Kwivuga back to poetry basics

02:46 by Kaggwa Andrew
When Kwivuga was launched at Gato Mato in 2012, it was indeed the best thing to ever happen to poetry.
A night where over twenty talented lyricists would grace the stage without gimmicks but words, before we knew it, Kwivuga had become an in thing flocked by all socialite wannabes around town.
This though came at a cost; the art of poetry was sacrificed.
To appease the always growing numbers and keep the sponsors at the same time, the show resorted to programming comedians and musicians. They were meant to bridge the gap between the poetry diehards and those that would simply come for the fun.
It was the only known face of poetry but the poems were diminishing, not that there were no sessions of the sort before, they did exist. The Lantern Meet of poets and Open Mics did exist but none had indeed come out to make this type of entertainment mainstream like Kwivuga had.
What had made the show a hit was its ability to surprise revelers with something they were not going to find in other bars and clubs – poetry. However, with organizers literally turning it into a mini hip hop cypher with majorly Babu’s Kinetic artistes or another comedy night, the numbers deserted the show, sponsorship gone and finally on June 26, Kwivuga closed shop.
On a very low key event in October, the show bounced back with a new vision, venue, energy but the same mission – promoting poetry. This was at Legends Bar in Lugogo which was later announced as their new residence.
“Poetry is therapy, it’s about opening up, it is an art that has to be appreciated,” said Linda Butare, the show founder.
This time round, she had stripped the show off its glitz to bring it closer to the art it is meant to be; there were no unsolicited rappers and comedians to steal poems from a session, even the only one around Ruyonga, was invited to recite not perform.
That first night according to Butare is exactly what she had in mind when she conceived Kwivuga years back, a celebration of poetry for what it is than the glamour surrounding it.
The second one, too held last week on 3 November, kept to the book of values – poetry, Keko made an appearance, but it was a poetic one.
Butare is doing it like this because, she hopes Ugandans get to love the art for what it really is.
“I love the audience we have here because they are sincere, we like a family,” Butare told The Observer.
The poets too were happy with the show’s new developments, Herman Kabubi, one of the few poets with a religious following notes that Kwivuga had reached a point where it nolonger belonged to lyricists; “At times we could close minus many poets performances,” he says.
He however cautions poets to become more aggressive than before to get some shine onto their work.
Like any other artist, he says, Poets need to overstand the fact that great works will take them places; “If people feel that the works of various poets in Uganda are relevant to them, they will be interested. Content, African signature and one's Unique Selling Point (USP) are key.”
Currently performing at the Sondeka festival in Kenya, Kabubi notes that Ugandans have always appreciated the art of poetry though it’s also a role for the poets to ensure that their works are significant to their audiences.
“The role that we have as Poets is to ensure that we remove the mentality of certain people in Uganda who still think that the art form is for only the A+.”
It only remains to be seen whether Ugandans will embrace the authentic type of poetry without gimmicks of comedians, famous DJs, presenters and celebrity appearences.
Kwivuga happens every first Monday of the month at legends bar in Lugogo.

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