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The traditional dance for the Bakonzo Culture

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The Bakonzo sometimes called Banandi is a group of the Bantu speaking people living in the districts of Kasese, Bundibgyo, Bunyangabu and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bakonzo mainly have two types of dances which are ceremonial.

Ekikibi Dance

This is the dance which I would call breaking of the chest and the back, it is for both men and women, it is majorly performed in functions that attract happiness say during marriage functions, music competitions among others.

It involves dancing together of a man and a woman, its best attractive when performed by people who know how to break the back properly while standing on one and a half feet.

It has a specific drum beat (the medium or the biggest of all the drums) and then other more two which makes it attractive or possibly one may work in absence of others.
The traditional dance for the Bakonzo Culture

Omukumu Dance

This is the dance performed mainly during the closing out of a burial ceremony (erisesya ekiriro), it may take up to one week while dancing, every day people go early to the home of the deceased to perfume this ritual.

This dancing has other many categories including, omukobo, eluma, amasinduka, amahande among others

Omukobo involves dancing while turning to the next neighbor as you keep rotating in a circle form as well as singing. There’s also beating of three drums, xylophone and other instruments.

Eluma evolves all the omukobo instruments with flute leading them all  to compose different songs.

Mukumu dance is neither for women nor for uncircumcised men

Mukumu dance is not performed in every one’s burial but for men who went for circumcision in Bwamba, Bundibughyo district (elhusumba) and not performed for women.

This type of dance has a leader called “Kabira”, is the person who is in-charge of everything involved in the dancing process say if you are to dance with a neighbor then you start with him among other things.

In early years of 1930’s and later, men would arrange and go to Bwamba (lhusumba) in Bundibugyo district for circumcision, this was one of the things to prepare for descent burial rituals and respect in public.

They would walk in the mountains of Kasese district, through upsides of Nyakigumba, Katebwa and then to Bwamba for the Circumcision function and return later after recovering.

The function would be organized for those returnees’ recognition of being rightful men to stabilize in public.

During those times and up now, men who are not circumcised are not considered in public like normal ones, they can’t even be recognized to speak in public.

ESUUKA; An Adorn of Royalty

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Esuuka is one of the most precious ornaments a woman can wear especially that from Tooro, where beauty and royalty are a daily observation. An emblem of a true Mutoorokati (woman from Tooro), this easy wearing distinctive attire is the crown of beauty – solely the main reason Tooro women stand out on many occasions – traditional or elite worldwide.

Ever wondered what a sexy elegant woman with holiness looks like? A woman adorned in a Tooro Suuka will strikingly stick in your mind and hypnotize your personality as you appreciate the true likeness of being African.

Generation to generation, Esuuka has managed to prevail the test of time and threats of modernity – growing stronger and more popular among adults, young women and girls. It is the official wear for women and girls from Bunyoro , Tooro and those attached comprising of three major components including; ekiteteeyi (dress) wore on top of ekitambi (wrap skirt around the waist) and the Suuka (sheet of cloth between 5 to 6metres long) from where the name of the whole outfit is derived usually wore up to the feet.

The Tooro Suuka is more so like a red carpet gown, it covers full body length including the feet.
What makes it special is the way the Suuka is wrapped around the shoulders with its flap falling on one of the shoulders mostly on the right.

The Suuka is folded over the collar bone then tucked under arms wrapped around the whole body to the feet. The folds are kept in place by hand or pressed by the upper arms in position as shown by images in this piece

       
Left, the length of esuuka, dress and rapper (ekitambi), right batooro women rocking esuuka

Esuuka’s influence on women is one of the most significant in Tooro Culture; it portrays a well groomed woman with respect and humility – on the minds of everyone before they set out to an official or traditional event.

The Suuka is fabricated in such a way that keeps a woman habitually modest and respectful; it is by design a woman wearing Esuuka cannot jump out of her seat, run, speak or dance offensively in front of people. She can only walk or dance (if she has to) majestically with the lowest pace exuding the highest sense of privilege and admiration.

On an official Tooro ceremony or event, women not wearing Esuuka are ushered in at the back where they are not easily visible while those wearing the treasured Suuka are honoured in front row seats.

On a Kweranga (introduction) ceremony, the bride to be is obliged to wear the Suuka every time she comes out for presentation; it is unethical for a bride to walk out of the house dancing, raising her head and moving fast – the reason slow sentimental music is required to facilitate a majestic dance or walk of honour locally known as kuhuubya.


