Human rights advocacy in the poetry of contemporary Ugandan women poets: Susan Kiguli and Mildred Barya
Atuhaire, Shallon Moreen
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The purpose of the study on “Human Rights Advocacy in the Poetry of Contemporary Ugandan Women Poets: Susan Kiguli and Mildred Barya” was to investigate the contribution made by Ugandan women poets in their society as well as investigate whether women writers have other human rights to advocate for beyond and above advocacy for women’s rights. The objectives of the study were to identify the human rights concerns addressed in Kiguli and Barya’s poetry, the lessons learnt from those poems, and the effectiveness of the stylistic devices used by the poets to achieve human rights advocacy. This study investigated the view that women writers in Uganda have dwelt on their point of view at the expense of the issues that affect the Ugandan community. We proved that much as they have handled some issues from the woman’s point of view, the women poets have not been blind to the plight of other people regardless of their gender The researcher found out that the themes of death, tyranny, bad governance, and poor living conditions are major characteristics in Ugandan poetry in general and in most of the selected poems in this study in particular. Whereas some critics have claimed that whatever a woman does, she is competing with the man, this research has found out that women writers are not necessarily fighting for space but rather are contributing to humanity’s existence and the development of their society at large. The researcher concluded that Kiguli and Barya address similar concerns in respect of human rights advocacy, for instance the rights to life and other civil and political rights, rights against torture and other forms of cruel treatment, the rights of the children as well as rights against discrimination against women. The two poets differ in style, language use and presentation. They are concerned with the rights of all individuals and are not limited to only the women’s rights and their contribution to the field of poetry and development of their society cannot be over emphasised. Finally, an analysis of the two poets found out that their contribution to the development of poetry and their society goes beyond feminist concerns and cuts across almost all universal human rights concerns.