Sam Iga

Iga Zinunula is a Veterinary Assistant. He also studied Agriculture at Makerere University, majoring in Livestock sciences. He has engaged in rural development work all over Uganda since 1990, in government and in the NGO world, focusing on producer organisations, agricultural markets and food security. Currently he is mostly engaged in development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and growing a family business in real estate. He is a member of the editorial board of FEMRITE.

His poetry has been published in newspapers in Uganda, in Makerere University’s literary journal, Dhana, in the Uganda Poetry Anthology 2000 and in Painted Voices – a collection of poems and short stories with accompanying depictions rendered by fine artists – spearheaded by FEMRITE’s Readers Writers Club of which he is an ardent member. Perhaps his most outstanding poem, Africa In Pain, has been used alongside work by renowned poets such as Susan Kiguli and Timothy Wangusa in profiling Ugandan literature. Iga is currently working on publishing a collection of his ‘scribblings’, as he calls them.

In 1997 Iga married his university best friend Pat, and they now live in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, raising their little brood of three sons and one daughter in the serene suburb of Kabowa, traveling often in and outside Uganda.

 

Creative Work from the Sticking to my Footsteps anthology

 

Before The Lips Went Missing

I saw in the papers

The woman

Whose lips were not there

Taken by the war in the north

And I remembered this story:

 

Tortoise was conscripted

To record the goings and comings

Of all the animal kingdom

And soon he proposed

To note footprints

 

Squirrel dashed by

Hopping and trotting

To and fro, nest and granary

And Tortoise noted

 

Guinea fowl came by too

In multiples of two

And picked a lot from the yard

Where the grains were spread to dry

And Tortoise noted

 

Python came by then

Emptying nests

Of eggs, chicks and chickens

And Tortoise noted

 

But then Elephant came by

The gardens were flattened

The reed fence broken

The barns emptied

 

When the master returned

Tortoise presented

The catalogue of footprints

But to him, the master

There were not any but the elephant’s.

 

I looked at the picture again

The teeth had rotted

Before the lips went missing.

 

 

Calligraphy

 

I like the way we relate

 

Driblets fall off you

Into me

Dots, i’s, cords

Rivulets forming words

Feelings, sensations

Inside of me

 

A glint in my eyes

A lump in my throat

A choke in my chest

Flutters in my tummy

 

Tail, holding onto a butt

Y coiling, to a belly below

A tailing into b touching bellies with d;

Omen!

To form abdomen

 

And I purr

Squelch

Wriggle

Flutter

In the wind

In my head

 

Oh!

The pen is

All the things

I love!

 

Calligraphy of my fantasy

Plain plane I am

I surrender to you.

 

Hacking Away

 

The engine caught, coughed and revved

Over the dusty pot-holed track

It stabilised and settled to the arduous journey

Mile upon long mile it groaned

 

Hacking away

 

In the stifling confines of the rattling cab

The simmering heat of the late morning sun

Wiping the clammy sweat off my brow, I thought

There must be a dogged little germ in me

 

Hacking away

 

I saw by the roadside a felled tree

Huge, long and beginning to wither

A middle-aged woman with her ancient tool

Blow, blow by puny blow

 

Hacking away

 

Her man brags the length of the village

Having felled the biggest tree

His children will be born and fed

As long as he is alive and well

 

Hacking away

 

Should she grow too weak to chop at his log

He will readily put another in her place

To handle the ancient tool and work

As long as his big log lasts

 

Hacking away

Her children sit at their meal

Tiny little pincers going to and fro

A large steamy mound besieged

Nine little hands set to work

 

Hacking away

 

She will be quite exhausted tonight

Still the log feller, usual smell to his breath

Will spend quite a while at his rights

Full dish and the rest

 

Hacking away

 

And I thought, what a life!

A dusty pot-holed truck

A tiny persistent germ

A large withering log

A diminishing steamy heap

And we spend it all swinging

The same ancient tools

 

Hacking away.