By CHARLES BATAMBUZE
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| Greetings Book people and all active and potential readers,
What a year that 2020 has been! While the Covid-19 pandemic looms large, writing and book publishing has become one of the resilient arts. We at NABOTU and URRO are very excited by the bold steps that the country has taken to write its literature and curriculum books. We at the same time sympathize with families of those in our ranks that lost life and businesses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Let every Ugandan include in their new year’s resolution to read a minimum of 2 books (in addition to curriculum books, the Bible, Koran and any other religious texts) in any language. This is the national target that has been set by National Library of Uganda (NLU). It is our duty to encourage you to include as many local publications as possible on your reading lists for 2021. Please note that reading includes listening to audio books. Let’s make reading books a habit.
It is a joy to celebrate writers and organizations that contributed to Uganda’s written heritage in 2020 as follows:
🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 The top five Writers and Publishers:
Harvest Institute (https://www.theharvestinstitute.org/)- a Kampala based institute offering training in strategic and servant leadership. Their graduating class of 2020 published a total of 108 new titles on different leadership themes. These books are available at the National Library of Uganda and bookshops.
A poet, Magemeso Namungalu, has written and published 44 poems on his daily reflections during the Covid-19 lockdown. He appropriately titled the anthology, “The Lockdown of Covid-19.” He has since produced audio files of the same in English, Luganda and Lusoga. Copies of the book are available at Pan World (room 4), Nkrumah Road.
Kitara Nation is Uganda’s leading poetry house with 11 titles published in 2020. Their catalogue of rich poetry includes The poetry bungalow – poems from Seeta High School, Mukono; The God players –Itah Patience Mbetkhi; Rhymes, metaphors and I –The best of Verse in Vac Poetry 2015-2020; Ungodly hour –Poems from Mt. St Mary’s College, Namagunga; Lamenting sirens –Richard Otwao; Decountryrised (I have left my home in my memory) –Acha Divine Patandjilla Lerato; Light–Rushongoza Nkabafunzaki Begumya; No speaking Vernacular–Kagayi Ngobi; Don’t love me in English–Bridget Ankunda; One day the sun will visit my home – poems from St. Joseph’s Girls’ S.S.S. Nsambya and; The Savannah knows no friends (select poems from 13 Ugandan high schools). The books can be bought from the Box Office at the National Theatre.
“It is no time to mourn”, is a new title by FEMRITE- the Uganda Women Writers Association. It is a collection of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction and paintings by South Sudanese Women edited by Hilda J. Twongyeirwe and Elizabeth Ashamu Deng. Copies of the book are available at FEMRITE Offices, Opposite Kiira Road Police.
The indefatigable Walaabyeki Magooba self-published these children’s books in Luganda: Entandikwa y’ Oluganda Book 2- A simple book drilling a reader into elementary Luganda orthography and grammar; Volongoto- A novella prevailing upon children to respect and appreciate other people’s cultures; Katemba w’ abayizi- Twelve plays for learners based on folktales from all over the world and; Wakayima atontoma-Ten poems where Mr Hare narrates how he duped and overwhelmed very huge and fierce animals. Copies available from the Sales Executive Telephone 0750535376
We acknowledge that this list is not exhaustive. All writers that have published in 2020 deserve a mention on our list. We ask you to mention these titles on our pages. We also hope that the National Library of Uganda will issue a more exhaustive national bibliography for 2020. You need to deposit your book with them in order to be included in this listing which is disseminated globally.
We congratulate 🥉🥉🥉the authors below for writing and publishing their books in 2020:
1. The first woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
2. The greedy barbarian by Kakweza Rukyirabashaija
3. Bukya baggula bifulukwa kyawandiikibwa Ulysses Chuka Kibuuka
4. Kinywa ky’amaggwa kyawandiikibwa Ulysses Chuka Kibuuka
5. Poetry in motion, revised edition published by Mattville Publishing;
6. Blank walls: Obwenyi bw’emirimago- a bilingual short story collection in both Luganda and English published by Mattville Publishing
7. When dreams die by Ronald K. Ssekajja
8. Olwendo lw’ebiyiiye kyawandiikibwa Ronald K. Ssekajja
9. Shadow of broken pieces: a poetry anthology by Nassur Taban el-Tablaz
10. The African red apple by Brighton Kigozi
11. Shadow tales by Obed Obedgiu and Kwokuboth Jalmeo
12. A lonely walk home: new edition by Joshua Kawuuzi
13. Divergent paths of life by Hosea Luwhano
14. Mine yours by Prossy Nansubuga
15. Perfect imperfections: living the dream of a marriage that lasts a lifetime by Patricia Agarukire Mulumba
16. The growing fellowship by Nest Scribes
17. A worship leader’s encounter with God: experiencing the supernatural that transforms your calling by Victoria K. Kanobe
18. Telling of God’s work: the story of Dr Joseph Tinkasimire
19. Wesomese Oluswahili n’Olungereza by Prof Pacifique Malonga and Owek. James Wasula
20. The journey of the Catholic Luganda Bible 1879-2014 by Fr Vincent Ssempuuma Kato
21. Container gardening by Emmanuel Mwesige
22. Obuntubulamu and the law by Christopher Lubogo
23. Post-conflict reconciliation and transitional justice: a case study of human rights violations in Burundi by Leah A. Ndimurwimo
24. Business law in Uganda by Okiya Jimmy Jansky
25. Law of contract in Uganda by Okiya Jimmy Jansky
26. Football my life by Edgar Watson
27. Episodes and tribulations of an African ranger by Joseph Serugo
