Festival Take Five : Rebecca Rwakabukoza

The #Writivism2016 festival is a week away. Starting Monday August 22 to Sunday 28, Kampala shall host a gathering of readers, writers, publishers, academics and other players in the literary sector. We are looking forward to the seven-day event and in anticipation, this blog is featuring short Q & As with previous and current staff. We are doing this in order to briefly trace the history of the festival.

This week’s Writivism Festival OG is Rebecca Rwakabukoza, who joined us in 2014 to assist with aspects of communications and in 2015 took on more tasks, including administration besides the communications portfolio. She told us a few things about her involvement.

Becky II
Rebecca (in green) with Anne Moraa at the 2015 Festival

What pushed you to get involved in #Writivism2014 and 2015 as part of the organising team?

I’d been reading about the Writivism activities during the first year. And I had a lot of thoughts and ideas on what more could be done, so I decided to join the team. It was relatively small, as I assume it still is, which made each contribution that much more important.

What fond memories do you have of the two festival editions?

I think my fondest memory was during the final stages of Writivism2014. I was juggling a lot of things and running on little sleep and too much caffeine. We usually met once week, over Skype. I remember one of the meetings because I slept in the library that day. It was an important meeting, and I know I must have said some profound things but to this day, I wonder what went on because I have no memory of it. I also might have Facebook’d in French that night.

Thinking back now, what could you have done better, regarding the plans and execution of #Writivism2014 and 2015 festivals?

There is so much we could have done better. I would have liked to figure out little details of the festival earlier: like venues, accommodation and transport. I wish instead of stretching budget to have a bigger event and have more people and do more things, we’d done less and delivered something that made us nod our heads and say “That’s right, that’s how to do a festival.” I missed that kind of quality.

How would you measure the growth of this festival in three years?

I would measure it by the number of writers who not only return but are also willing to pay out of pocket to be present for the festival. Because you know, with visa restrictions and struggling economies, it is a tough world so when someone continually prioritises you in their budget every year, then you know you’re giving them a good thing. That there’s some return of investment.

Are you proud of this baby you nurtured?

This baby sometimes gets out of hand, in the way that babies are wont to do. It is the product of the work of many people; several people have spent sleepless nights speaking French they don’t remember in waking moments. Each of us recognises bits of this baby, the bits we fought for and shouted in meetings to get. But the baby has grown.

 We look forward to having a blast at the 4th edition of the festival, with Rebecca joining us as a speaker, and you, the reader of these interviews. This is the last installment of the interviews for the series. Look out for a new series this week, introducing you to the 2016 festival events and speakers. And see you at the festival.