The quality of delight that was yesterday in #Kampala is only now finding words. So, after breakfast with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, I’m headed back to the lobby trying to get my Blackberry to connect via WiFi, I sit beside a lady with a green cap-hat on her head. I notice it, en passant. After a while, wanting to make an inquiry, she asks if I’m Ugandan. I look up, the cap-hat is off, and who is it but NoViolet Bulawayo eh? I express my admiration, we chitchat. And it’s not 10am yet.
Our friend Jolly comes to drive us to the National Theatre where the festival is holding. My panel on the publishing industry goes very well; Ghanian writer Nii Parkes, the irrepressible Zukiswa Wanner, award winning Kwani? editor Clifton Gachagua and a nice guy named Charles from the Ugandan department in charge of books and copyright. High point was some reviewer chap who reviews books for a Ugandan newspaper–until he confessed to reading other people’s reviews to write his reviews and then, wait for it, to not reading the books he reviews at all. Na wa for this kain “reviewer” o, a proper hack if there ever was one. Nii Parkes had some serious words for him. As did we all. Strike 2pm.
Then I got to meet former GRANTA head honcho Ellah Wakatama Allfrey again, and she’s with a gorgeous tall friend of hers, Vimbai Shire–an immensely talented book editor with a huge reputation. Strike 6pm.
Then it’s knocking down Club lagers aplenty with Zukiswa, Richie Maccs, Nii Parkes while Abubakar the Teetotal watched football–and who walks in but Ayeta Wangusa eh? Lovely lady, and she’s got this accent I could listen to a long long time. And she’s got this absolutely sexy friend with her. I grow heads, steal glances, consider becoming a predator. Hahaha! Zukiswa, Nii and I knock down another round of Club lagers in Ayeta’s honour. Who’s to say no eh? Writers gather experience, no no to the life.
I call it a night at about 1am when our friend Jolly comes and ferries NoViolet, Abubakar and I back to Makerere.
The amount of creative energy out here in #Kampala yesterday is enough to transform Africa, turn the Sahara into an oasis as in the bromide. But, not a bromide. In truth. We can do this, we must do it.
And who is the dynamo bringing this energy all together? Here’s a BIG Nigerian salute to the dynamo man Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire and the Writivism volunteers. And well done, specifically, to Ms. Jolly, Sheillah and Mercy–lovely Ugandan ladies who are taking care of this Nigerian very well.