Ronald K Ssekajja: Dancing on Broken Lines

Dear Father,

We were taught at school to greet in the letter yet I don’t know how to greet you without saying “how are you?” Tr. Grace emphasised that you don’t greet your seniors with HOW ARE YOU.
So I really don’t know how to greet you here today.

I also find it odd that I have to call you father in this context. You are my father but the language I find the confidence with which to express myself only brings out the true meaning when I call you ‘daddy’ yet I don’t feel comfortable as well calling you so.

Calling you Daddy is far fetched for me. Daddy is what my P3 best friend Paul used to call his father. It always left me thinking of how I could go about us. But you see Paul’s daddy used to drop him at school with pocket money for break. He picked him from school and they always went to church together. This doesn’t apply for us. That’s why I find it hard to call you daddy. I should stick to father only that I am afraid it may make you sad.

I still want to see you happy dancing to kwasa kwasa with your feet tightly held together tapping on the ground. By the way, I have never told you this and perhaps never will but it was through you that I learnt to dance. I would imitate your dance moves every time you were away then teach them to my friends at school. I was your only son and you taught me how to dance Kwasa kwasa.

Every time music played on your untouchable cassette you painted memories in my mind yet I can count how many those few times were. The boy in me longed for a daddy. You were far away and I wondered why I wasn’t like Paul.

Now that I am a fully grown man, I wonder what precedent I am setting before my own children. My childhood disappeared before I realised leaving a grown up longing for the past. I found a place on the dancing floor pulling off Jaba moves and simply like that I crossed to adulthood.

I have come to find a place in poetry where my emotions find a place in the body of words softly chosen. Only through them do I get to get away from living in your shadow.

I still get lost in my childhood thoughts wondering whether we shall ever go back to recreating the relationship a father and son have. All that remains is a broken record of us dancing on broken lines.


Your dear son,



You can get a copy of this book at African Studies Bookstore or Turn The Page.

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