Remember your childhood years? Joggle your brain. What comes to your mind? Perhaps, the good old days as a child, playing outside with other kids? Or those days when you came back home with dirty clothes, making mum and dad angry with you? Yes, playing carelessly yet with much concentration with your childhood friends, sometimes, to the extent that you forgot to do the usual daily domestic tasks like fetching of water or firewood assigned to you. And the school? Or maybe a little bit of a truant, coming up with sometimes flimsy, watery excuses to convince your parents why you should not go to school today. As a child, you once wished to become a doctor, engineer, lawyer, police officer ….(go on, continue counting) when you grew up. In most cases, those dreams and aspirations died a premature death – with our childhood. Most of us never tried to dream in colours. Nor did they realise their ambitions. But some did. Others try to. He sure does. Meet Liam Katabira, the young Kata Kata Ambassador.
Liam Katabira is not just like any other kid; he is a reminiscence of what a disciplined and focused child should be. At just 7 years old, when many other kids are busy playing outside and dodging going to school, Liam knows exactly what he wants in life. More than that, he is taking steps to make his dreams and aspirations a reality. His dream is to become a writer. And a writer, he is. His creative thirst does not affect his desire to excel in school. For sure, pursuing his dream to become a writer and doing well in school can be quite a challenge. But Liam Katabira is simply equal to the task because he knows the burdens ahead of him. And he is determined to have them accomplished. This is what leadership is all about. Set out a goal and accomplish it.
As the Kata Kata’s young Ambassador in Africa, we are fully convinced that Liam Katabira will be an inspiration for other kids. Having in mind that kids are undoubtedly the leaders of tomorrow, we want to encourage other kids to come on board and be creative. We strongly believe that by encouraging kids to become great writers, they will become very conscious and critical of their environment. That would equally create a better world for all of us. To become a good leader, one must be conscious of their environment.
With Liam Katabira as the captain of the Kata Kata Young Writers’ locomotive train, we challenge other kids to come on board and discover their creative talents as well as create a better future for themselves!!
Please enjoy our interview with our talented, inspirational and creative little Ambassador Liam Katabira:
Can you kindly introduce yourself to the readers?
Liam: I am Katabira Liam Jason. I am 7 years old. I live in Wakiso District in Uganda with both my parents. I have one brother called Len David Musaazi.
In which school and grade are you?
Liam: I go to school at Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School Nakasero. I am in Primary Two Orange.
It is indeed amazing to see a child of 7 years old, not just knowing what they want but equally aspiring to achieve that. You should be proud of yourself. I guess my obvious question is: Why do you want to be a writer?
Liam: Actually, writing is fun and I enjoy doing it at this age. I have watched good stories on television like Bob the Builder and Sponge Bob square pants. I want to write stories that can bring happiness to the world like those stories that I have watched on television.
What do you want to achieve as a writer?
Liam: I want to write so many stories that can be published as a children’s storybooks and will be read by many children or watched as cartoon movies on television. I want to visit so many children, even in the villages to read my stories.
I want to go to many places in the world so that I read my stories and tell the people that children also have special talents.
I also want to make many stories on the computer so that so many people see them. Kata Kata Cartoon Magazine has provided space on their website to post my stories weekly. I think I am the youngest columnist from Uganda.
How / where do you get your inspirations? From your surroundings, the past or just do they come spontaneously?
Liam: When creating my stories, I look at what is around me. Like what we do at home; what my friends do at school and what I watch on television. For example, I have written a story about Shabby Boy, for example, when I saw so many untidy kids from my class who didn’t tuck in their shirts, so I decided to write about them.
I also imagine and think a lot to create good work. I have a story called the Dark Well. I have seen many children going to the well with small jerrycans to fetch water. I imagine it is so scary if they go without their parents. I have not been to any well because we have water at our home. I think everyone should read my Dark Well story. It is very interesting.
Can you tell us more about the Dark Well story? Can you narrate a summary of it?
Liam: Two boys were sent to the well to collect water late in the evening. It was scary, they went running to collect water and one of the boys fell into the Dark well. It was good that one of the boys ran back home to tell their parents and they rescued him.
Later, their father learnt how to make a water tank so they were able to collect rainwater from the roof.
Wow! What an educative story. What can parents learn from you Dark Well story?
Liam: I think parents should stop sending their children alone to dangerous places to avoid such accidents.
You won the Bamble Bee Championship for Kindergartens and Nursery Schools, organized by Lotte Kindergarten and Pepea Africa initiative in 2017. Did that award have any influence on your wish to become a writer?
Liam: Yes, when I won the Bamble Bee Championship for sounding, blending and reading words, I was really proud. I was 5 years then. I got a small present of a Toy Gun and an EduTab. My mother helped me put so many stories on the EduTab. I would read the stories during my free time, unfortunately, it got spoilt. I hope I can get a new one so that I can keep my stories.
It was easy for me to read and understand the stories because Lotte Kindergarten taught me how to sound, blend and read as well as form sentences when I was 3 years. Because I know how to spell words, it made it easy for me to write stories. I rarely make mistakes when writing as I am careful with what I write. When people read my stories, they like them so I get inspired to write more and more.
How do you combine your creative writing with your schoolwork?
Liam: I always find time to write stories after doing my classwork. In the morning hours, it is strictly classwork. I never think of writing stories. After resting for 2 hours after lunch, it is when I think of writing my stories. I always write my stories during the time I am waiting for my mother to pick me from school or during the weekends. It takes me about 1 hour to write a story if I am not interrupted.
If I am at school, I always like to compose a few stories with my friends then when I go home, I memorize and write the story well. Once I identify a nice topic. Sometimes I share with my Mother the story title and keywords before writing the full story.
How is your relationship with other pupils both at school and at home?
Liam: I am a friendly person. I like to play games with many children both at school at home. At school, we tell each other stories. At home, I mostly play with my cousins when they come to visit us. Most of the games I like to play are in spelling words and drawing pictures. I like swimming as well and joining children’s camps/events.
You have been appointed as the Kata Kata Ambassador in Africa. How do you feel about this appointment, which is a huge recognition of your talent?
Liam: I am very happy to be the Kata Kata Ambassador in Africa. When My mother told me that Kata Kata had liked my stories, I was very happy. I did not know that my stories would be loved by so many people because they were very short. I like Kata Kata a lot because it will show my work to so many people.
I was writing for fun. When my mother made for me a page on Facebook, it changed all the game. It was easy for me to connect to Kata Kata.
How exactly will you represent Kata Kata in your capacity as the Ambassador?
Liam: I want everyone in Africa and in the rest of the world to know about the good work of Kata Kata cartoon Magazine. As an ambassador, I will go to meet many children and make them know good stories. I want also to go to the television so that people can watch me.
All my stories will be published by Kata Kata, wherever I will go to speak about my stories, I will be speaking on behalf of Kata Kata. They are my friends now.
What is your message to other children out there who want to achieve their dreams?
Liam: Every child has a special talent. They should ask their parents to support them to develop their talent. If they do good work, they should show their parents.
We wish you much success in the future; we look forward to working together as a team to help you achieve your potentials.
Liam: Thank you very much.
More about Liam Katabira: https://www.facebook.com/liamkatabira/