Introducing Peter Kagayi

#TheAWAKENING . It has been a tradition of mine since about this time last year to blog about a Lantern Meet Recital prior to the event. This time however, they are speaking for themselves.

The Lantern Meet of Poets

When I hear ‘the awakening’, it is not about what I understand, rather what I hear and then visualise. I am not sure I understand it. I hear the sounds of reckon, calling out to me to pay attention. And what I visualise is a silhouette of a man walking towards my door in the early hours. He looks different. Not from here. And he seems to be carrying the sun on his head. But my eyes fail me to make out his face. I do not understand why I see the things I see when I hear ‘the awakening’.

Peter Kagayi, Lantern Meet of Poets

by Anne Namuddu

If you know anyone that has tear provoking patriotism, or whose social consciousness is limping around in circles, or on broken crutches, please… wheel them to Uganda National theatre to meet the Lantern Meet psychotherapist, Peter Kagayi, this 4th and 5th…

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One Monday Morning

The benefits of passion, honesty and hard work


I normally work all night on Sundays(like i am now), so i can take Monday morning off. Cant think of a better way to start the week.

Last Monday was different though, i joined a good friend of mine Sidi as mentors at the Raise Program. It is an education and career guidance programs that runs during the holidays and selected days during the school term, teaching kids of all ages skills they wouldn’t otherwise learn in class. It exposes them to a lot that they will need to succeed and hopefully gives them the courage to go after their dreams aggressively.
I always think back to that afternoon Patrick Bitature came to Namilyango and shared about his past and the drive he had to get to where he is. Made a huge impact on me, and continues to do so in many ways. Not just him but so…

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Often misunderstood by many.

Like a girl,longs to be taken at more than face value.

Attraction is a desire for recognition.

Attraction is a search for completion.


Not all like poles repel,some attract.

Because there is mutual ground,

something special,something that brings

an “us against the world quality”

to be understood without having to explain yourself,

to be seen for who you really are,

to be found.


Unlike poles do attract,

some more unlike than others.

To see something in another’s life,

something lacking in yours.

Wanting to be as close as possible thinking,

maybe just maybe it will rub off on me.

discovering that there are things about someone else

that are helping you understand yourself.

Being accepted where you are yet inspired onto greater.


Looking at someone & knowing you want them in your tomorrow.

Being set on fire not by the perception of the eyes

but your heart,your spirit…

attraction that comes from within

to things that are within still…

By all means, speak up

I do not know if it is National Domestic Violence week or that the people in the journalism industry share ideas and all decide to print the same thing but the issue has been everywhere, on the airwaves, in print, online, everywhere. It is a contentious issue because we are talking about people’s lives in an environment influenced by varied cultural views and norms.

On a breakfast radio show, two co-hosts, a man and a woman got into such a heated argument that they stopped discussing the issue altogether and played adverts instead. Even all the way on this other side of the microphone, I could sense the tension and enrage in that room. The lady’s argument was; by saying “Men should not beat women but…” was sending an implied message to the younger men that there is a point where it is okay to beat women. The man’s argument was that domestic violence is not just about women, men get beaten too. In essence, they were both right, but it got personal and harsh words were said, on air. I believe our message shouldn’t just be women shouldn’t be beaten or men shouldn’t be marginalised. The general message should be that there oughtn’t be violence in relationships. It is a good cause but I think we need to stop the fight for the sexes and bring people back to the fact that before we are male or female, we are human.

It is very easy to stand as a spectator and judge people for their decisions; battered, abused, mentally and physically without understanding the background story.

“Why is she still with that man?” we often say ,” he obviously treats her so badly. He beats her” “she openly disrespects him”

The fact is people make decisions that at times make you wish they did not have the power to make their own decisions. However, they are people and they have experiences which may or may not have injured them in one way or another. It is very easy for us to tell battered people to just leave because it does not make sense to us for them to stay without considering what it is they are fighting within. Voices, experiences and ideologies that in one way or another have them believing that they have no choice or they somehow deserve the pain that is in their lives.

A good friend of mine and I had a bit of a situation yesterday. He pissed me off, as in got me really worked up that had he been next to me, I would have been glad to draw blood. He has his reasons and being the understanding person that I am who is so full of love for this person; I kind of let it pass. I say kind of because later on, when I saw him, it was somewhat evident in the lack of tenderness in my words that I hadn’t. I let him have it, I did not curse him out but I let him know that I was unhappy and I was not going to allow to be spoken to like that. He aplogised, which took me by surprise by the way, not because he is a bad person but because it was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to let him know. I was standing up for me. I am not saying apologies are not good, I love apologies, his apology might have even contributed to the brightening of my week! but, it is not just about the apology.

