Poetry Queen: Nakanyike’s rise to the pinnacles of free verse

“I am a master of my spoken words and a slave to those which remain unspoken,” Ankita Singhal.

Caroline Nakanyike performs on stage in Kampala, a show organized by Christian Poets in Uganda. Since childhood, she has been mastering the art of poetry, oral presentation and public speaking. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Caroline Nakanyike performs on stage in Kampala, a show organized by Christian Poets in Uganda. Since childhood, she has been mastering the art of poetry, oral presentation and public speaking. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Everyone’s life on earth is not a mistake; if there is one thing to claim, everyone is born with a purpose, and so are they all abled differently.

Born in 1999 and raised in Kigunga, Mukono District, Uganda, the young girl’s dramatic personality was noticeable from birth.

Growing up, Caroline Nakanyike developed a passion for acting, but the moral decadence she met in the movies she had watched in the long run choked and withered her interest.

However, it didn’t trash her passion for speaking, so in her Senior 4 (high school), her friends nominated her to be the prom MC, and since then, her Dad branded her ‘MC Carol’.

Her entire family embraced it, and she became the family MC.

After her Senior 6, she won a government scholarship and studied for a Diploma in Secondary Education. This gave her a platform to identify her ability in writing and poetry.

“I am a solo poet. I don’t subscribe to any house though… but I love sharing and networking with others or organizations. I’m also a Rotary actor at Rotary International,” she identifies.

Nakanyike, a Ugandan poet, a Bleeding Ink Global Writers Society member, and a passionate spoken word artist, has since discovered her unique skills in public speaking, poetry, and oral presentation.

In her performances, Nakanyike has expressed herself so confidently that her art has become her excitement and motivation to others.

She finds it so pleasurable to keep inviting and motivating the world through creatively crafted compositions, later, into verbal presentations.

Hosting talk shows and promoting poetry recitation takes the greater percentage for her passionate indulgence.

Her journey, achievements

“I seriously started poetry early last year. Later, I joined Poetry Association of Uganda in November, a group that brings poets together in Uganda. I have performed on stage once, and I have a number of poems that are still in production.”

Nakayike was recently nominated for an ongoing Teenzcrown Show competition.

Her enthusiasm as a prolific writer soon earned her an administrative position as a writer for an NGO —Namma Wellness Community Centre.

Through monthly training, a program that took place at Teenzcrown, and out of over 70 people who participated, Nakanyike was nominated.

If she wins the competition, she will become a TV host for the Teenz Crown Show, which features on Magic 1 and UBC, a platform for different poets and artists.

Recently, her friend told her that she could earn from her art and Bridge the experiential divide at Teenzcrown.

That was a timely opportunity that put her in a better position as a writer and poet through monthly training.

“Out of over 70 participants, I was nominated because I managed to be among the top ten scholars in the program. Isn’t that amazing? I have been writing for some time, but I have only performed on one stage, and it is already taking me to greater heights. Isn’t that awesome?” she explained amidst uncontrollable excitement.


In all fields of life’s bargain, there must be hassles and huddles bound to either break or build you, and Nakanyike is not an exception.

“Harsh criticism, lack of market for our artistic works, and appropriate channels of dissemination are challenges we face. The available channels are either too crowded or chaotic to be noticed.”

Another challenge she faces is the lack of enough time to balance work and her creatives, thus few live performances.

“Being creative requires a lot of time and commitment, so most times, people have contacted me for projects and I turn them down because of my tight schedule,” she says.

To budding poets                             

There is a lot to hope for. Poetry is full of expressions and bliss. Just like she has had endless elation in poetry, anyone else can.

Someone should learn to love and live what they like. This optimism on its own shelves should be motivation enough for every writer out there.

“I hope no one coerced any poet into this genre of literature. This is only conceivable out of free will; your passion for it keeps you moving forward.

Don’t be too proud to learn. In fact, make the improvement room the largest ‘room’ in your artistic world. Learning something new is the only way you can improve your craft,” she advised.

There is a significant gain in painting for you the nature and relevance of Nakanyike’s poetry to contemporary society.

As an African and artistic activist, she has often found herself repeatedly writing about matters of weightier concerns.

She focuses on Africanization, cultural alienation, poverty, unemployment, immorality, and urbanization, among other contemporary issues.

