Margaret Ntakalimaze was born in Kabale district, Southern part of Uganda in East Africa. She is a Business Administrator by profession. She is currently working with Uganda Women and Children Organisation (UWCO) as an Executive Director. She is also a Board member of Human Rights Network-HURINET-Uganda and Vice-Chairperson Hope After Rape (HAR). She is a Co-founder of FEMRITE-Uganda Women Writers Association that was established in 1997. She has worked up to-date as a trainer with ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) and Ministry of Health on issues related to gender based violence (GBV). She writes Poetry, short stories and Plays entitled ‘Watch Out’ that won a competition organized by MGLSD. This was presented as a role play during the seminar organized for Permanent Secretaries from different ministries on a workshop discussing sexual harassment at work place. Her published collection of poetry includes ‘Fear not my child’. Tales of agony and resilience, from Farming Ashes published by FEMRITE 2009. Currently, she is working on a collection of poetry book entitled ‘Behind closed doors’. She is available for readings and workshops.
Behind Closed Doors
You hear them whisper, giggle, snigger,
Whimper, moan and groan
They feet walk, run and gallop
Dancing to the tune of their creator
What God has put together slogan
Should not put asunder:
The village drunkard
The blanket had covered the sky
Total darkness prevailing in the air
The king of the jungle terrorizing the village
Tension mounting the place
Whisperings of palm trees in the air
Kyobe Wa Gabire
The village drunkard
Staggering, moving left to right
Stones and dust flying in the air
Holding a calabash of left over brewed beer
Is heard shouting and chanting songs depicting the
Hero of the jungle
Touch me and you regret
Raising his walking stick in the air
Swearing with vengeance to kill
Making his eyes painted with red
His protruding stomach threatening to blow up
You woman open least your bones get broken
Stupid you fool
The son of the soil has come
Give me what belongs to me
Don’t you understand?
That is why cows diminished from my father’s kraal.
Have you heard!!
Forced the door open
His wife lies in a pool of blood
Her arms lifted in the air
A painful cry left her lips
Her ancestors welcomed her home
The hero of the village drunkards won the race.
My shame is so deep
Drowned in a wave of sorrow
Are my tears worthy?
Holding an old dirty hankie
I stood finally by her side
My mind went stone blank
While my fingers sailed across the sharp knife
Held tight by the culprit- the racist
And in a rampage of wails and cries
The victory was on our side
Shame so deep - bullet went off
To all the hurt ever under the savage discrimination
I broke the chains of bondage
I stepped up to accept
A hard earned triumph for humanity.
I wanted just my father’s approval
But I never got it
I became a teacher to please him
Now that he is gone
I now realise how empty my life has become
I want to fall in love with a man
I do not know the first thing about getting a man
Worse is the one man I want
Has never looked at me twice
I find writing about poetry to be healing and empowering. It holds up a mirror to society to reflect and associate themselves with their values. Make us examine ourselves and dares us to question where our society is going. It is only the poetry that possesses that ability.
It reflects on today’s major moral dilemmas, the conflict between our force individualism and our urgent need for community and commitment to one another. It explorers the traditions and values society use to make sense of themselves. For instance the poem entitled ‘My Shame so deep’ talks about it.
My poetry writing often addresses the embedded topics of peace, love and violence often by addressing one within the context of the other. The poem ‘The village drunkard’ for instance, is a description and expression of the severe abuse African women face in their marital status. The composition of my work is centered on the inner lives of women, men, children and their role in society. The poems ‘Growing Up’ and Behind Closed doors’ depicts on that.
Writing poetry directs my focus, clarifies my thoughts and shapes my writing skills. It makes our lives special and soothes the soul.
Taste of Betrayal, Tears of Hope, FEMRITE Publications, 2003
Fate of an Expensive Wedding, A Woman’s Voice, FEMRITE Publications, 2003
The Goddess of the Hills, Pumpkin Seeds and other Gifts, FEMRITE Publications, 2009
Black African Beauty, Anthology by Fountain Publishers, 2000
Fear not my Child, Farming Ashes - Tales of Agony and Resilience, FEMRITE Publications, 2009
Women can we debate, Arise Magazine Published by Action for Development- ACFODE, 2009
Her last word, Beyond The Dance - Voices of women on Female genital mutilation, FEMRITE Publications, 2009
Yudaya, Talking Tales, FEMRITE Publications, 2009
You are the one, Pumpkin Seeds and other Gifts, FEMRITE Publications, 2009
Mr. Crow and Give me Five, Butterfly dance - words and sounds of colour, FEMRITE Publications, 2010