Some people will never face up to what they have done to you, many don’t even acknowledge that they did anything wrong,putting it all on you. While an apology is good, an apology is not the end that we seek. Just speaking up is alot. Recognising your value and letting others know your standards. Believe it or not, people only treat you the way you let them; especially people with whom we relate, the ones we have continual interaction with. I am not talking about that random boda boda guy outside the park who just passed a nasty comment or that person you’ve just met at a party who goes ahead to draw some ridiculous generic conclusion about you. No,I am talking about the people you choose to let into your life.

You have every right to stand up and speak up for yourself. It does not even have to first be something big like getting punched in the face by your lover; it could be small things. Small things like the other party discussing personal issues with everyone else but you, small things like hands “accidentally” ending up where they should not. It is your right to speak up. Granted, you may be wrong at times but better to know for sure than live in suspiscion or opression. You will even probably rock some boats but speak up. Practice standing up for yourself. You have a right to expression. Do not let people treat you in a way you do not agree with, by all means, speak up.


No one tells you the truth Part 2

“Campus will be awesome” “You don’t even have to read that much” “You only have to read for that semester”

So many people said; but why? Why do people say such things? Maybe it is to keep hope alive, to keep us striving for what we percieve to be better. Otherwise if we knew what was at the end, we might start looking for an answer to that question “If not school, then what?” Perhaps some actually believe what they are saying. They just forget to tell us that these are merely opinions, very subjective and not gospel truth.

There I was, with a course I had no idea about, in a University I was not that crazy about. It felt like P.1 all over again, this decision was not discussed with me and everything familiar in the form of friends and family was far from me. This time the classes were smaller but not any friendlier. I had spent years learning how to hide from the questioning gaze of teachers. If they didn’t see me, then they didn’t give me an opportunity to prove to myself and everyone else that I did not know, I was no longer the answer master. I mastered up all my optimism and tried to look forward to class. Never mind that the lecturers rarely showed up and when they did taught in what seemed like greek to me and only to me. Hmmm..and I have 4 years of this? That was quite frightening.

I soon discovered that this time round, I had to put some effort into making friends. I had learnt earlier what discusiions meant and what reading for exams really is about. I spent a big chunk of my time trying to decide if I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. There was always the promise that the practice was much much better than the study. Worry not that all these things look strange, when you have to, you will know. I kept on. Unfortunately, there was such a thing as internship/Industrial training; which gave me a glimpse into the future. My heart broke, I was horrified, it couldn’t be; and this was it! There were no more chances for me to choose what I wanted, or so I thought. I felt imprisoned and tried to resign to my fate. I tried not to try and have what I want but rather want what I had. It worked on some days, only on the good days, the days where people actually sounded like they were speaking a language I understood, on the days the marks agreed with me.

But; there were other days. Days, I dared to listen to my heart, days I kind of stumbled onto things that lit fires within my soul, somehow found things I was kind of good at. When I wasn’t trying my best to accept my situation, I was desperately weighing my options, wondering if I had options. Again with the questions, “if not this, then what?” “How do I walk away after 4 years?” “How do I explain it to the stakeholders?”

I do not know when it was that I made some kind of decision but after school, I picked a route and started walking. I made a decision. I chose. It hasn’t been without its bumps though. We are supposed to be faithful at school, graduate, find jobs, get married and live happily ever after owning lots and lots of things; or so we are told, or we are led to believe.

No one really tells you that there is work you will do that you will not get paid for. That for sometime you might have a job but not be able to afford anything except going back to that very job. You might have to borrow money from your parents and/or your siblings and feel embarassed about it. You might stay at home for some good time and learn to humble yourself to curfew and giving details of your where abouts. You might not have the perfect relationship and dates every weekend. Infact, your weekends might be spent catching up on laundry and watching TV.

I took a step and walked away from what I was sure I did not want, not really sure where I was headed and how it would play out(still not). I still fall at God’s feet and lay my heart and soul bare, hoping, believing and knowing, He knows what is going on and He’s in it; sometimes, just like in S.6, it is accompanied by tears but other time, peace and contentment.

No one really tells you the truth about life. It is rarely as bad/good as they say, sometimes it is worse/better; and it is all subjective. Maybe they just do not have the time, some don’t really mean to lie. It is just that no one can tell you the truth about your path. No one has walked your path for you. You have to experience it your self. Many have chosen the route of uncertain dream chasing; living from your heart kind of life and yet they can not be like you. I guess truth is something that is not just told, it must be lived


No one tells you the truth

That is the truth. No one does; because no one can. The irony in my opening statements is enough to send me to a firing squad, I guess, if you are into that kind of stuff. Its been a little over a year since I left University. That was a big deal, it was one place I was desperate to run out of, school. I really was not the perfect student. I haven’t always loved school; I just showed up because it was the right thing to do at that age. It was something to do. When I was younger, like about nursery school, I sort of liked it. I got to learn these things for myself that my elder sister had been trying to teach me at home, she was 5 when I joined at 3. Nursery school was ok, I couldn’t be disappointed since I had no expectations. The teachers were mini-mummies of sort, and at that age, no one was competing with my mommy for my affection, she was my life!