Batooro girls walking out of the house in esuuka on an introduction

It is eminent reality this phenomenon must be observed and respected since it’s the window that
exhibits the true essence of traditional fashion in Tooro. In recent times, Esuuka and its respects have been faced with immense infiltration from other cultures – not wearing it properly (imitating other cultures), dancing and moving fast while wearing it or dressing otherwise among others to official and traditional functions.

This has been largely due to lack of heritage education and influence of modern fashion trends that are on the
high rise every time. However, the current generation is realizing the value and uniqueness of this special tradition and is working so hard re-embracing it and lifting it up to where and how it is supposed to be alongside modern fashion inclinations.

It is actually OK accessorizing Esuuka with jewelry –necklaces, bracelets and crowns as long as they do not affect its etiquette.

 

The Queen Mother of Tooro Kingdom Best Kemigisa Akiiki is  the most iconic woman that has graced the Tooro Suuka diligently for all time, she has epitomized and showcased the core of the Tooro Suuka worldwide. She is rarely  seen  on a public function without the Tooro Suuka.

 

By Nelon Gerrard

Bakonzo names and their meanings

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For every Mukonzo, the surname must tell the position in birth counting whether the child is the first, second, or third, up to the last born.

Who they are?

The Bakonzo, sometimes called Bayira or Banande, are a Bantu-speaking group of people in western

Uganda and eastern DR Congo. In Uganda, they are concentrated in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts.

Others live in Bunyangabu and Ntoroko districts. The Bakonzo are the subjects of Rwenzururu Kingdom, whose king is Charles Wesley Mumbere.

The Bakonzo name their children according to their order of birth.

IN SUMMARY

The number matters. According to Grandfather (sokulhu) Stifano Bwambale Murokole, a resident of Kakone village in Mahango subcounty in Kasese District and a veteran Kikonzo culture advisor in the Bahira clan, the names of the Bakonzo were given to boys in seven birth ranks, whereas those for female children are eight.

Culture.
Have you ever considered the origin of your name? Fred Stephen Bwambale of Enganzi news writes that for anyone schooled in the culture of the Bakonzo, it is easy to tell the order in which someone was born just by knowing that person’s name.

 “Birth ranks” in this regard, it is the order in which the children born of the same mother and father follow each other, ranging from the oldest to the youngest.

For every Mukonzo, the surname must tell whether the child is the first, second, or third born, up to the last born.

Some other names are given depending on the situation like war, famine or massacres at the time the bearer was born.

According to sokulhu Murokole, “The Bakonzo women have for a long time been among the most fertile in Africa. By the 1990s, some strong women were producing up to 16 children. Such a woman would have a chance to finish all the male and female names”.

He listed the names given to the boy children, from the first born, as; Baluku, Bwambale, Masereka, Kuule, Thembo, Mbusa and Ndungo.

The female names are Musoki or Masika , Biira, Kabugho, Mbambu, Ithungu, Kyakimwa, Nziabake and Bulhubasa.

“These names are not given without considering who was born before who. You cannot name your first born Masereka. This will be a disorder because Masereka is the third born male child,” Murokole said.

One must be wondering where the name “Mumbere”, which is sometimes mistaken for a king’s title because Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere is not mentioned in the order.

“Mumbere” is another name for “Baluku” (the first born male child). Others say “Kambere” to refer to the same person – Mumbere.

However, the same child can be named “Nzanzu” if both parents were virgins at the time they consummated their marriage. A first born female produced by such parents is named “Kanyere”.

Murokole further explains that “Kasoke” and “Musoki” are names for a first born who is male and female respectively, if the child’s paternal and maternal grandparents are still alive by the time he or she is born.

The first time the parents produce a child of a different sex from the first one, the child is named “Muhindo” if male or female, and “Mbindule” if female.

 Bakonzo names given depending on the situation at birth

“Bethubanji” is another meaningful name given to the first born who is able to see the same light with his or her parents’ grandparents. This means the baby has its grandparents alive at the same time their parents are also living. This child is referred to as “Akatsukulhu,” meaning a person who has two generational grandparents.

Much as death is something that everyone fears to associate with, the Bakonzo have names that tell that someone was born after the other child/children had died. If this person is male, he is named “Kibaya”, “Kyithi”, “Bisogho”, “Kamabu” or “Bisiika/Kyirere”, whereas females in that category are named

“Mutsuba”, “Kyabu” or “Bisiika” and other names like bahwere.

