I have never considered myself suitable for contemporary lawyering. Those close to me have always found me to be very colourful in character, which when juxtaposed with the stereotype of what a lawyer is often considered to be comes off as a bit too loud for the age-old profession. I like to think that the progenitors of this profession were much like myself but that because of time and a lack of imagination, those who tried to imitate them in their ways were only able to pick up a bland and tasteless cast of a caricature which has since been passed on to be the character associated with most lawyers.
Therefore, when I first received the correspondence to facilitate a session on Legal Aspects of Writing and Publishing with a focus on Author-Publisher Contracts, How to credit sources and quotes in your writing, What is Plagiarism? And Understanding defamation laws to a group of writers during the African Writers Trust (AWT) Informative Seminar who take their creativity seriously, something about who I really am was stirred within my soul. And when I entered the conference room at Hotsprings Villas hotel on that fateful morning, there was a permeable sense of belonging I felt.
I regularly conduct trainings and capacity building sessions in my line of work but this being my first cameo with the AWT, I was not sure what to expect. I was directed, on arrival to a room and right off the bat, was pleased that the room was bite-sized and coupled with the warm lights, created an aura of intimacy between the facilitator and the ready ears. The availability of breakfast was a nice touch not necessarily because I needed it, but in my experience, a hungry crowd is a tough crowd. I am not sure if I should credit the fact that it was a diverse gathering of people with different nationalities who may not know how unusual it is to keep time in this one, or it was the compelling discipline of the event’s organisers but whoever or whatever it was, I was all the more grateful.
When I was finally invited by the moderator to come and take a seat at the front, I was excited at the envy I would stir up in my sister later in the day, who is an incredible fan of the work of Ms. Goretti Kyomuhendo. I spent a short time there but I felt in many ways that I had created a relationship with Mr. Charles Batambuze and her that would eventually span a long time. As I suspected, there was an intimacy about the setting and the personalities present and I was comfortable enough to read a poem I had written, based on a true story. I gave myself to the listeners and I felt in every way that they gave themselves to me. I had a busy day and I had intended to stay only for the necessary hours but the weight in worth of what the other speakers had to say robbed me of the will to leave. I stayed and made acquaintance with the beautiful minds in attendance, had beautiful conversations over delicious food, bought a book and had it signed to the envy of my sister again.
Above: Fredrick, a participant sharing his view in a discussion about climate change.
Notably, it was a pleasure to attend the session on ghostwriting by the seasoned journalist Gawaya Tegule. He was so beautifully haphazard, and I was generally intrigued by the world of Ghost Writing; a world, I admit, I only got to know of on that day. I eventually had to leave when it was no longer up to me to stay, but whereas I am no longer there, the day stays with me to this day.
Benard Nakireza is a poet and Legal Associate, the mSMEGarage Ltd
C1 – Public