at the last moment (we would find the warmth)
tormenting tides would wane
the storms shall cease
the floods finally fade
our rainbow would spread…
however sleep fared
life’s dream would kiss you
as the rays bless more
wake to stimulating smiles
come to the hearth then
the ghost would have found fires
and the spirit would’ve warmed our homes
no holes then dear, we would have a long lasting laugh. amen.
(From Home Equals Holes: Tale of an Exile – Joint Winner Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize 2014)
No matter where you are, hang on to hope, smile. In our deepest despair, the bleakest night, there come’s a light to repair it all and make it worth the wait. Have faith. Merry Christmas guys- and lovely ladies. SVA
So, this started today. The Lockdown Live Series streaming on Facebook every Friday via The Youth Cafe.
The Series is an initiative of Sussex Writes (University of Sussex), SOS Children’s Villages & The Youth Café (Kenya).
We have participants from around the world. Today, we had Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Turkey& the UK, discuss issues around education in the pandemic, not just focusing on the challenges (also not leaving them out) but also looking at solutions.
It is a supercharged series& I am glad to be working with these amazing people from around the world, with colleagues& friends, like Jennifer Chinenye Emelife, George Clutterbuck & Emma Newport. Amazing how in a short while we’ve gone from doing Literature and leading workshop sessions in primary& secondary schools in UK to virtual sessions with the world on learning in broader views!
Dates for our Facebook video screenings &topics:
• June 19 th @12.00 (GMT) – Mental Health
• June 26th @12.00 (GMT)– Internet, Digital information, misinformation and disinformation
• July 3rd @12.00 (GMT)– Post-COVID-19 futures
Let’s work together to make things better& give the world a sustainable tmrw. Cheers!
Words came in a whisper
Echoed in thunder:
Do not let the dust force your feet too many steps forward
Many are the souls who sleep to wake
Across borders where the lines of existence are blurred
I was somewhere and it seemed I died
Then I woke to the sight of a ceremony
Where an aunt sat, three cherubs at her sides
The air raised my feet as I floated to her
She smiled, then passed a handkerchief
Drummers emerged from behind scenes
Black striped dancers swaying forward in snaked rhythm
Smiling to embrace this new entrant
As the dust rose, senses shouted that swange Was a dance for the feet of mortals
I called out to grace
Then woke, to find light pouring in
And more dancers stamping outside
Inviting me to a dance…
Often our happiness is not a result of things happening to us per se but what we decide to concentrate on, and appreciate. Do we count our blessings or misfortunes. Do we look at the things that go right or the things left, the things thay went wrong? I’m learning and relearning that even in the seemingly worst – or best – scenarios, redirecting our gaze can have profound implications.
I could tell a million stories to illustrate but…I guess our individual and collective stories, if we think about this will explain this more than a few words can ever do. And if a few things come to mind, please share. Would help me in something I am working on. Wherever this day takes you, may the times smile and your heart find a light to always shine, despite whatever darkness may abound.
PS: Picture related but not entirely related to above.
He met Adoo long ago, a stunning beauty: petite but full in every other office. Hers was a chocolate dark skin that shone through any season; glistening and moist. She had the most beautiful set of legs seen anywhere, complemented by a full back and perfect waist. An ample bosom that showcased a full chest and an endearing heart followed up and ended in a most rounded ever smiling face that delighted the weariest of souls. She also had a heart of such endless depths to match. Yes, Adoo was all of this and so much more. He—Ngusha—was not the beast, either. Well, not in any deformity. He was a hunk with a height to compensate for hers, and strength to show for her every frailty. He shared her complete smile and perfect denture in a remarkable face that brought older and younger opposites to obeisance. They seemed to complete each other, as everyone said. Nature seemed to agree for a rough wind always seemed to mellow to a loving whisper at their sight. It seemed a union made in heaven, as indeed they made it.
You should watch ‘Collateral Beauty’ starring Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris and Jacob Latimore.
If those names are not enough – or mean nothing to you – you should go for the story. I think that the movie is quite underrated, I think so mainly because I have not seen so many people talk about it. Maybe they did. Maybe it was just not in my space.
The idea of the movie is anchored on the three abstractions that bind us all – Love, Time, Death. A man loses his daughter and his life falls apart. He becomes a zombie and his company suffers. Somehow, he gets to be visited by these abstractions who he has written letters to while trying to make peace with his past. He basically has to reunite with time, not being stuck while coming to terms with death as he must rediscover love. While all this is happening, while our lead character is coming to terms with this, there are subplots on life, living, caring, sharing and a lot more to leave you thinking deep about what really matters in life.
The 2020 K and L prize is now receiving short stories on the theme, Africanfuturism. The prize money is $1,000 (New Zealand dollars) while the deadline is 1st December 2019. You have to be 18 to 25 years old to be eligible and submit a story of about 2000 words in Microsoft word format to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: 2020 K & L Prize.
I was talking only yesterday night to Jennifer and Onyinye about plagiarism and how it is the fastest route to be deported in civilised societies. Walahi, if you want to return to your country and you don’t have transport, let me give you free advice and you can thank me later: plagiarise and ensure you get caught. The only thing I will add to that one is that no (reputable) university in the western world would look at your application to study, teach or affiliated with them in any capacity. Except maybe as a cleaner or one of those other odd positions. Well, that one too na job, no be so? Na you know.
Anyways, this morning here we are and my dear uncle/friend/biggest brother Chuma has one more tale for the road: of plagiarism of a high order. Haba na, some people should borrow sense small. So, the gist is that a certain new movie, MR PRESIDENT written and directed by BRIGHT WONDER plagiarised Chuma’s short story, ‘The Ten Commandments of Nigerian Politics.’ In Africa, people’s names often portend their future or somehow they get to live lives similar to their names directly or indirectly… Walahi, this oga is a bright wonder! And to think that Chuma has been advocating the #BribeCode project which seeks to end grand corruption while there is grand corruption playing ten-ten in his backyard.
(Being the text of a talk delivered at Sussex Nigerian Society’s Black History Month event at the University of Sussex on Wednesday, October 10, 2019)
One of the things I remember while growing up in Ìbàdàn was that almost every technological item in the house was made in China. I knew this because it was written there: “Made in China.” It was hard to avoid. You just needed to look a bit under the item, or around it, and the sign was there: “Made in China.” I know this hasn’t changed as much today because a couple of weeks ago, my son, who is now almost six, asked me, “Is everything made in China?” He must have been observing too.
But it was not just electronic items that I associated with a particular place. I remember the razor blades we used — probably the same ones we still use in Nigeria — were made in Czechoslovakia. Well now, the country no longer exists, so it will now likely be written as “Made in Czech Republic”, but the association persisted long enough in my mind that I could not associate razor blades with any other place than Czechoslovakia, a country I could not place on the map, nor even properly spell if not for the razor blade.