Rose Rwakasisi is an author of children’s literature, adult fiction and books of biology. I met her at St. Luke School in Kisenyi, where she is a director. She is a teacher of biology who holds a degree in botany and zoology, and a post graduate diploma in education. One would wonder how she became a writer.
‘I was a member of the literature class in my “O” level,’ she told me when we sat down to speak. ‘In HSC, I did Biology with English as a sub. I read a lot. Sometimes I go to places to speak about writing. After introducing myself and telling people what I do, they wonder what I’m doing there. But when I start speaking, they realise that in some ways I know more about writing than the “experts”. Writing is a gift. You do not have to major in the arts to write.’
The story of how she started writing for children has a motherly attachment to it.
‘I could not communicate with my children in my mother tongue,’ she said. ‘I wanted to tell them stories from oral tradition from my culture but they could not understand them. I decided to write these stories down in English and read to them. I would write the stories, read to the children and keep them. I had a pile of them after a while.’
Rwakasisi’s colleague who was familiar with her writing introduced her to fountain publishers which was looking for authors. This led to the publishing her book “How friends became enemies” in 1993, marking the start of her career as a published author. She has written and edited a number of books since, including: “The great escape”, “How rats escaped the trap”, “How goats lost their beautiful tails”, “Gift for the singer”, “Why mother left home”, “Sunshine after rain”, “The old woman and the shell” and many more. Her short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies published by Femrite.
She is a retired teacher now. Before retirement, she taught in a number of schools where she held high positions. She was deputy head teacher at “Old Kampala Secondary School”, “Nakasero Secondary School” and “Kyamate Secondary School”.
She is a curriculum developer for schools, something she says has taken most her time and prevented her from writing more books.
Rwakasisi has not let what she studied subdue her writing talent. She has written for both story lovers and students of biology. She is a testament that irrespective of what you studied, you can still charm the world with your talent.
Mulumba Ivan Matthias