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On Mentorship, Writing, and Publishing

By Jesse Mugero

In 2018 I enrolled in the Harvest Institute (H.I.) a yearlong leadership programme run by the Worship Harvest Ministries. The Institute seeks to help develop leaders and to skill them to bring effective change in their communities. We had three key assignments: starting and actively running a blog with bi-weekly posts; read at least two books a month and publish a book- a prerequisite for graduating from the programme. 

I knew my writing was weak and I needed to get guidance in meeting the graduation requirement. The class on mentorship and the importance of mentorship in helping one grow resonated deeply with me and influenced the next steps I took. I learnt that I did not have to learn everything through the first-hand experience. This quote attributed to Isaac Newton stood out for me: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The assignment after the mentorship class at H.I. was to seek mentors in real life and set up appointments with them. For my career development, I sought out His Lordship Justice Egonda Ntende to mentor me and he graciously accepted. I am still learning a lot from his rich experience and knowledge in the legal profession. I have appreciated the need to expand virtues such as excellence, patience, and seeking the truth always in my life.

Justice Unlimited Book Launch

To grow and improve as a writer, I consulted my friend Penelope Sanyu, author of Stranger in My Bed, who had shared a flyer from SuccessSpark Brand Ltd in the H.I. WhatsApp group. Penelope told me how she had immensely benefited from the writing retreats that Jackee Batanda run. When I reached out to Jackee, she informed me of another product, a One-Day Book Writing Masterclass she runs monthly which I could attend since the next writing retreat would take place a month before my graduation.  I needed to start writing immediately and opted for the One-Day Book Writing Masterclass. When I attended the class, I got much more than my money’s worth. I was encouraged to continue writing, made new friends, and learned a lot from shared stories about our writing journeys. I appreciated that everyone has a unique experience in their life which has motivated them to write.

Also, it was refreshing to see the number of Ugandan and other Africans writing from their perspective as most of the literature on the market has been dominated by publications outside the African continent. From the character development assignment Jackee gave, I developed characters for a fictional story, Buried Anger, which was published in “Dear Nev, An anthology of Contemporary East African Writing” a publication of the African Writers Trust.

The Dear Nev Anthology

I applied the writing guidance to publish my first book, "Justice Unlimited: How a Loving God Achieves Justice through Flawed People". Writing this book was a very reflective experience. I had the opportunity to think deeper about the work that I have been doing in post-conflict societies across Uganda and in the legal system especially the courts of law. This experience merged with my faith and belief in God who is so loving and cares about justice inspired the title. Though there are many imperfect things about the justice system and in the world generally, we have opportunities to play our part to influence the world for better. I am reminded of the motto of a human rights organisation, Amnesty International that says, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Therefore, one of my aims in writing the book is to ignite hope that we can all play our part to make the world more just and peaceful.

Without the lesson on mentorship, writing the book would have been nearly impossible. However, I appreciate the need for going to a coach to get better. A coach can help one learn in a much faster way than by trying to figure everything out on your own. I launched the book in January 2019.

Reviewing the book in the Sunday Vision, Mathias Mazinga said: “Justice Unlimited is a timely publication. Today as people yearn for justice, the book can serve as an important guide for those who champion human rights, dignity, peace, and reconciliation and development. It is a must-read for scholars, human rights activists, religious leaders, and politicians."