The twins are named according to their order of birth too. The first to come out is named “Nguru”, while the second is “Ndobya”. The child who follows twins is named “Kitsa”, followed by “Kamalha”. These apply to both sexes.

There are also situational names such as “Muthende” for a child born when boys had gone for a circumcision initiation ceremony, “Byerire” for one born during time of great harvest and many other proverbial names like Byanzira when one is born in along the way.

However, despite the unique way of naming children, this culture is facing extinction because of factors such as the modern campaign of family planning in which parents are encouraged to produce a number of children they can easily provide for.

Amos Bakalhania Kule, a resident of Kaberere in Kyondo Sub-county in Kasese District, attributes the fast extinction of some of the names to people drifting away from their culture by opting to copy names whose meaning they have no idea of.

“Our people are running away from their culture and that is why our culture is facing destruction. Why should someone copy a British or American name and make his child known by that imported name instead of popularizing the name Baluku, Bambale or Masika?” he wonders.

Amos said much as family planning is now necessary because of the prevailing economic situations and scarcity of land for production, it is important to preserve the culture by giving the few children the original names.

For Stifano Murokole, the Bakonzo naming culture will only persevere if all [birth ranks] children are produced and bear the names.

“It is not preserving when you produce five and give them the right names. What we need to do is to produce all the children because these names were given by our ancestors for a reason,” Murokole suggested.

Fr. Balinandi Kambale Raphael of Kasese Diocese, also a Lhukonzo literature author, said the Bakonzo women are still fertile to fulfill God’s command to “produce and subdue the world”.

“It is poverty that forces the people to produce few children but it is also ignorance of culture that they are not giving those few their real names. The women are still fertile and if possible, they should produce all [birth ranks] the children to fill these names,” said the priest, who also teaches Lhukonzo language and culture on local radio station Kasese Guide Radio every Tuesday.

He said very soon, he will release a book giving the names of the Bakonzo, with their meanings with the hope the young generation will understand and use them to make the culture consistent.

Rwenzururu kingdom speaks out:

The prime ministerial commission Rt. Hon Guardi Mbayahi, is another man disturbed by the near extinction of some of the names of the Bakonzo.

He said copying other names from the neighboring ethnicities is “poisonous to our culture,” adding that children need to be named according to their birth ranks.

“People are copying names of our brothers the Banyankole and directly translate them to name their children. The Bakonzo have not been having names such as “Lwanzu”, which is from Rukundo,

“Athwanzire” from Natukunda and “Apipawe” from Ahimbisiibwe among the Banyankole. These names are fronted by parents ahead of the birth rank names such as Baluku, Thembo and Mbusa,” he said.

 

The OBR premier also said the kingdom cabinet has already deliberated on this growing concern with a view of officially writing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to advise on how to preserve the names.

“The cabinet has already discussed this concern. As Bakonzo, we have a unique culture worldwide because we are well named according to our birth ranks. We need Unesco to help preserve this culture that is now threatened,” Rt. Hon Guardi lamented.

There are fears that with the names of the Bakonzo being ignored by parents while naming children that the 14 clans may also be at the brink of not being cherished.

Each clan among the Bakonzo has a totem and “fake enemy”. The “fake enemy” is another clan that is jokingly an enemy of the other.

For instance, the Bathanji clan members will joke that “Balegha bahwere” (the Balegha clan is finished) when they see a new moon. These jokes, elders say, were used to make the young ones understand their clans better. The Bakonzo clans that give the same names are Abakira, Abasu, Abahambu, Abahira,

Abaswagha, Ababinga, Abathanji, Abaseru, Abanyisanza, Abalegha, Abahinda, Abakunda, Abalumba,

Abasongora (not the cattle keepers’ tribe).

Are you a first time father? What you need to know….

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If you are about to become a father for the first time, this is what you need to know before you get into the overwhelming experience of child birth.

Be prepared

Nobody warns you, but the average labor for first time mothers lasts from 15 to 16 hours.
You could spend that time reading hospital pamphlets about dilations and middle ear problems, or you could dip into your carefully packed bag games and other light distractions.

You will be amazed at how a simple game can

bring you and your partner together while keeping your minds off the hours of active labor that are just around the corner.

Be present

Remember when you pledged to stay with your partner in sickness and health and in good and bad times? Here’s your chance to prove it.
You can offer her water as often as possible, reassure her through the pain and encourage her with each and every contraction and push. You may also be called upon to be her advocate in the event of an emergency.

