I Will Never Be the Same Again – An Artist’s Memoir of the Tebere Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artists Intensive Lab & Annual Program

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Drama is when a usual character is caught up in an unusual circumstance &, or vice versa.
Photo of Tebere Emerging artists Suubi (left) & Lunkuse (right)

I feel strange-good. ‘Yo’! And I mean it. Every ounce of my being, I am sitting on the couch, in my most comfortable meditation posture, typing this; and I am having these spasms of some sort of energy, that I can not really put into words. If I held anything delicate right now, it would fall and break into several pieces. I do not have a grip on my emotions. My whole system is a synergy of nerves and unexplainable energy. It’s as if I just fell in love, or just saw my best friend after three years. Hold on a minute. I think I have a headache… It’s not as intense, but it’s in there. 

Picture of Tebere Art Foundation ‘Emerging Artists’ mentors from the left
Pablo, Asiimwe, Oyenbot, Julius, Dr. Jessica Kaahwa, Aganza, & Q (extreme right)

But whatever is going on in my system, is a wreck of nerves and strange hormones. It reminds me of my first swimming experience in Lake Volta in Northern Ghana. It reminds me of the first time I overcame my fear of riding a bicycle (the fear came back by the way). It reminds me of the moonlit night I sat with friends, by the Atlantic Ocean shores somewhere at Fort James – in James town –  in Accra. It reminds me of the first time I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s ‘The thing around your neck’, and the first time I fell in love with Mr. Darcy, a character in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I was thirteen at the time. It reminds me of being on a three (3) hour road trip – on a motorbike, while holding tight onto my best friend, knowing that I have to let him go. Yes. I have been in love many times. First with literature, next with the ocean, then with Alex Garland’s novel ‘The Beach’, then with my best friend, and then, with my writing, and many moons later, with my hormone-filled 22-year old-self (at the time), and most recently, with my son.

What I am experiencing, what I am describing as the feeling of being in love; is the feeling of rebirth. Of a new era. Of a new season! – Do you experience transitions in the same manner as I do too? 

It is exactly 11:03 am, on 24th June 2023, and I just returned from the Emerging Artists Intensive Lab ‘Program’, organized by the Tebere Arts Foundation. And ‘wow!’ in my mentor Oyenbot’s voice.’ ‘…Yo, Guys, I am in awe.’ (Respectfully, there is something about Oyenbot’s voice that stays with you. I can hear her voice echo in my mind as she gives feedback on the performances, and while she shares amazing experiences)

Posing for a group picture with emerging artists, mentors, and admin.

Yes. It has been an intense fortnight of acting, playwriting, community theatre, and stage directing mentorship ‘sessions’. I have been challenged. I have been stretched. I have been in the presence of greatness. I have found a tribe. Or has the tribe found me rather? Either way, thanks to Tebere.

Tebere Arts Foundation ‘aims  to create and support spaces and artists doing new, interesting, groundbreaking, and accessible works of art that can be shared with audiences in Uganda and around the world.’

 That gives you a hint huh? Yeah! Watch out. I am one of those artists that are about to wreck your boat. And if Tebere Arts Foundation thinks so, who am I to think otherwise? Hehehe. Please, let me brag a little- a’beg. (Fixes collar.)

Emerging Artists from the left – Lunkuse, Suubi, Aselle, Q (Mentor), Lolah, Ginny (Tebere Admin)

Now I digress. 

Week 1!

I and nine others report to Tebere Arts Foundations’ home, at the Ndeere Centre, at Kisaasi Ntinda, on a Sunday afternoon. Besides Ginny, an administrator at Tebere, whom I had expected to meet, the first person I see when I am shown to my room is Vicky Aselle. A very beautiful model, – signed to Joram Model Management. Aselle didn’t have to tell me she is a model. She looked it and of course, I confirmed it a few minutes later! Soon, I got to meet other ladies, they too attended the program. Sharon/NSK (my roomie), Suubi, and Lorah – whom I call Lolah! 

