Activities, Workshop

The Layer Beneath

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I’ve had a very hectic but inspiring week. I travelled to Lira for a Peace Camp where I facilitated and trained young people from all over Uganda and the US. Then leaving Lira by coach back to Entebbe for the ‘Layer Beneath’ Camp training young people in the Art of Facilitation.

On many occasions I felt I was in the Flow-the optimal experience of conciousness described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book of the same title.

Its been an truly amazing week, one I will never forget. It was made even more memorable because even though I was engaged mentally, physically and spiritually, I still managed to find the time to read Americanah the fantastic book by Chimamanda Adichie. I couldn’t put it down. In my real life I was moved as I witnessed the transformation of the youth I was working with, and then in my imagination I was stimulated by the characters of the book.


This week I felt truly blessed. Waking up with the sun in Lira to meditate, stretch and teach. During my breaks reading a few pages and then if unable to sleep reading a few pages more until sleep visited me at night. Its been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a book so much, it was hard to put it down. I could have easily spent my days just reading Americanah to the detriment of my work. Fortunately for me I love both my work and reading, so I was able to balance the two. I finished the book in 7 days and managed to witness and contribute to the personal transformation of over 50 people.

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The natural environment definately assisted me in finding the energy levels necessary. Its not easy getting on a bus and travelling 6 hours to Komboni College in Northern Uganda and then back again to Kampala where I had to catch a taxi to St Theresa’s in Kisubi. I realise how important it is to have a mission in life because when you do, you manage to find the energy to put in 100% effort into realising your goals. My goal is to be an inspiring educator.

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Upon returning home I caught up with my daughter who was happy to inform me that she has spoken with her father, as a result she felt the start of a healing of their relationship which was very necessary to her personal development. My youngest informed me of an audition she attended and her desire and anxieties about whether she would be successful in attaining her dream to attend music school. My son was sleeping after a very intense experience at camp (he attended the Layer Beneath), his sisters describing him as being very meditative.  10344364_10203857804104409_6908319588939565226_o

It was wonderful giving and recieving feedback to learners, challenging myself to maintain my energy when the emotional demands were so great. But it feels like I am living on purpose. My soul feels feed and I have learnt so much about myself and others. I even met a man who is experiencing a similiar situation to mine after having separated from his wife of 30 years.  I feel I’ve grown this year. I’ve made a commitment not to complain and trust that energetically, karmically the work that I am doing will benefit not only myself but humanity. It starts with me being the change I want to see.

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Its not easy being a mother, provider and creative artist. I struggle sometimes to find the space and time to feel I’m accomplishing anything. Am I doing the right thing by my children? Questioning how I earn more from my very unique skills set.

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I’m facing some opposition to my chosen life path, its unconventional at times and some don’t understand me.  But at the same time I’m receiving so much support and encouragement to keep doing the work I do: spreading the message of Creativity and Self Awareness to a new generation of young people.


I want to say thank you to all those who participated fully this week, took creative risks, tried new things and pushed themselves to another level of self awareness. I am at peace and in gratitude for your contribution and presence in my life.

‘When we change the way we communicate we change society’ – Clay Shirky

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Activities, Workshop 0 comments on Triple C

Triple C

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A monthly evening of poetry, visual art and conversation which aims to develop new audiences for both venue and artists
Triple C represents a new era of Ugandan Culture offering a space for the general public and artists to meet, interact, and discuss their work. There is also the added value of experiencing Ugandan coffee from different regions. Following on the legacy of events such as ‘meet the artist’ at the National Theatre, Triple C is an evening of poets (2) reading extensively from their work and Visual Artists (1) exhibiting their work in a non traditional environment. The evening will be curated and MC’d by Ife Piankhi one of Kampala’s finest performers and creative facilitators.

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Shedule for the evening:

Meet and Greet: Based on the speed dating concept, the audience will be encouraged to have conversations with different people on a topic for a limited time. Just like Facebook people will get the opportunity to interact and share ideas/opinions but face to face!
Readings from 3 Poets: Unlike Poetry in Session and Kwivuga, poets will have the opportunity to recite extensively from their work, explain the content and take questions. Both English and Indigenious languages will be read and encouraged.

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Exhibitions: Ugandan artists will be invited to exhibit pieces of their work and during the break interact with the audience as a means of promoting Ugandan art and the development of an ‘art buying’ culture alongside Ugandans very successful craft market.
Partners: Over the last 4 years Ife Piankhi has strategically positioned herself within the Creative Community in Kampala as a performer, creative facilitator and organiser. She will call on the support of organisations such as; 32 Degrees East, In Movement-Art for Social Change, Poetry in Session, BN Poetry Award, Laba Art Festival, Writing our World, Makerere University, Goethe Centrum, Alliance Francaise, Femrite, Bonfire, Kinetic Entertainment, Lantern Meet of Poets, Luminous Sorrels in order to put on an event which is well advertised, interesting and diverse in its content.

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Activism, Activities, Articles, Diarie, History, Poetry, Workshop 0 comments on Watch ‘Someone Clap For Me’ – Engaging Short Film On Kampala’s Burgeoning Poetry Scene By TAMBAY A. OBENSON

Watch ‘Someone Clap For Me’ – Engaging Short Film On Kampala’s Burgeoning Poetry Scene By TAMBAY A. OBENSON

68297_10151120489741417_293269089_nA side of Uganda (specifically Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda) that we often don’t get to see here in the USA, and which I hope you will appreciate…

Poetry has become something of a phenomenon in Kampala in recent times, just as much as the political turmoil that tends to dominate headlines both locally, and internationally.

In the below 10-minute short film directed by the Qatari filmmaker Luciana Farah, titled Someone Clap For Me, learn about this so-called “Poetry Movement.” 

This film focuses on characters like Medals, the Born-Again Politician, from whose poem the documentary title is taken, and follows the poets’ daily lives, weekly performances and numerous interactions with live audiences throughout the city. 

It was actually made via Mira Nair’s Maisha Labs in Uganda, which we’ve told you about before. In 2004, Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay!, Mississipi Masala & others) founded Maisha Film Labs – a Uganda-based film training initiative (not-so unlike the Sundance Film Festival’s filmmaker labs, or the IFP’s filmmaker labs).

The goal of the Maisha Film Labs is to give aspiring filmmakers in the East African country the tools & knowledge to tell their own stories through film, which would then help foster a self-sustaining film industry in Uganda and vicinity, that will support and represent the interests of local audiences.

I should note that the director of Someone Clap For Me, Luciana Farah, is expanding the short film into a feature, as I type this. In December, the Doha Film Institute revealed 27 projects that would receive grants, as part of its autumn funding session, and Farah’s feature was one of them.

So we’ll be watching for the feature version of the below short in the coming year or two.

In the meantime, here’s the short version: