They say some things are better left unsaid. But for this one, I will have something to say. I stand to be corrected but anyone that knows Peter Kagayi Ngobi will agree with me that his passion for poetry is something you can never miss about him.
He has been on the road of writing and performing poetry for the past decade and he seems to have just started.
This incessant love for poetry saw him abandon his law career to run to the classroom and teach poetry to high school students at Nabisunsa Girls School. As if that was not enough, he took to sharpening his vocal ability to the loudest to recite every poem he wrote. This journey began while he was at the Lantern Meet Foundation where they converged every other fortnight to share poetry. Then the stage happened. Written poems were stitched into poetry productions what many came to refer to as recitals and there on stage Kagayi found his calling.
He has never left the stage since. In 2015, together with four of his colleagues, he founded Kitara Nation, a poetry outfit working in schools and communities to appreciate poetry.
The stage has become a part of Kagayi’s life and it is one sacred place he worships diligently. I asked him about his signature performance of protest poetry and he led me on into the broader perspective of the nature of his performance. He believes protest poetry is yet to find acceptance among poetry lovers since it gives the right intonation to the subject matter of many of his poems.
“What about the lawyer in you?” I ask.
He tells me he practices his law through the poetry he writes and performs. He writes about the things other people won’t write about. He writes about the things some people want to say but won’t. On a number of occasions, Kagayi has been confronted for writing angry poetry. “If my poetry can make someone angry then they have got the point.” The unapologetic poet tells me.
This kind of writing is also informed by the things going on in society that are in themselves a danger to the people. Through his wok, he encourages the poets to write their hearts out the way they want to other than giving in on how they will be perceived.
In 2016, the poet launched his first poetry collection, The Headline That Morning and followed it up with Yellow Pupu in 2018. In the same year (2016) he held his first one man production, The Audience Say Amen, an adaptation of one of his poems. The production had a number of shows held at the National Theatre, The Germany Cultural Centre and the Germany Festival in Berlin in the same year.
This year, Kagayi returns on stage with another one man production For My Negativity. For My Negativity is a one long poem broken down in in seven parts. In this production he examines his role as a poet and a lawyer in the public eye. The show takes place at the National Theatre on Sunday 9th June 2019 with only one show at 4Pm.
Photo by Open Mic Uganda