The British Council in collaboration with Makerere University based poetry movement, Kelele@Makerere, organized “A Night of Poetry with Lemn Sissay”, an event that was held at The Art Gallery. This was part of the British Council’s drive to promote story telling in East Africa, a drive dubbed, #East African Stories. Lemn, Chancellor of the University of Manchester, flew in to the country on Monday and Attended the Uganda Writers International Conference then appeared for the fortnightly Kelele On Tuesday. He was treated to performances by the budding poets and artists in Makerere Before he took the stage himself to perform original pieces like, Invisible Kisses, which got Ladies purring, and Blackish…, which had the whole audience participating.
All this was Peppered by his enviable humor which had everyone in stitches. The audience then was allowed a Q&A session in which Lemn answered questions like, how to write without inspiration, how to copyright, his journey with poetry and much more.
Lemn Sissay is an Ethiopian born, Englishman who spent most of his childhood in foster homes. He says his name means, “Why? “Which has always intrigued him? He self-published
his first anthology at 18 years and peddled his books door to door. He was soon employed as a literature developer without qualifications and he went on to read his poetry with grand
Orchestra, write for the 2015 FA Cup and was also the official 2012 London Olympics poet. He has been awarded MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen for service to society.
Through all this however, he maintains that he is just a poet and he will end as just a poet. To The budding poets at Makerere, he told them to fear not rejection as it is part of a poet and
Writer’s journey. Lemn Sissay has about 23,000 followers on Twitter and 30,000 on Facebook.
Mr. Muhumza who attended the event said, “[it was Enthusiastic, thrilling and authentic]. His
Stage presence is over the moon and his character as a person supersedes the great poet he is, Lemn Sissay!”
Black Honey (sic) said, “I thought it was a captivating and hypnotizing performance. I felt every Bit of it honestly, and that’s rare these days”
You can follow Lemn Sissay on Twitter, @LemnSissay, and Facebook, Lemn Sissay.
Compiled by Akatwijuka Ian