Keep snide remarks to yourself

You may be the funniest guy in the world, but your partner will not find anything humorous when she is in the pain if delivery.
If your first instinct is to compare her pain to one of your old football injuries, you are probably not cut out to be a father.

Don’t take her insults personally

Pregnancy can bring out the best in a woman, but childbirth often brings out her worst. Odds are your spouse will scream at you, blame you for knocking her up, and even rue the day you ever met.
If her labor goes on long enough, you may also her utter swear words. It is important to understand that your partner is under an exceptional physical and emotional strain and her words are not a true reflection of how she really feels about you. Well, most of them, anyhow.

Tag someone else in

Some deliveries can take over 32 hours, with long stretches of time with little or no activity. If you are experiencing one of these lulls, you may want to briefly trade places with a family member in the waiting room.

You will return fresher and more energized and your partner will appreciate having another friendly face to support and encourage her.

Glow every single day

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Looking good is a confidence booster and it is also another way of relaxing. So, enjoy these seven beauty tips throughout the week;

Pamper those nails

A manicure or pedicure is a lovely way of taking care of your nails. Give your nails a punch of style by wearing nail colour that is deep; like the dramatic deep red. Dark shades are also an option to pull off.

Give them a soak

Maintain sponges and brushes you use to apply your makeup clean. Once or twice, wash them to unclog the germs they could have. Ensure that the brushes and sponges dry properly before the next use.

Scrub off that dirt

For a clear complexion, rid your face of facial grime and dirt by using a scrub twice a week. It is best to scrub after a soak in the bath when the skin is supple. Use gentle out-ward circular movements, avoiding the eye area.

Go for a massage

The massage is a language that communicates relief to the body system. You can enjoy a do-it-yourself fingertip massage on the face to stimulate blood circulation and ease stress.

Give hair a treat

Does your hair dry out so fast? Try a deep-penetrating hair treatment at least once a week. It will nourish your hair by adding moisture to get that healthy look.

Water yourself

Rid your body of toxins by eating fresh fruits and drinking a lot of water.

How to become a professional speech writer?

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To give good speeches, many people employ a professional speech writer. These people can give you excellent speeches so you won’t have to worry so much.

If you love to write, a part time speech writer business may be just what your inner muse has ordered. People stumble at the podium because they have no confidence in the content of their speech.

They keep wondering whether they saying the right words to get their point across. Or whether they are boring their audience to tears.

A proficient writer lifts these burdens from the shoulders of the speakers by providing him or her with an engaging script.

People employ writers who understand the structures and styles of effective speeches. Four key elements will bolster success:

Learn all you can from your client – nailing the details is vital.
Make the first words of the speech as bold as a newspaper headline. Grab the audience right away, and then hold their attention with a speech which is both informative and entertaining.
Target your specific audience. Know who they are. The subject and tenor of a speech must fit its audience. A bright, heartfelt wedding speech will surely please a bride and groom, but that same spirit may not play well in a room full of judges. The people listening are just as important as whoever is speaking.
Give the speech a theme test. Would you want to hear it? Write with the polish and finesse you would no doubt employ if you were writing the speech for yourself. Every speech, short or long, is important.

Who Needs A Speech Writer?

From those toasting at weddings to corporate CEOs, everyone makes speeches, and a professionally written speech can be worth its weight in gold.

For motivational speakers and salespersons, that speech directly means dollars and cents.
For wedding toasts, it means no blunders that could mar wedding memories meant to last a lifetime. A quality speech eases the fear of speaking and uplifts the speaker’s stature.

Expanding the Business

If you write effectively, you can easily expand your business. In addition to producing speeches, offer your services as a copywriter, a ghost writer, and a freelance writer.

You can also take advantage of other related opportunities such as offering a course in public speaking through your local community college or creating a Tips For Effective Public Speaking to hand out. As with any small business, thinking outside the box will help your bottom line grow.

Marketing Yourself

If you want to work, tell the world who you are and what you offer. Advertise your speech writing business in print and online. Join speaking clubs, target companies through direct mail, and provide samples of speeches, content copy, and articles to prospective clients.

Ask each client who hires you to write a brief review of your work. Recommendations foster jobs and existing customers cultivate new ones.
Now that you know how to get into the industry, start writing! You’ll get enough experience to sell yourself as a professional speech writer in no time.

