Journal of Humanities

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Fragments of Rubadiri: student, teacher and poet

Susan Kiguli


The article explores the intersections of James David Rubadiri’s roles as a student, poet and teacher. The article draws on selected episodes, experiences and interviews on his life and work at Makerere University with the aim of addressing silences and gaps the apparent absence of Rubadiri’s full auto/biographical work creates. Relying on the archive, the paper traces three stages in Rubadiri’s life: his days as a student at Makerere, his time as a teacher at the same university and his career as a poet. I observe that his remarkable abilities and personality as attested to by his teachers during his student days allowed him to transition into a celebrated teacher and an intuitive poet later in his life. I also observe that as a student, teacher and poet, his strengths were anchored in his ability to understand the importance of being human and the shifting boundaries of human experience. Further, I touch on notions of home and exile in Rubadiri’s life and poetry, particularly in the context of Makerere University and Uganda, his adopted home. The article takes note of the polysemous yet connected roles and their significance in defining Rubadiri as one of the leading literary voices in the East African region.

Keywords: Rubadiri, archive, Polysemous human, exile, home

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