Nakanyike, a very enthusiastic and outgoing lady who wakes up intending to add value to herself and others daily. A kind and very emotional poet entertaining no negative energy. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Nakanyike is an enthusiastic and outgoing lady who wakes up intending to add value to herself and others; a kind and very emotional poet entertaining no negative energy. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Vivid description, rhetorical questions, sarcasm, and other styles are selectively used to affect her intended messages as is in the below poem.

The Trade

What did they bring?

Do you know what they brought? Do you like it?

My brother It’s all up to you to like it or not but allow me to boldly tell you that …

What they brought wouldn’t be bad but it directly tampered with our roots and so all we have is diluted, and duplicated.

What happened to our skin tone of black chocolate that was full of melanin …?

Bringing up creams to dissolve what God saw as perfect is what the co-creators have done.

Turning it into reddish, brownish, greenish and ironically calling it white … oh what a mockery!

What happened to our natural hard black hair that made black girls proudly raise their necks high?

What happened to our men’s afro that not only made them attractive but also defined them … real Afro-can men?

Now the creams have made the hair look like that of animals yet gods saw it as perfect to leave it hard just to differentiate man from cats, dogs, rabbits……

And as if that is not enough, the creams now turn the hair into gold, pink, blue, purple, silver… sweetheart, which color do you want on your head?

Making girls look like Christmas trees,

No! I mean scarecrows all in the name of beauty.

So they affirmed we had no God,

Yet under the trees we always worshipped

The beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, and valleys have been replaced with iron sheet buildings.

Named us illiterate because we couldn’t read, write, or speak English.

Excuse me, do you have an idea about the wise saying and proverbs, riddles, and tongue twisters my grandmother used to tell me around the fireplace? Can you even challenge her? “Koyi koyi, olwatuka”

Do you know how I always attained knowledge from teachers who didn’t go through institutions to cram facts and transfer them to me?

The fees have replaced the freedom of mind that we always had,

Paying for an examination breaks my heart because for how long will I be stuck in this slavery?

Really! Really!

Is it worth it paying for failure in the name of retakes, remedial ….

The fun is no more since the struggle for marks has broken every one

My little john who is just six wakes up at 4:00 am,

4:00 am to study yet it is said that all work no play makes john a dull boy

So is this education impacting knowledge us dull?

Well, that is just a rhetoric.

Last week I told my grandmother that I needed UGX 500, 000 to attend a campfire and the confusion in her eyes showed me how hesitant she was,

Probably calculating how firewood, a match box and goats’ meat would total up to her annual savings.

Wow! The pain of seeing what was formerly free being sold to us expensively and we aren’t seeing this….

We have actually reached a point where it is not actually trade but real robbery.

I sometimes sit down and wonder who the hell invented monogamy?

One man, one woman,

Yet in the name of being faithful people cheat.

The honesty and confidence that the African man had has all been erased

Two women, three women was once pride but now shame,

The unity has turned into jealousy.

I mean, the few men who don’t cheat have women that cheat

So what is better? Doing things in the dark or being as open-minded as our grannies.

Hmm! so my mum teaches me just like her mum taught her, that my skirt shouldn’t be above my knees but when l see my colleagues exposing a bit of their thighs, they not only attract the other gender but also their own gender because honestly who wouldn’t want to be classy?

Hmmm… Have you been to the beach?

Where the half skirts are put off and nickers trend

And we don’t call them nickers with bras, bikinis are the name.

Allow me to say one more truth,

It is fun. Fun is a trend, trend is fun.

Am starting to realize I don’t have the kind of hatred that l am trying to portray for the so-called modernity.

If I do then why did I choose to be a scholar of English language and literature in English and not Acholi?

So, all you have heard was just a joke and after all, it is just a trade.

Caroline Bridget Nakanyike.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: POETRY: Focusing on Mercy Geno, a ‘shy’ poet from Uganda

For any networking, services, or information, you can get to Nakanyike via email: caroline20bridget@gmail.com, Instagram @Caroline Bridget Nakanyike or Twitter, @Caroline 20BN.

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Mr. Otieno is a Literature enthusiast, an English/Literature teacher, a writer, poet, playwright, and novelist. He is the President of the Bleeding Ink Global Writers Society, a detail-oriented columnist, and a literary critic. His contact: bonfacetieno551@gmail.com



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