Earn from Coffee Farming

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In Uganda Coffee (Emwanyi as it is locally termed) is the leading foreign exchange earner. The coffee plant is mainly grown for its berries which are grinded to give a caffeine beverage.

Robusta and Arabica Coffee are mainly grown here in Uganda. Growing cloned Robusta coffee is a highly paying investment and it is now the crop for the young and elderly to resort to if they want good money quickly. Besides growing pretty fast it is high yielding and it has a large bean size.

The farmer should also ensure that the nursery bed from which he or she intends to get the plantlets from is well recommended by the area agricultural services extension officer; plant the right size of plantlets at the beginning of the rain season since initially they need good soil moisture to grow.

Tips for your coffee farming garden;

  1. Spacing: The spacing between Robusta plants is 10 feet by 10 feet and between Arabica ones is 8 feet by 8 feet.
  2. Dig right size holes – 2 feet long x 2 feet wide x 2 feet deep.
  3. While digging holes: heap the top soil on one side and bottom soil on another side.
  4. Add manure to the dug-out soil and return it into the holes.
  5. Mark the center of the holes and leave them for 2 – 3 months before planting.
  6. Obtain coffee plantlets from Certified Coffee Nurseries.
  7. During the planting season, plant very early in the morning or late in the evening.
  8. Remove the polythene pot cover before planting the seedling/cutting.
  9. Provide temporary shade to the newly planted coffee plantlets and water in case of water stress. Water conservation channels/bands are important in coffee.
  10. When the coffee plantlets have attained a height of about 11/2 foot or 6 – 9 months after planting, they should be trained (bent in an east to west direction i.e. sunrise to sunset direction) to initiate multiple branches from which the lowest and most healthy 2 are selected and maintained together with the original plantlet. This ensures higher yield and profitability per tree.
  11. The coffee garden should always be mulched and “weed free”
  12. Beans and bananas are good intercrops for coffee.
  13. Continuous de-suckering of the coffee plants should be practiced in order to prevent development of a micro climate that encourages pests such as Black Coffee Twig Borer (BCTB).
  14. At maturity, harvest only the red-ripe cherry and dry it immediately on tarpaulins, raised platforms or cemented floor to preserve its good quality.

How to earn from Coffee Farming
There are two coffee seasons in a year, a farmer can harvest about 8000kgs in a year taking average of four Kilos per tree. Taking Shs2,000 as the average price of Kiboko (unshelled coffee cherries), a farmer is able to earn a gross profit of Shs16m. Thus two acres which a serious commercial farmer can manage can make you Shs32m. This is for a farmer who cannot afford to add value to his coffee.

Make it a point for coffee to go through primary processing/hulling or removing of husks from dried cherries. This shelled clean coffee is referred to as FAQ (Fair Average Quality) and fetches higher prices compared to Kiboko. The more you add value to your coffee, the higher the returns.

BUGANDA TRADITIONAL WEAR

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Clothing is part of culture because it defines who people are. A Muganda woman typically wears a gomesi. This is a floor-length, brightly colored cloth dress with a square neckline and short, puffed sleeves.

The first Gomesi was made of bark cloth however today they come in materials such as silk, cotton and other fabrics. A gomesi is not a single clothing but rather one that is accompanied with several garments to make it whole like the Kikoy which is an undergarment that is worn to add weight.

The garment is fastened with a sash traditionally known as a kitambala placed around waist over the hips, and two buttons on the left side of the neckline.

The indigenous dress of the Baganda man is a kanzu, a masculine outfit looks similar to a tunic and is mostly composed of a white or cream fabric. It’s made from silk, cotton, poplin, or linen. Linen kanzus are the most expensive.

The Kanzu unlike other specific attires cuts across several tribes and almost all ugandan men wear it during cultural functions. The Kanzu has a make of a dress and the men usually wear trousers beneath it plus a coat over their shoulders to match with it.

Traditionally, the busuuti was strapless and made from bark-cloth. The busuuti is worn on all festive and ceremonial occasions like introduction parties, giveaways, coronation ceremonies .

The Significance of the Gomesi and Kanzu is to promote decency and respect in public. Different tribes around Uganda and world wide have a adopted this traditional wear. The Gomesi and Kanzus are easily customized into different designs and colors as preferred by different individuals.

Put in mind that when wearing these traditional cloth that you have to be gracious. Men ought not to hold the kanzu when walking to avoid it from touching the ground. Never let the under garment be seen. And never alter the traditional design of the gomesi or kanzu because it ceases to be the known traditional wear.

