It was an African Playwrights class during my senior year of undergrad and my professor/mentor asked me, "Do you know any female Ugandan Playwrights?" I stared blankly at him wanting the ground to swallow me for complete ignorance of my own country's theatre literature wealth. "No, i don't". I responded.
Mind you, I was the only student in this class so there wasn't anyone else he could pose this question too. It was a hot, stuffy afternoon and we were in one the private rooms of the library and I could sense myself being self-hit with feelings of alienation and guilt. At the time I did not know just works of Ugandan theatre practitioners but I did not of african theatre works in general. How could this white old man know more african drama than I did? Yet here I was, quite familiar with the works of Chekhov, Shakespeare, Sophocles, Peter Brook, Oscar Wilde and other literature powers who succeeded in colonising my mind to what drama should look like. Grrr.
Anyhoo, so I'm introduced to Asiimwe Deborah and her play Cooking Oil. I was shook. I was like wait, she's alive and in Uganda and is still writing? I need to know her ASAP! So in that very moment, my professor opened his laptop and emailed Asiimwe so that we could read some of her other plays. From that day, Asiimwe became my heroine and showed me that I too could be a playwright.
Five years down the road I'm proud to have Asiimwe as my mentor, boss and friend. This woman is so tenacious and a go getter. If you are around her you'll have no other choice but to move forward in your dreams and aspirations because she will hold you accountable and push, push, push! She is extremely resilient and bold. I feel like I need to say that again. SHE IS FEISTY, RESILIENT & BOLD. Like...I can't even. On her most busy and frustrating days she has the air of a puppy basking under a mighty tree without a care in the universe. She's truly an inspiration for me as a producer, as a playwright and as a director. So if you see me wherever she is just keep calm! keep calm! It is ok. When she hands over the baton, I want to be there.
Thank you Assimwe for loving me and showing me a whole new world.