.
So when I think what does home mean to me, it does not mean a building, a country a city not even a town – for me it means someone who when I am around her I can be myself and know I am safe and I am loved when I am with her. Home is where my mum is.