INTERVIEW-BEVERLEY NAMBOZO NSENGIYUNVA : «I have many Africas… »

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva is a Ugandan poet, actress and writer who has immersed herself in poetry since 2008 where she pioneered the only poetry award for women on the continent. For six years, started creative platforms for Ugandan women through this exclusive poetry award, the BN Poetry Award and this year 2014, the world celebrate the first African poetry award, through the BN initiative. She was first runner-up in the 2010 international erbacce-press poetry competition. Her chapbook collection, Unjumping, was published by erbacce-press in 2010. In 2012, she received a Distinction in Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in the UK. She enjoys travelling and has travelled widely for poetry and Leadership engagements. She is Uganda’s 2014 BBC Commonwealth Games Poet for the poem, Lake Nalubaale, which can be read here, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p020h4j7. She currently lives in Kampala with her husband and children and is working on her first novel, Elgona.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (Credit: TOJ Photography)Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (Credit: TOJ Photography)

Ake Review : Does African literature exist?

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva : Of course. In abundance. In the most alluring and creative ways. In every street corner of every city of every country of the continent. In every out-of-town area where proverbs, songs and oral narratives exist. It was there before the Greek alphabet and Roman numerals. Through African literature, Kingdoms all over the continent came into existence, synergies were created and continue to do so as we celebrate contemporary authors from the continent, sharing their stories of the current Africa.

Name one privilege of being a creative person?

I get to fall in love many times, to resurrect loved ones that died, to reshape history and herstory for my daughters. Through the BN Poetry Foundation that I run, I am privileged to pioneer poetry projects around Africa. I decide that poetry is first and foremost and that poets are not to be treated as charity causes at festivals. We should be the opening act, the closing act and the core of every art festival.

Do you engage in any rituals to stimulate creativity?

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (Credit: TOJ Photography)Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (Credit: TOJ Photography)

I watch a lot of Shonda Rimes, go for 2 hour walks and 2 hour swims, re-energising my mind and body.

If there is reoccurring theme in your creative work, what is it and why is it important to you?

Sex and religion. These are important because of the way they interact with each other. In a way, because they each affect a deep internal process, they are complex like poetry. After they offer a solution, they then trigger more questions. The relationship between sex and religion is like bungee jumping. There is anticipation, heightened fear, anti-climaxes and thrills that end too quickly. And yet, they are unforgettable experiences that will be talked about always. Through my creative work, I bring all of this together.

You’ve been invited to join a handful of other African authors on a special literary performance on the moon. What say you?

Poetry should be the opening act, the closing act and also the literary oxygen on the moon.

If Africa was a fruit, which one would it be and why?

Jackfruit. No two jackfruits have a similar shape or size. Their scent is unmistakably alluring and the insides are far different from the outside. They offer an unexpectedness to their being.

Name two books you think every African should read and why ?

(Credit: Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva).(Credit: Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva).

Mudrites and Mildew by Edmund Narine. It’s one of the most hilarious, and yet serious string of short stories, bringing to life and animation, various aspects of Trinidad and Tobago.

The African Saga, by Dr. Susan Kiguli. This collection of poems by the Ugandan poet are an extraordinary gift from the foremothers and forefathers of this universe. They are very creative, deeply political and personal, highlighting some of Uganda’s most important history and herstory.

What invention do you think would change the lives of Africans?

It’s already been invented. Poetry. This was a really easy question.

So, you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?

I’m either playing with my extraordinary and beautiful daughters, or researching on creative ways of sexual intercourse or shopping in the downtown Kampala fllea markets or having coffee with friends.

What’s your Africa?

I have many Africas. The most important at this moment is the one handed over to me by my father, while I was still a child living in London. It was a place on a map. A place he called home and a place he longingly cherished. It’s the one I search for as well, through my writing and interactions.

 

Source : Ake Review

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