Angella Emurwon is woman I love to stalk. Once in a while my brain asks, what is Angie up to and I will go sniffing.
I sniffed Angie out before I met her as I searched for Ugandan radio drama playwrights. When I finally met her, I had that epic star-struck feeling. It was everything I could do to prevent myself from staring at her. But she knows none of this. To her, I was cool, calm and collected.
Working alongside Angella as a playwright was a reassuring experience. Her process is one of simplicity and making sure that the writer achieves their own voice. I heard her reiterate this many times to her mentees. She did not want them to sound like her or some other epic writer they know, she made sure they wrote like themselves and sounded like themselves. I have not asked Angie how she achieved learning her own voice but by watching her I see that she is not afraid to spend time with herself, outside the city or in writing residencies just working on her craft. You'd think that someone who has achieved what she has would ditch the "me time" and the learning because after all they know it all. Not for Angie. She is constantly learning and adjusting and enhancing. She reminds me the lessons taught in the book called, "Steal like an Artist" which speaks of the artist that is able to grab what is new or interesting and apply it to their work.
There is a common mentality of emerging artists in Uganda and in other parts of the world too, to think that learning will stop at a certain point and from then on you are revered and your opinion matters because now you are established. Yes, your opinion matters. Yes, there are those who look up to you but the learning doesn't have to stop. That is how art stays relevant. That is how conversations get started -with someone saying, how do you do that? And sometimes in certain instances, I think, it is the humility of the artist that gets them in the door rather than their work. So, if the artist assumes they have reached the peak of their learning and that they have "arrived"...well one, they seem proud and two, automatically they have nothing more to give to this conversation called life.
So I appreciate Angie who challenges me to speak in my voice and not be afraid to apply myself to constant learning and growth in the industry.