IT WAS JANUARY 2020, two years after graduating from high school, when suicidal thoughts lingered in his mind. Doris Mugisha, also known by his pen name as Doris the poet, was only 21, already battling issues related to poverty, disappointments and anticipatory fear. I already knew that I was no longer going to continue my studies due to financial issues, said Mugisha. I couldnt see my future. My life was characterised by the fear for tomorrow. I would think about fellow former graduates who were going to universities, have gotten different jobs and went abroad while I was still unemployed. All those things stacked my mind and I felt so empty and lost. When I was ready to commit suicide, he continued, I received a call from a guy called Warden who was a friend of mine back in high school, and he told me that he wanted me for a big deal. Mugisha stopped his “horrendous” plan and took a bus to meet Warden. According to him, when they interacted, Warden convinced him that he was capable of doing many things, and that it was his time to let the world embrace his strength. “He presented to me how we were going to start a group, call it ‘the Kingsmen’ and do spoken word poetry. From that day, the word ‘suicide’ ended on a paper. I started writing different poems expressing my feelings and healing my wounds,” said Mugisha who is currently 23. “I learned that in life, you need people who tell you that you are capable and strong to do `anything and that a motivating word can make you change your bad plans.” At the beginning of 2021, Mugisha and Warden (The Kingsmen) released their first poem called “Dear God and later Nkirimuto and Amarira YAbirabura. Throughout the process, he discovered more talents as people around him informed him that he could also be a good presenter and public speaker. After approximately one year, the group parted ways when Warden went abroad for a new business opportunity. Mugisha started solo career as ‘Doris the poet’. In his first poem, “Mivida”, he featured artiste Gisa Cy’Inganzo and in April 2022, he released “Umwana wo Mu Nkambi”, a poem based on the true story of people who were born and raised in different refugee camps around the world. According to Mugisha, his uniqueness relies on the way he composes and recites his poems in realistic ways so that even someone who doesn’t like poetry can hear it and feel impressed. “I also collaborate with a singer and try to combine different languages in a poem so that anyone who doesn’t know Kinyarwanda can be integrated,” he added. Since the day he started doing poetry, Mugisha has gained support from people who have boosted his hope for a better tomorrow. He highlights insufficient promotion as his challenge, declaring that its still hard for some promoters to accept poetry as an industry or a bridge of entertainment and edutainment. Nevertheless, he believes that if they treat poetry with the same respect as music, the audience will receive and enjoy it. He plans to continue crafting therapeutic poems so that the world can get healed through them and spread the word. My purpose is not to make people know my name. It is to make people know my poems because through them, people get free from any bad situation, he said. He can be found as “doris the poet” on YouTube and Instagram.