In comes primary school; with the promise of growing up. I thought I was some kind of special; I skipped a class you see. I was in nursery for only 2 years and from middle class was sent to P.1. It is not something that was discussed with 5 year old me. The new school year came and as was the practice, I went to my old classroom for direction. It is then that I discovered I was to cross the fence over to the other side, where the big kids were. I do not remember how scared I was but I remember crying one day. The teacher had written work on the blackboard and we were supposed to copy it. This work was more than I was used to. We used to have work cards to carry home, here we had to copy it ourselves! I seemed to be the only one finding a problem with it. You were only allowed to leave the class after you had finished. My 7 year old sister was standing at the door impatiently waiting for me. Regardless of how hard I tried, I could not write fast enough,my mind was filled with thoughts of having to walk home alone; the many kidnappers and monsters waiting to eat me! They were silent sobs, tears rolling down my face, a reflection of my helplessness. The teacher laughed at me and allowed me to leave. I was pretty much the last one there.

The next year, I was moved to a new school, a bigger school, with meaner kids and teachers. My sister’s class was way far from mine but atleast my brother was there too, right? My mother dropped me off last, I knew no one. My hand writing was horrible, I was too timid to ask anyone for anything so I often had ridiculously blunt pencils and dirty work. I did not know how to ask for erasers. I soon discovered that weakness was unacceptable here, any kind of weakness. Your work had to be perfect and you had to always be ready with answers. I knew the answers, I always paid close attention in class and I knew most of the answers but something was still wrong. I just could not write well. For that I got a daily knuckle hitting. Our teacher used to leave towards the end of every term to go and study. That was my best time ever. My knuckles celebrated. However, I was rewarded for knowing answers and writing the correct things in exams. I gained recognition, had my name read at assembly and I recieved presents.

I made friends after a while. I am not sure whether it was because I was a nice person or because I knew answers; but my friends were nice to me. They helped me fight through canteen mobs at break,and sharpen my pencils. We did not look forward to much then except holidays. We always prayed and hoped we did not end up in the stream governed by that mean math teacher who just seemed to draw alot of pleasure from inflicting pain on children.

I kept knowing the answers and was in no way anxious for final exams. I was disappointed. In hindsight, I did pretty well but at that moment, it was as if I’d failed. It was my worst performance ever! I got my second option school. Again, I did not suffer, my mother picked the admission and all we had to do was show up.

S.1 was different, every one there was bright and they knew it and they fought to keep their position at the top. I did not always know the answers and I had never had to fight for the top position. It just happened. No one told me it would be like this. They told me I had to work hard, to read hard, to revise? How is that even done? You should discuss with each other; how? I fumbled and somehow fell into the mediocre category. My days as a top student were behind me and I did not any more know who I was. My days of believing I could be the best at anything went with my school performance. I survived; more hits kept coming, hits in the form of failing at literature when I so loved to read, discovering that debate club wasn’t so much about how well you debated but who in authority was your friend, whose sister were you? who was your brother and which school was he? I tried sports but dropped out because it was just another area for me to be not good enough.

Along came A level, with the dream of being able to choose what you want to study. I approached it with renewed hope. Surely, I could do this, it wasn’t so bad..or so I thought, but it was. It wasn’t so good either. This one had an even greater pressure level, my future was at stake here. My future in the form of not being able to afford University, or my career which would determine whether I would be poor for the rest of my life or not. I tried at this, gave it alot of myself. At some point, I sort of gave up and just held onto God’s big merciful cloak for dear life, I just did not see how it would work out. By the time I finished that part, I was the only one who still believed I could make it; probably because I was the only one there in those moments of helplessly laying all at God’s feet and crying my heart and soul out. I was exhausted. That part ended. I made it somehow, got government sponsorship for a course I did not remember applying for. I soldiered on. Again, if I did not go to school, what would I do? It is not what I wanted, for the first time ever, I kind of was working for something beyond exams. I got the government sponsorship, but not the course. How dare I complain? Some people had it worse. “It is just your first degree.” “You can always do something else later on” Really? Then how come eye brows are still raised when I mention what I studied and what I chose to do after which is not in any way related?