These traditional outfits can be bought from shops in the city centre of Kampala at places like; Mukwano Arcade, Kiyembe shopping centre, Craft village and several shops around Kampala town.

In order to own one, you’ve got to buy a material of your preference, then take it for measurements to a tailor who then sews it into a Gomesi but for a Kanzu, the gentleman has to fit in to find the perfect size and height of it. The Busuutis are quite affordable but the material you want will determine how much you will have to spend.

How to make a long distance relationship work

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Long distance relationships can be tiring and actually stressful but when the one you love is miles away, you have no option but accept the situation.

It requires a lot of commitment, trust and communication to make it work. Studies show that the majority of people involved in long distance relationships eventually breakup.

But with determination the two of you can make it work.

COMMUNICATE

Make sure the both of you bridge the gap of proximity through the different types of communication. The internet is the commonest means of communication that most couples in long distance relationships use.

Send each other emails every day, tell each other how your day was and how much you miss each other, it makes a difference. You also take advantage of the free or cheaper Internet services like Skype where you can video chat with your loved one.

This will help you feel closer even though you’re so far away from each other.

EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS

Always express your feelings to your partner on the phone, emails, letters and video chats you have with them. Let them know how life with them is lonely, how much they mean to you, how much you miss the silly games you used to play. This will enhance growth and stability in your relationship. This is because your partner is assured of your commitment.

SEND EACH OTHER GIFTS

Every now and then send each other personalized gifts because they mean a lot to your loved one .This means that you have them at heart even though they are so far away from you.

The more personalized the gift is, the greater the impact on your partner. They will also be very impressed with your thoughtfulness.

SPEND TIME TOGETHER WHILE YOU ARE APART

You can still spend time together even though you’re far away from each other. This can be done if you both create time for each other .For example if you both love football organise a day when you are both free and watch are match when it’s done call each other and discuss it, it

Will be a good shared moment for the both of you hence bridging the distance between the two of you.

PLAN REGULAR MEETINGS

Always ensure that you meet often to keep your commitment stronger. The two of you need to plan on visiting each other at leasst three times a year .
When you cancel meeting, it sends a negative impression to your partner meaning that your other plans are more important than the meetings with your partner.

SHARE PASSIONS

The best thing about long distance relationships is the fact that you get to know your partners dislikes, likes and passions. If he likes football please make sure you learn all the rules of football so that the next time you meet you’re able to discuss it.

You should also find out passions you both share so your able to appreciate each other more

How good are you with speaking in front of a large crowd?

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Is speaking in front of a large crowd your worst nightmare?
Does stage fright leave you tongue-tied?
Do you go blank at the sight of a microphone?

Take heart, to quote Michael Jackson’s song, you are not alone. Half the world, I suppose shudders at the mere thought of speaking in public.

The other half, in my imagination, is dominated by all the consuming fear of a visit to the dentist for a root canal.

No prizes for guessing which half you would rather belong to.
If you are inclined to believe that public speaking is confined only to the social and corporate world, brace yourself for the truth.

A mother giving her point of view at a school meeting, a father raising a toast at his daughter’s wedding and a teenager paying tribute to his parents at their silver wedding anniversary are, but a few, examples of situations that call for public speaking.
So, drop you ‘locked jaw’ and get your vocal chords going with some useful tips.

Draft craft: A good speech is drafted in three parts. An impressive beginning, an interesting middle and a powerful conclusion.

Know your subject: Conviction is contagious. Once you are convinced about your subject, words will flow and you are bound to captivate your audience.

Feel comfortable: If large numbers intimidate you, your audience can tell from your body language. Try this simple mental trick. Imagine you are in your sitting room talking with your family members. You will notice your nervousness disappearing and your audience beginning to connect with you.

First impression is the last impression: Begin your speech with an interesting story, a quote or some power-packed words that will catch the attention of your audience. Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Length ‘wise’: I once read an anecdote about a speaker who went on speaking endlessly. After his speech, he reached out to a man in the front row and asked; “How was my speech?” The man replied, “Very refreshing! I felt like a new man when I woke up!”

Do not go into overdrive. It is sure to kill your speech, if not your audience.

‘Gift’ wrap it: Wrap up your speech like you would, a gift. With a special touch. Use punch lines, rhetoric, or even humuor to create a lasting impression.

Also, be sincere, be brief and then take your seat.