Rebecca Kisakye Makyeli is new to the writing scene but it’s like she has been here all her life. The radio personality and actress released her debut memoir WOMAN FIRE GRACE early this year and it is receiving much-needed attention.
WOMAN FIRE GRACE is divided into three parts: Woman, Fire and Grace. Each part gives a detailed account of Kye`s life. Woman-her growth spasms from primary school to higher education. Fire is about her days of enduring hardship and pain, addiction, homelessness and abortion. Grace is all about God restoring and redeeming her.
Kye has been hosted on Power, Sex, Money at Watoto Church, Meet Your Author Series finale, The Lynn Ngugi Show, Shared Moments with Justus, Legally Clueless podcast by Adelle Onyango and many other spaces. Her story is one powerful testimony of God`s grace and love.
I caught up with Kye to speak about her memoir:
RK: Your book WOMAN FIRE GRACE is a story of redemption, grace and restoration from a life of addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex and homelessness. Why did you decide to write it? Weren`t you afraid of what people would think?
Kye: WOMAN FIRE GRACE was a project the Lord placed upon my heart in May 2021 and it was a key tool in my healing process of addiction recovery. It was not until I had outlined the book chapters that I realized how much I would have to be vulnerable and share with the world, however, it was knowing that many other people’s healing from things they have struggled with in shame would come from reading about my very own struggles that gave me the confidence and boldness to go ahead with it.
RK: How did you know that you were addicted to alcohol, sex and drugs?
Kye: You’ll never know you’re addicted to something until you try to break free from it. It is the level of attachment and resistance in your attempt to break free that you realize how big of a hold some things have on you.
RK: How did you end up homeless yet your father was able to take good care of you?
Kye: There’s such a thing as foolish pride, and in my younger years, I made some very foolish decisions and eventually I had to face the consequences.
Looking back, my Father did what he thought was best. He had no idea what to do with me and could not stand to be an enabler of my habits. At the time, I was craving freedom which would allow me to drink and party all I wanted and he gave me exactly that.
Years later, I found myself in a situation where I was too ashamed and prideful to admit to my Father that I had messed up and decided to wallow in the consequences of my decisions.
RK: In the book, you say, `I am currently a strong advocate for addiction recovery and awareness. I have been invited as a speaker at a number of mentorship spaces for teenagers and young adults.’
What`s it like going back to the places that were once familiar when you see the people you meet in rehab and mentorship spaces?
Kye: It’s very fulfilling. Giving myself to helping people break free from something the same way God did it for me gives me a sense of hope and purpose. Many people enter the battlefield of addiction and don’t make it out. Being here to tell my story and share it with others shows that everything I went through was not in vain but it was actually God preparing and equipping me to help other people come out of the bondage they are in. You cannot free captives if you don’t know what bondage means.
RK: How do we raise awareness of addictions and how do we educate the public in helping people with addictions?
Kye: There is very serious stigmatization around substance abuse and addiction in our society today. Many people don’t know how to deal with friends and family who have fallen victim. As a society, we need to be brutally honest with ourselves and own the truth about the dangers of some of the lifestyles of bondage that we romanticize and celebrate.
We need more psychological interventions in schools, churches and workspaces aimed at education about the long-term effects that substance and drug use has on individuals, families and society as a whole.
When did the redemption happen and how did it happen?
My road to freedom began in 2020, during the lockdown. It didn’t happen overnight – it was a process of transformation that centred around the renewal of my mindset. Even though I did not go to a rehabilitation centre, I underwent my very own gruesome rehabilitation process with God where He crushed and purged anything that was not of Him out of me. It was a psychological battle that lasted months until I found no value in alcohol or nicotine.
RK: What has been the reaction to your book by your parents, friends, and family, readers?
Kye: I must say the book has been surprisingly well received. I know that many people, including friends and family, purchased it for the ‘tea’ but I know that there will be those people who will be convicted by the testimony it comes with, knowing that there’s nothing that you cannot overcome if you submit it to Jesus.
RK: You`ve been doing book tours in Uganda and Kenya. What are the benefits? What ideas can you share with writers on book tours?
Kye: I’m a first-time author and I’ve come to realize that book tours and speaking engagements are the best way to get your work out there. It helps audiences to see beyond your book and to know the experience that you’re trying to sell them.
The most important thing you must know before going on a tour is to research your audience – find out what they need and give it to them.
Also, no space or platform is too small. Utilize every opportunity that you can get.
RK: If your life was a series of texts, which text (fiction or nonfiction) represents you at this moment?
Kye: “Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, And nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the Lord your God, And the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”–Isaiah 55:5
Currently, Isaiah 55:5 is what I walk in. People are attracted to freedom and knowing that God has blessed me with that, He is using me as a vessel of true freedom for the nations that He has called me to.
Get a copy of Kye`s book today on Amazon, Mahiri at UGX 50,000, Power FM offices and The Coterie Book Cafe in Bugolobi. It is a perfect gift to anyone who is struggling with the notion of Jesus and salvation, condemnation, addiction and lifestyle.