Author: Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa (Nevender)
Publishing House: Scribe House
Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa, better known by his pen name, Nevender, was one of the best people that have ever lived. I’m not even exaggerating. There was something about him that just made people want to orbit around his brilliant sun. Maybe it was his smile, maybe it was the fact that when he focused on you, you’d feel like the most important person. Maybe it was his courage and passion. Maybe it was his unwavering belief in God. I’m not sure. What I do know is that without his tireless efforts, the Uganda literary scene would not be as vibrant as it is today.
As I’ve mentioned before, my best friend Alex Kirungi, who succumbed to sickle cell anemia in 2014, was the one to first encourage me to go the blogging route. It wasn’t even based on anything of mine that he’d read, he just liked the way I worded my texts to him. Nevender (who knew Alex) is who I attribute my staying in blogging to. It was the way he valiantly led the blogging community, making it something we all wanted to be apart of. Something we were all happy and proud to be associated with.
Nev succumbed to sickle cell anemia on 11th Feb 2018. He died a few months after he’d released his first book, a small teaser poetry collection called Pumpkin Soup. Emonevate is his second book that was published by The Nevender Legacy, a group of Nev’s family and friends who are dedicated to keeping his legacy going, and who will be publishing more of his work.
Man has always been concerned with immortality and legacy. How he will be remembered when he’s left the mortal plane. Nevender’s Legacy is intact and he lives on through these words. He is made alive by his words.
Poetry is magic. It’s emotions and worlds and feels packed in just a few words. Poetry can make you feel affirmed, hopeful, understood, loved, and appreciated. Reading this book brought me back to the magic that made me fall in love with poetry in the first place.
I can’t really speak about the technicality and style of the poetry as I am not a learned poet. I am just someone who adores the craft. What I can speak/write about is the magic of these words. The depth to which this collection goes. The fact that a dead person is made alive with these poems.
Paul Sengooba, who did the cover design for this book, deserves all your money for all your book cover designs. There’s something very whimsical and magical about it that just screams, “Read Me!”
The first poem in the book is a hilarious account on how to tell a woman you love her called, Becoming a Man. Just as a sneak peek:
If you’re going to tell a woman you love her,Becoming a Man – Joel ‘Nevender’ Ntwatwa
Do it Stark raving mad.
Like a Spartan without a breastplate facing Persian hordes
Mouth open with a roar.
Spear raised to the sky
One foot forward
Ready to fly
After that opener of a poem, Nev then takes us into the mind of a person who has loved and loved deeply (Like a Fairy Tale, Dearest Ugandan Girl). He lets us explore his unwavering belief in Christ and also lets us in on his staggering hope (Unseen Realms, Where I Belong, Awash in His Love) . Nev lets us see that he is a man not afraid of death, rather a man that has accepted that it is an inevitable part of his life’s journey (They’ll Carry Me, Dying). He also writes about politics, friendship, pain, heartbreak, the darkness of life, and loss
This collection is but a glimpse into a man that was larger than life. There was too much life contained in his body, it makes sense that after his body gave up, he lived on through his words. I can’t wait to read what else of his is published. I’m truly honored that I was asked to write this review.
For anyone that was a fan of Nev, this book and the one came before it, is a must read. This book is a must read anyone that wants to get to know a truly phenomenal man. It’s a must read for lovers of poetry. It’s a must read for those who want to know what this poetry thing is all about.
Check out the image below to see how you can purchase the book.
I greet you in the name of Hope
It’s that river that never runs dry
That light that never goes out
That word that never leaves the mind
That hand that always holds yours
I greet you and say, ‘Always give it one more day’ ”