Kagayi unpacks poetry collection

Jun 17, 2016

Among them is Peter Kagayi, known to many of his former students as “Sir Peter”, who had all seats booked for the launch of his first book on Wednesday at the National theatre.

As poetry continues to grow in Uganda, the pioneers of the revolution are taking to the theatre to put their masterpieces out to the public.

Among them is Peter Kagayi, known to many of his former students as "Sir Peter", who had all seats booked for the launch of his first book on Wednesday at the National theatre.

This unique spectacle was for the launch of "The Headline that morning" a collection of some of his best poems such as How I grew up, This too shall pass and The audience must say amen.


Who is Kagayi?

Kagayi is a testimony of "profession versus passion" who studied law, but became an artist. He studied law, but followed his passion in art.

Kagayi's love for poetry has taken him beyond the one-off events to opening poetry clubs in schools across the country.

A touch of class

In his collection, Kagayi expresses ordinary issues with a touch of "high-end" poetry.

In one of the poems, How I became the night wind Kagayi describes a loner, deserted by their.

On only one page, Kagayi's poem paints a much bigger picture that he helps you visualise with each stanza.

Kagayi's bug

Young poets in Uganda have organised themselves in groups that get together to recite poems in Kampala.

The sessions they have currently include Verse in vac mainly for high school leavers, Lantern meet of poets in Makerere University and kelele in Makerere for the university students.

The students in the secondary schools also have clubs that were pioneered by the Rhymers Club in Nabisunsa Girls School with inspiration from Kagayi.

 agayi with some of his former students at the ational heatre Kagayi with some of his former students at the National Theatre

The launch

The launch was attended by a fairly balanced crowd with campus students, high school and corporates.

As the tradition is, the audience uses the snapping of fingers instead of handclaps to allow the poet room to rhyme without much interruption.

But for this particular session, the audience could not hold back when it came to the lines that they loved the most, especially The audience must say amen.

 ans buy agayis new collection at ational heatre Fans buy Kagayi's new collection at National Theatre


The collection got appreciation from writers from across the continent, including Nigeria's Remi Raji and Kenya's Michael Onsando.

Former BBC Uganda correspondent Joshua Mmali also referred to the works of Kagayi as a wealth of imagery.

Some of the works have also earned a place in theatrical productions by Latin Flavor and the Uganda National Contemporary Ballet.

They loved it and want more

From the views of the revellers, this launch is a likely major step for poetry in the country.

 iego wesigwa Diego Mwesigwa


"Poetry should be respected as an art. It is a means of getting the message out. People can use poetry to express how they feel and describe what goes on in society," Diego Mwesigwa, the president of Rock Pride Poets

 race angirana Grace Bangirana


"This launch is good for poetry. As poets, we have a lot that we do to communicate on behalf of others. I believe poetry as part of performing arts would grow even more if it was included on the syllabus for schools," Grace Bangirana, poet

 onald aasa elele Donald Maasa Kelele


"Poetry is a uniting factor for people from all kinds of backgrounds. So events like this one bring these people together." Donald Maasa, poet from  Makerere University

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