Ebifananyi 4, Simuda Nyuma, Forward Ever Backward Never

264 pages | June, 2015

Simuda Nyuma is the title of a trilogy written during the 1930s by Ham Mukasa (1870-1956), who was an important chief of Baganda – a kingdom in south-central Uganda. Being highly educated and one of the first literate in the region, Mukasa wrote about the lives of three kings that ruled Buganda from ca. 1850 until the 1930s.

Inside Mukasa’s family collection, which includes photographs, books, manuscripts and documents, I found a list with descriptions for illustrations. These illustrations were meant to be shown in the trilogy on the life of the three kings, but were never created. Intrigued by this document, I invited Ugandan and Dutch artists to interpret and create the illustrations. As a result, the book presents the story told by Ham Mukasa via a combination of documents from the family archive and new illustrations made by various contemporary artists, which place the unknown history into today’s setting.

This book is the backbone of the Ebifananyi book series. It dives into the culturally and historically defined position of photographs in the local context of Buganda specifically and Uganda at large. Some thoughts on the title of the series as well as the title of Ham Mukasa’s book by Robinah Nansubuga and Nathan Omiel can be found here.

Ebifananyi 4 includes important contributions by Achola Rosario, Emmanuel Lwanga, Eria Nsubuga, Fred Mutebi, Ian Mwesiga, Nathan Omiel, Papa Shabani, Robinah Nansubuga, Violet Nantume and students from Uganda Christian University and Academy Minerva.

The book can be ordered here.

The work(s) and images in this book have been presented in several exhibitions. This and this one in the Netherlands. And this one in Uganda.