Tears, both of joy and sorrow, do not live far away from the corners of the eye. They are stationed in a place that is easily switched on. The tear duct has one role to play, and that is to obey the commands as instructed by the brain. One thing that the Ibua Lounge has mastered in the short time it has been running is the idea of making that part of the brain to obey and switch on their flow.
At every beginning of the month, they stage a mini poetry recital written by a poet and take you through a two hour production which ends with a conversation with the said poet.
But that is not where the story begins.
Ibua lounge is a brain child of the Lantern Meet of Poets, a poetry foundation that has been running for the last twelve years in Kampala, Uganda. In the twelve years, a lot of water has flown under their bridge. The foundation launched out as a platform for young university students from various disciplines who were enthusiastic about poetry meeting to share each other’s work.
What began as a handful of people meeting in a university hall of residence soon outgrew the venue and there was need for a bigger place. Word has one problem. It never rests until it has made a number of rounds. And that is what happened with the ‘meet’ as was commonly known. The meet attracted very many young poets and for they needed to try their talents elsewhere.
That time, they approached the minister in charge of cultural affairs who wrote them a recommendation to have access to the national theatre as a meeting place. CICP room on the first floor of the theatre became the meeting place for the meet. Unknown to anyone be the founders or those in attendance, little did they know that the doors were to attract more talent than ever imagined. No one thought that poetry in thousands of collections would be written and archived in the course of the years to come. No one thought of their ideas that were to be born out of that small CICP room. No one knew. No one saw it coming.
The meet had a tradition of sitting in a circle. Whenever more members turned up, the circle would break the boundaries and broaden up. Each member came with a poem which they submitted the day’s chair. The rules were clear, you don’t write your name on the poem. Given that most of the members were artistically endowed, the idea of sharing hand written poems was outlawed. One had to make an initiative to produce one’s poem in print.
The chair would then distribute the poems randomly to the members in attendance andmade sure the writer did not receive their work, if they did, they had to declare and share it with someone else. This created a safer and genuine point of conversation on the poetry. The discussions were untamed. They would take the nearest direction and one poem would, if not cut short, lead to an entire evening of argument. The discussions were intense in terms of criticism, appreciation and very astute in interpretation. The faint at heart never came back after the first visit.
As the meet grew in both numbers and influence, so did the quality and standards of the poetry submitted. The poetry became more refined and crisp. It was no longer a case of writing. One had to write with some wit in it. One had to do some background research. One did not just write. Lest one suffered the tongue-lash.
The recitals began. Every year, the Lantern Meet staged two shows. They were called poetry recitals. The recitals were a string of poetry collected from the Sunday meet and woven together to form a theatrical production.
The Lantern Meet of poets held 13 theatrical productions at the national theatre. In the same time, two poetry collections were published; Broken Voices Of The Revolution and What Shall We Name This Child 2015. Both books were also titles of theatrical productions. These were the productions in their order; Tales by a campfire (2008) Fresh coat of paint (2009) Footprints in Verse- An Odyssey (2010) Word Heartbeats and Neon Lights (2011) An odyssey in verse (2012) Broken voices of the revolution (2012) Bitter Sweet (2013) The Awakening (2013) Lantern Meet and Friends (2014) What Shall We Name This Child (2015) The Man You Script (2015) Poetry Will Warm Us (2016).
In 2016, as a group, the Lantern Meet held what was termed as their last theatrical production, Moving On. As an entity, the Lantern Meet was taking off time to put its house in order. A lot of unscripted events had occurred and they had come along with changes that had to be addressed immediately. There was need to plough the ground for organic growth to take shape.
The foundation took off a year as it concentrated on building a new brand, IBUA. Ibua is an initiative of the Lantern Meet Foundation that runs Ibua (writing) labs, Ibua journal, and a monthly poetry recital called Ibua Lounge.
Unlike the theatrical productions which were a collective of poetry written by various poets over the course of the bi-weekly Sunday meets, the Ibua Lounge concentrates on works of a particular poet over a given period of time.
In 2017, Ibua Labs began with equipping and publishing writers through short story writing a process that is one year long. These short stories will be out in February 2019.
In 2018, the lounge was able to kick off with the first season which covered eight poets in eight episodes. In February 2019, the second season kicked off with the Ntwatwa Lounge.
The Ibua Lounge happens every first Saturday of the month at the SAFE BODA Rooftop. The Ibua Labs is currently accepting submissions.
Ibua Journal published its first online issue was published in 2017 on Lantern Meet.