I will never forget Emily Yapsiwa


“Never forget”, is a phrase that we used often in Boarding School to state who was the worst and best pupil in various aspects of our stay at school. The phrase was best used in writings found in latrines, on lockers or classroom walls. Today I have an opportunity to share who I will never forget.

I will never forget Emily Yapsiwa, the best writer in primary four at St. Patrick Kigulu Girls’. In my school we had a writers club run under the patronage of Ms. Lesley my English Teacher. She always took us through several writing competitions and spelling competitions for Prizes she brought back from London.


That year I joined the writers club with one motive, to get some of the nice looking pencils, pens and notebooks only found in London Supermarkets.

The first competition I was part of included a spelling exercise I failed flatly and writing a story about a close friend.

To be honest making friends then for me was harder than it is now. I was friends with everyone and having a close friend in my school made you a weakling in the eyes of the other pupils.

But Emily was rare; she had a close friend called Chiprop. She had a center for her story but I didn’t I wrote about everyone in my class. Emily emerged the winner got a beautiful diary with crayons.

I honestly knew the competition was rigged in her favour so I waited for another competition and we were asked to write about a journey we would never forget.

Emily wrote about her visit to her Father in London and included sights like the London eye. Mine was about traveling to school because every time I got to school I needed counseling.

I didn’t win that either. Between frustrations and jealous I abused Emily in front of everyone and called her a cheater, pretender and liar.


My teacher of English Mr. Kabambwe was on duty and heard all I said. He was a very quiet and humble man; who never caned pupils. When he summoned me I knew I wasn’t going to get beaten.

He asked me what that was all about. I told him Emily was winning everything and it was not fair.

He looked at me longingly and told me something I carry with me every time I try to write “you cannot write about something you don’t understand”.

H e asked me to go with him to the staff room, in that moment I knew I was breaking Mr. Kabambwe’s record of not beating students.

Once there he handed me a new note book and asked me to follow him to the library. Once there he handed me the book of Goldilocks and  the three Bears with a junior dictionary.

He asked me to read it then write down the new words I had learned in the note book with their meanings.

That week I read several books and learned very many new words. I aced the spelling exercise in the writers club and got me some candy from Ms Lesley. That was the beginning of my Writing career.

Do you have “an Emily Yapsiwa” at your school, work place or in a field you intend to pursue and they make all your efforts futile.

Well quit hating them and keep practicing, enjoy the losing because it will help you realize how bad you want it. With patience and practice you’ll soon be at the top.




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