UN SDG Book Club Interview Series talks with Hamisi Babusa, author of 'Kijiji cha Ukame'
23 June 2021
With more than twenty years of writing experience, Babusa's book 'Kijiji cha Ukame' was selected for the UN SDG Kiswahili Inaugural Reading List
Originally from Kenya, Dr. Hamisi Babusa, Kenyatta university administrator and lecturer in Kiswahili and Language Education, is also founder of Babusa TV, an online Kiswahili channel which testifies to his passion for developing content for children. Hamisi Babusa is also a creative writer and an academic writer, with several books to his name.
How long have you been writing children’s books?
I have been writing for more than twenty years.
What inspired you to take up the SDG challenge?
I discovered that nearly all my books were thematically based. Submitting to the SDG Book Club was exciting and challenging.
The main focus of the SDG Book Club is to inform and educate children; can you describe briefly how were you able to create a fusion of entertainment, education and information?
My books are all fused with educational information. I make them entertaining by using fantasy stories.
How do you carry out research for your book?
I read a lot of books and watch series and movies.
So far, what has it been like being a writer?
I would say so far, it has been a very exciting and satisfying journey.
What was your ambition when you were younger?
I have always wanted to be a writer.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I do a whole lot of other things. Besides being a writer, I am also a lecturer. I teach language education at Kenyatta University. I also have an online TV which I created specifically for children. So, yes, when I am not writing, there are loads of other things to manage.
What were the challenges you faced when writing for the book?
Basically, I would say trying to marry knowledge with stories; but then, I managed.
Describe how were you able to build the main character of the story?
For 'Kijiji cha Ukame', the main character is a girl called Binti Kitabu. She is a mysterious girl who gets powers from reading certain books to control animals, insects, birds, wind and others and uses these powers to solve societal problems.
Is there an underlying story, or was the book basically product of your imagination?
The books were my own creation.
What was the inspiration for the story?
I love exploring new methods of writing.
What advice would you give to young readers across the continent?
For a writer to develop his writing skills and nurture his talent, he or she has to read a lot of books and you have to be patient.