Samie uses poetry to transform society

At 23 years of age, Sam Asiimwe Ruhindi’s poems deal with weighty issues aimed at transforming society; out of the over 21 poems he has completed so far, three easily stand out: Ode To Our Future Generation, Dear Girls, and Whom Will I Be? Of the three, Whom Will I Be?, is the most popular and also his personal favorite. He wrote the poem while still in High School at Lycée de Kigali.
Asiimwe Sam Ruhindi aka Sammie.  (Courtesy)
Asiimwe Sam Ruhindi aka Sammie. (Courtesy)

At 23 years of age, Sam Asiimwe Ruhindi’s poems deal with weighty issues aimed at  transforming society; out of the over 21 poems he has completed so far, three easily stand out: Ode To Our Future Generation, Dear Girls, and Whom Will I Be?

Of the three, Whom Will I Be?, is the most popular and also his personal favorite. He wrote the poem while still in High School at Lycée de Kigali.

“People liked it immediately. Someone took the original copy that I wrote on paper using a pen and I had to make another copy. On my poetry blog it has the biggest number of views. Even at poetry open mic events, I’m always requested to specifically recite this poem,” says Samie, as he is commonly known.

His first poem, Master Healer was written in 2012, while in O-Level.

“I was in the school library and came across a book with many poems. When I went back to class I was inspired to write something. I got a piece of paper and started to write some lines,” he recounts.

“I talked about the struggles that mothers go through to raise their children.”

He kept writing and the following year, a friend talked him into creating a poetry blog and today, it’s where he posts all his poems and gets to interact with his growing fan base.

Currently he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Technology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, (JKUAT), in Kigali. 

He first fell in love with weaving words in 2006, while in primary school. “We used to recite a poem about AIDS and it was like a school anthem,” he recalls, and explains that “poetry has got nothing to do with age. It’s about passion.”

Samie’s poem, Dear Girls, was selected best English poem at last month’s Transpoesis poetry slam at the Impact Hub in Kiyovu. Transpoesis is a monthly poetry competition in which about a dozen young poets and poetesses tussle it out on stage for the best in English, Kinyarwanda and French poems.

The event has been steadily growing in popularity and the last event drew a few poets from neighboring countries.

 “I like talking to girls and discussing with them. They always come up and tell me that boys are the same. They are all players.

I know some sometimes we might not mean our words, but not all boys are that way. We are born to be brave and loving and caring and responsible, not players. One in a million is not a million in one. One boy could be a player, so that’s one boy in a million, not a million boys,” he explains the inspiration for the poem. 

In his poem, Ode To The Future Generation, Samie questions “what’s going on around the world today – the bombings and killings in many parts of the world.

“Every year ceasefire agreements are signed but we still have more than 64 million refugees. So my poem asks; Is this love that we’re preached to everyday? Where is the humanity?”

The poem opens with the statement;

“If you tell me facts, I’ll learn, if you tell me truth I’ll believe, but if you tell me a story it will live forever in our hearts.”

“I was asking; do we have the facts that will make future generations learn? Do we have the truth that will make them believe? Do we have a story that will live forever in their hearts? Because killing has become a normal thing which doesn’t shock people anymore, and bombings dominate the news headlines every day.”

He admits that his poems draw both positive and negative feedback.

“There is this place I used to work and my colleagues asked why I do poetry, adding that poetry is for girls.”

Other times, he is asked if he ever hopes to join the ranks of some of the more recognizable names in contemporary Rwandan poetry –names like Angel Uwamahoro and Natacha Muzira and Eric 1Key;

“I always remind them that everything and everybody has got their own time.”

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Sam Asiimwe Ruhindi, aka Sammie (C) receives a prize for his poem, Dear Girls at a past poetry competition . 

Samie is all praises for Natacha Muzira and Angel Uwamahoro, as two of the people that have guided him in his poetic journey. His dream is that one day, he too will go places on account of his talent. 

In Dear Teachers, a poem he is currently working on, Samie takes on school teachers and the challenges that average students face at school.

“There is this thing where a teacher tells a student to give up on a certain subject because they are poor at it. I have many friends who dropped out of school just because teachers told them they couldn’t make it,” he explains, adding;

“While in senior one, I went to Uganda to check on my friends, who I studied with in primary. I found around ten of them had got married. When I asked them why, they explained that they had got fed up of insults from their teachers. I had a similar problem with Mathematics. In S.2 my teacher used to tell me that Mathematics wasn’t my thing and that I should leave his class. He would beat us every morning, until a point when we would go into hiding during Math lessons. My definition of a teacher is someone, who helps students discover what they already know and put it into practice. You can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. Even average students can be understood, they can be helped and they can also be great.” 

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Samie’s Poems

 

Whom Will I Be

Lying here and my eyes wide open

As I reminisce on words of angel mom

She was always fascinated about my future

And now couple of years after

She crossed the Styx

I get in the same mood

About whom will I be

Ese will I be a man

And own my family

A wife to grow old with

And we have winsome children?

Will I be a leader

Maybe a minister or

An ambassador of my country

In a country far from home

And have that spinning chair in my office

Also move in those big cars

Oh future answer me.

 

Dear girls

We are really blessed to

Have you by  our side

But I need to ask you a favor, warning

It’s about the words you call boys

Yes sometimes you might be

Kidding but sometimes kidding

Turns into reality.

Dear girls

Every boy is not

A creepy manhore

Player or womanizer

And many as you call them.

 

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