Emerging Artists from the left – David, Agaba, Matt, Mato, Barna, Julius (Mentor), Q (Mentor), Pablo (Mentor)

Later I meet the guys. Matt, David – whom I call Daud and I think this guy should be the next Dan Brown (the Ugandan version of course), Barna, Mato, and  Agaba. Amazing. Together we make a wonderful team of ten emerging artists, learning from each other, and growing together. Week one was terrific. Intense! By Thursday, I felt like I had stayed in the place for over a month, and everything was so difficult. My mind was all over the place. Learning this and that, memorizing monologues, and having to present. Performing before a group of people – Is synonymous with undressing in public. Especially if you don’t get lost in the moment. Thank goodness, I have had a couple of moments when I forgot anybody was in the room and it was me alone (by me I mean the character I was performing), or my character & another character I am on stage with. Then there were several of those moments too when I struggled with lines and caught myself patching them up so that they could make sense in the performance. I felt like a bag of scrambled eggs, tossed up and about. But I didn’t have to let it show. Hehe. And yet! What awesome mentors! Oyenbot ( – a whole powerhouse), Aganza – (please add a silent ‘the Stunner’ every time you mention her name – Just because I do so and also because she is, actually, such a Stunner.) Julius Lugaya, Dr. Jessica Kaahwa, Pablo, and Q. Amazing mentors. 

I will never be the same again. I have been face to face with greatness. I have fed from the hands of masters, and these people have selflessly enabled me and countless others, to stand on their shoulders. 


Mentor Aganza Kisaka -left, & Emerging artist NSK (right)

Week 2.

Especially practical. Presentation of project synopses. Performance and auditions. Um. Powerful. The week came by so fast and left as swiftly. Suddenly it felt like I had been in the place for four days, fallen in love, and my love was being grabbed away from me. I didn’t want it to end. But it did. Thank Goodness the Program runs for a full year, and I can’t thank my God enough, that I am having this experience.

Attending a Community Theatre Mentorship Session led by Mentor (Julius Lugaya)

I interacted with the remarkable Deborah Asiimwe. I learned about the legendary Professor Rose Mboya (RIP), and other amazing people like Charles Mulekwa. Interacting with talented people is such an honor. (Hi Muhirwe,..) smiles. And (Hi Faith, hi Ginny, hi Ubia, hi Onesmus, hi Rosette.) 

Dr. Jessica Kaahwa (center), Tebere Admin Ginny (Right), Emerging artist NSK (left), Emerging Artist Lolah (forefront)

Why am I writing this? It’s just a memoir. That I and others will look back to and smile reflectively. Especially in that hour, of the harvest. 


No, I lied in part. This is not just a memoir. This is for my mentor BBwesigye. Who insisted that Tebere is the tribe that I need to be part of if I want to advance my artistic career. He did not lie. (A round of applause…, & or… a standing ovation for the man) 

And special thanks to Vin @ Travel Bird, To my brother Ronnie (a strong pillar),  to Jessy Ssendawula, To Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, Allan Odong, and Atite Prisca. (In that order, moving anti-clockwise. In most advancement of careers, one endorsement leads to another, and to another activity, and to another event, and to another win or direction. Like that, the cycle continues. One day the story might unfold fully. But I am grateful. To each person that played a part.

Bless You.



Betty Ssekirevu Lunkuse


  1. Ssendawula Jessy Conrad says:

    Your writing is that gift that gives me spasms of smiles. I am thrown into memory lane to see the little you. I am happy you have grown and gained ground in the arts. I wish that the sky have no limit for you.

    1. Betty Lunkuse says:

      Woow. Thank you very much Jessy. I am forever grateful for you, for having been the light that guided path in that hour… as you say (little me). And I am still grateful that you’re still here to guide and mentor me… I can’t wait for our project to be complete! I’ll go over the moon. Thank you very much Jessy, may God bless you.

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