The blogging and writing community in Uganda is mourning the sudden death of a renowned writer, poet and blogging champion, Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa who passed on yesterday due to terminal illness.
Joel, populary known as ‘Nevender’ died on Sunday at around 5pm after a youthful life of battling sickle cell anaemia.
A close friend of his told SoftPower News that Joel left his home in Kansanga at 10 am to Pearl Medical Centre in Kansanga where he often received his treatment but the pain intensified affecting his spinal code which subsequently killed him.
He died at the age of 33.
Joel Ntwatwa was an ardent writer and ran the Uganda Bloggers Community, an initiative of bloggers in Uganda that sought to improve the blogging and overall social media sphere in the country.
The community aimed to publish and promote Ugandan content on the web, effectually providing a citizen based portal for information about the politics, history, economy, fashion, entertainment and whatever else information there is about Uganda.
He also worked with The Pearl Guide and ran a personal website where he published his works; short stories, poems and book reviews. His works have been published in anthologies like Femrite, an association of Ugandan women writers, and Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation.
There will be a service at Joel’s residence in Kansanga, Kumbe followed by a vigil today and he will be buried in Nakibanga in Mityana district tomorrow, Tuesday.
Alexander Twino, a lawyer, entrepreneur and writer who was a close friend to Joel described the deceased as a cheerful and hardworking person.
“He was a cheerful person, was a source of wisdom and advise to those who worked with him. His work ethic was exemplary; even in his stature, he always found time to deliver before deadlines,” Twino told SoftPower News in an interview.
He also said Joel was a God fearing person who was passionate about Godly literature.
Writivism, a Kampala-based initiative that promotes African literature and supports emerging writers paid tribute to Joel as having been a consistent writer and reviewer of not only books but also events, movies and exhibitions.
“Joel was a hardworking writer from whom we were looking forward to read, much more. He most recently launched a digital poetry chapbook, Pumpkin Soup and other poems,” Writivism wrote on their Facebook.
He was long listed for the 2017 Writivism Prize, and his story was due for publication during the annual Writivism prize anthology in August this year.
The arts industry and bloggers have since poured their condolences on social platforms expressing their loss. Most of them praised Joel for his gentle persona, his contribution to the writing and creative industry, and for a life well lived.
May his soul rest in peace.
Below is a poem about death that was one of the many he wrote.