Nakisanze Segawa is aspiring writer and is currently working on her first novel, When the Grasshopper Tastes Bitter based in the 1880’s. She was the third winner of the 2010 Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award. Two of her poems have been published in Femrite poetry anthologies, and two of her short stories have been published on online magazines. She talks to Beatrice Lamwaka.
What do you like about books?
Books take me to places I have never been and get to experience what happens there. Books teach me, they can make me laugh, cry and sometimes they evoke the child in me. Books are a therapy when I get stressed. Last but not least, they make me fantasise which is sometimes great. Books are part of me and I read and think about books very often.
Which are your favorite books?
I have read so many books that sometimes I am not sure of the ones which I can call my favorite. But I did enjoy Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because I got to know of the Biafra war in Nigeria. The Help by Kathryn Stockett, tells extraordinary stories of black maids’ life in Mississippi in the 1960’s. Beyond the Dance, a Femrite publication tells true story lives of women who had undergone female genital mutilation and Second Skin by Jessica Wollman, is a hilarious book that will make you laugh till your stomach hurts.
Who are your favourite characters in the books you have read?
I love reading about an assertive, strong, independent and bold female characters. They make feel inspired, and an example are Keinene in Half of a Yellow Sun, Penda, who voices women’s desire to march to Dakar in Gods of Wood Bits by Sembene Ousmane, Cassandra in Cassandra by Violet Barungi and all of Sidney Sheldon heroines.
Which books didn’t you enjoy reading?
If I don’t enjoy the book, I will not remember it, I will just put it down and will be left with nothing to recall about it.
Which are some of the books you couldn’t put down?
I just could not put down The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Second Skin by Jessica Wollman. I think it’s hard to evoke laughter from a reader. Sometimes, I feel that when I write and hope that the reader finds it hilarious, they don’t find it as funny as I had imagined. I went to sleep and woke up with these books on my mind.
Which Ugandan books have you read?
I have read Gordon Wavamuno’s biography, and got inspired. There are some amazing Luganda stories I have ever read Bbasekabaka ba Buganda by Gordon Wavamuno and Kiyitawaggulu by Crammer Kalinda. Wavamuno’s is about past kings of Buganda, which I am very interested in. Child of a Delegate by Mary Karooro Okurut introduced me to Ugandan literature. It is such a memorable story. I wish it was longer because I never wanted it to end. I also enjoyed Karooro’s The Official Wife about modern polygamous marriage which is common in our communities.
Which books are you reading?
I have just completed Patchwork by Ellen Banda Aaku; it is the first book I have enjoyed from child’s perspective. Pumpkin, the central character is a liar, not a kind of kid you want near you, but she narrates her family life in such an interesting way. I am currently reading Tsotsi by Athol Fugard. The book revolves around the main character Tsotsi who is an angry gang leader in Sophiatown, a black township in Johannesburg, South Africa. The story focuses on the transformation of the life of Tsotsi after a woman gives him a baby. It is Tsotsi turning point because of the child’s vulnerability.