28. What’s in a name: Kainembabazi- reflections of a daughter of the Savannah by Natasha Museveni Karugire
29. The politics of common sense by David F.K. Mpanga
30. Discovering your life purpose: volume 1 by Eshima Milton
31. The 13 apps to update your attitude: discovering your life purpose volume 2 by Eshima Milton
32. To get started one must have a destination by Eshima Milton
33. Discover Jesus biography by Eshima Milton
34. Developing God’s character by Eshima Milton
35. Investing in your time: time is investment by Eshima Milton
36. Create opportunities in crisis by Eshima Milton
37. Road to success by Oryema Tom Tabu
38. Belonging: the tale of an orphaned girl by Patience Kamarunga
39. Life in the single lane by Anita Komukama
40. Science in our day-to-day lives: appreciating the unveiled truth of applied science by Hellen Ndagire and Kizito M. Muwonge
Do you remember the self-help reading materials which the Ministry of Education and Sports produced for learners in primary and secondary schools to use at home during the lockdown? Well, this was an excellent idea to print on newsprint. We need to pursue this idea further to enable publishers to considerably cut the cost of producing leisure books. To encourage a book buying culture everywhere in Uganda, we need low priced books as a percentage of per capita income.
This was also the year that Parliament debated and expressed ire over the lack of textbooks for teaching the new Lower Secondary School Curriculum. You probably also remember that Bunyoro-Kitara was vocal about its underrepresentation in the new curriculum for history. Well, we started off the school year teaching Senior ones using exemplars of textbooks developed by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC). The good news as we close 2020 is that new textbooks for Senior 1 and Senior 2 have since been vetted by the Ministry of Education and Sports and will be available on the market soon. New textbooks for Senior 3 and Senior 4 are currently under development by publishers and will be ready during the course of 2021.
There has always been uncertainty about the future role of the private sector in textbook publishing. So it was a welcome relief when Parliament invited memoranda from the public on both the UNEB and The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) Bill. The book industry was happy with the provisions for the private sector in the NCDC Bill and only clarified that representatives to the NCDC Committees should be from the book publishing fraternity and not the Uganda Manufacturers Association.
The book industry should keep the policies below on their radar in 2021: the National Culture Policy 2006 (currently under review); the Libraries Policy (under formulation) and; the National Instruction Materials Policy 2020 (in draft form). Also important to the industry is the recently launched National Intellectual Property Policy. It’s important to participate in its implementation, especially to ensure more collection of royalties from reproductions of books and; the enforcement of a private copy levy by the Uganda Revenue Authority to provide compensations to authors, publishers and all creatives for the unauthorized digital distributions of their copyrighted works such as via WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Finally, to take interest in following up the Stimulus fund for Culture and Creative Industries which was pledged by the government.
The book sector is very rich in associations. This year 2020, we witnessed the reorganization of the Uganda Booksellers Association (UBA). A strong UBA is needed to enforce the bookselling code of ethics which is one of the ways for self-regulation and ensuring that writers and publishers get paid for supplies. UBA will also represent Uganda in the Pan African Booksellers Association (PABA). All bookshops in Uganda are encouraged to become members of UBA.
In addition, every book industry player is encouraged to join their relevant association as below:
· Uganda Publishers Association (UPA)
· Reading Association of Uganda (RAU)
· Uganda Printers and Packaging Association (UPPA)
· Uganda Textbook, Academic and Non-fiction Authors Association (UTANA)
· Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE)
· Uganda Children’s Writers and Illustrators Association (UCWIA)
· Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA)
· Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA)
· PEN Uganda
Only associations can become members of the National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) which is an umbrella organization bringing together the private and public sector players to promote authorship, publishing and a culture of reading.
Authors and publishers that have not yet joined the Uganda Reproduction Rights Organisation (URRO) are at a grave risk. URRO was licensed by URSB in 2014 to work as a collecting society or collective management organization (CMO) for literary works.
You join by assigning your right of reproduction to URRO. There are many benefits of joining URRO such as: protection of your copyright; royalties are collected for you from both local and foreign users of your work; ease of giving authorizations to users of your works and; reciprocal protection for your work in other countries. To get a copy of the mandate inbox 0772580287.
We invite you to support the local book value chain by buying and reading a local publication. You contribute to growth of our local cultures, creation of jobs and expansion of our GDP every time a local publication is bought. We also invite you to support the Copyright law to work in Uganda by assigning your mandates to URRO and; if you are a user, by seeking out a royalty license from URRO that authorizes reproductions of books and other literary works.
We wish you a Prosperous and safe 2021. #StaySafe.
(The author is the Executive Director URRO/NABOTU)