Book on 2016 Kasese Palace Attacks Published

By Jerome Kule Bitswande

A section of literature scholars have produced a book about the security attack on the Rwenzururu Kingdom palace that took place in November 2016 in Kasese town.

The book titled *Fire on the Mountain* is an anthology of poems and plays imagined by the writers of what could have transpired before, during and after the palace was burnt to ashes.

The palace was raided by police and military after they suspected that goons who had been attacking military installations were hiding therein, the offensive left over 100 people dead.

The publication by Dovesong Educational Publishers was edited by Dr. Danson Kahyana of Makerere University’s department of literature.

According to Kahyana, the idea to compile the book was borne of fact that there is need to keep record of whatever takes place so that it guides the younger generations in decision making when they are faced with similar circumstances.

“There is need to document what takes place for posterity purposes, we should not simply forget!”  He said.

The literature don argued that despite Kasese, and Rwenzori at large, being full of “interesting” literature material, it remains a desert of literature because of low literacy levels in the area.

“The first secondary school in Kasese was established in 1975, even then, it was Muslim founded; so in a way, it also didn’t attract many locals there.” He said, “That is why we don’t have a lot of books from the events that have taken place and maybe it’s the reason we continue doing the same mistakes”.

Kahyana says Fire on the Mountain is a good start for education literature about Kasese.

The 115 paged-book comprises of 42 poems, two plays and a speech.

It features upcoming writers including undergraduates like Harriet Kiiza, Bash Fahad Mutumba among others, and already established writers like Dr. Stella Nyanzi, Prof. Timothy Wangusa and Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare to mention but a few.

In total, the book has 23 contributors.

Kahyana’s idea of mixing upcoming writers especially those who come from Kasese with established ones is to mentor and challenge them to write more about what happens in their community.

Kenned Bwambale, one of the upcoming writers, says it was an honour for him to feature in a book with established writers like Danson Kahyana and Stella Nyanzi.

He says he has since committed himself to write more literature to highlight the plight of the people o n the Rwenzori, and by June this year, he will have his own book out.

“Kasese is rich in history, but we hardly study about it because very little is documented, this book is a motivation for me to write more.” Bwambale Said.

According to Prof Shaun Viljoen of Stellenbosch University, Fire on the Mountain invites the reader to think again about the nature of society and state in which we live but also at the same time get moved to feel, imagine the experience of Ugandans citizens and the post-colonial world.

Viljoen says the book should challenge Ugandans to think of the conflicts with feelings of anger, shame, horror, sadness, despair, hope, cynicism, irony, bitterness, sardonic distance and betrayal.

In his foreword, Prof. Christopher Joseph Odhiambo of Moi University says the book is a timeous intervention and an important reading for all those that care about human rights and humanity in general.  END.

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