By Nyana Kakoma | August 5th, 2014


“We are frightened of ourselves
Scared of our next victims.
Scared of the timing of our next tantrums.
Natural instincts cause us to isolate ourselves.
Anticipating our next victims
Anticipating our next fall.”

A few years ago, I was talking to a bunch of friends. Friends that are confident and sure about themselves. While we talked, they spoke of their colleague, an accountant, at work who had little or no esteem at all. I was curious as to why a grown-up would lack esteem so I figured out ways of becoming her friend to get my answer.

My discovery was not only life-changing but also inspirational. From interacting with her, I found out that she had built layers of walls around herself;  she was insecure, guilty and afraid of herself. She felt vulnerable because she has asthma. In her own words she said, “I keep a low profile because I am scared of myself. I am afraid that any moment I will get an attack. People have been kind to me but that makes me feel more vulnerable.”

Since then I have taken time to talk to people living with illnesses especially the ones we have gotten used to such as asthma, sickle cells, heart issues, pneumonia and others. I have documented their feelings and views of other people into a collection of short poems entitled #Layers.

#Layers is a collection of poems that takes you through emotions of people living with disease and their struggle to contain it. It’s a tale of all the layers we build around ourselves, consciously or subconsciously that make us withdraw from society, lower our esteem because we are sick or stressed out. The poetry is translated into a poetic musical play.

I believe in the power of words. Our minds have been filled, our pages stained in ink, so our words can liberate our souls, liberate our children’s children’s souls.


Rashida Namulondo is a poet, actress and Salsa genius. She won the BN Poetry Award for her poem Time in 2013.

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