Be the First…

Today, Friday 30, September is the day we have all been waiting for, a day when all of our hard work finally pays off. Is someone still wondering what I’m talking about? Well guess no further as today we make history at the 1st Book Reading/ Book Launch of Fine Boys (in digital format) by Eghosa Imasuen.

So come 7pm this evening, all road leads to TerraKulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The event promises to be an exciting one as there would be ample opportunity to meet various authors and the literati in generally, a demonstration on how to buy the book on hibuzz and also an excerpt reading.

Be the first to get a copy!!!

 

For the Love of Mishai

We got locked out of the hostel again today. It wasn’t our fault, me and Chizzy. We were hungry, we had to come down to get something to eat. We would have come down earlier, but neither of us wanted to be the one to walk down six flights of stairs for a plate of mishai. We tried balloting; Chizzy was the loser but she refused to come down because she fetched the water we washed with this morning. I refused to come down because I was the one paying for the food. She had to contribute in kind. It was already past 9:00pm when our singing tummies dragged us down the stairs.

The front of our hostel was not as crowded as usual because the Business students were on vacation and the Law students were preparing for their examinations. I missed the surge of life that the crowds exuded—loud greetings, secret handshakes, heated arguments, bear hugs, laughter, and the occasional ‘Chei! My laptop! They’ve snatched my laptop!’

I missed the couples hidden in dark corners, exchanging sweet words and kisses. I missed the ‘Car Show’. Every night, different brands and models of cars would park in front of the hostel, some with young men and loud music, some with fat men and some with bodyguards, all waiting for our hostel’s nubile inhabitants.

Today the car park was empty; the dark corners were empty, waiting benches in front of the mishai stalls were almost empty. A few students could be seen buying already cooked noodles and fried eggs from the abokis. Some bought burger—suya with fried egg in bread. The woman in the ‘fries’ stall was closing early. Maybe no one wanted yam, fish and plantain tonight.

Chizzy and I opted for Indomie and egg with suya. We placed our orders in poor Hausa, hoping to win the aboki’s heart. Maybe he would add jara for us. While he prepared our dinner, we compared my school with her school.

‘Your school is an ajebo school,’ she told me. ‘In ESUT, you don’t dare come out at this time. If you do, you have to move in a group and the group must have at least two guys that can defend you in case of an attack.’

Yawn, yawn. The ESUT story; I’ve heard it a hundred times.  I wasn’t even paying attention to her. I was Facebooking on my cell phone.

‘Even if you dare come out with your phone, you don’t bring it out. Look at you, browsing, and nobody has tried to steal it yet,’ she scoffed. ‘Your school is so dry. I’m sure you don’t have cultists.’

‘We have cultists,’ I said defensively. ‘They’re just not as unreasonable as other schools’ cultists.’

‘The cultists in your school are cowards. I’ve never heard of a cult clash in UNEC.’

‘That’s because they clash in your school, or in town.’

That silenced her for a while. While we ate our noodles she compared our female students.

‘UNEC girls are so dry,’ she started. ‘I once went to a night party that some UNEC girls attended. They couldn’t even get up to dance. They just sat, pressing their phones and looking at each other. Trust ESUT girls to show them how it’s done—we danced and danced. We were the life of the party. I’m sure the person that brought those girls was sorry.’

‘They probably didn’t dance because they were too classy for that event.’

‘There was nothing classy about those girls. They weren’t dressed better than us. They didn’t even look as sophisticated as us.’

I rolled my eyes and tuned out of the conversation.

It was the sound of banging on metal that brought me back.

‘They’re locking the hostel!’ I gasped. ‘Let’s go!’

‘Wait. I haven’t finished eating.’

‘Hurry up.’

I did not want to be locked out again today. Last night we had knocked and knocked till the security men asked us to leave. We had to sleep in the male hostel. It was fun. We played video games and had pillow fights. Then someone sent me a text message telling me that I was a disappointment and had ruined my good reputation. Killjoy. I went to sleep after that.

‘I’m done. Let’s go.’

We got to the door in time to have it slammed in our faces. Then the knocking and begging began.

‘Mummy, we’re sorry. Please open the door.’

The woman was still within earshot so she came back and gave us a good dose of her mind, but she opened the door.

Hallelujah!

Jide Salu on Nigerian universities…then and now

Certainly, the great man of our generation, Chinua Achebe, the author of the most translated title ever written by an African – dead or alive – would never have considered, whilst passing through the great University of Nsuka in the east, that any University in eastern Nigeria would condone rapists, alleged or not. Or that university authorities when presented with such a tragic occurrence would fail to use all media resources at their disposal to issue regular press briefings to reassure the public, especially other potential victims, female students, that their campus is safe. It is beyond belief. In my time I can’t imagine my university doing any less. I attended University of Ife, now known as Obafemi Awolowo University, believing I was going to graduate an informed man, and this indeed happened.My parents were not rich, but it didn’t matter, really. I remember with fondness buying a pair of jeans at the Okirika market; they were second-hand jeans, but nobody would have guessed. I could never have let those girls cotton on to the fact that my jeans were second-hand.

How about this; there was no BlackBerry in my days on campus, neither was there Nokia. News reached you at a crawling pace. The world wide web had barely been imagined.

But, honestly, life was happily lived without any of the get-it-immediately gadgets. For instance, I had to go to the library pleading with the numerous epistles found in books to pop up with the relevant information required to increase the number of words for my project in order to impress the Prof, and not otherwise.

You also had to be creative. You had to develop your own personality or brand. It was during my uni years that I founded Rockshock as a magazine. There were no lazy misspellings disguised as ‘text English’ in those days. You wrote in full English, even if it wasn’t perfectly constructed. It really prepared me for the man I am today. I am totally bemused by the graduates of today. They can’t write, spell or even speak well, yet they graduate with distinctions. How? You ask them, but it better be in pidgin in order to get a sensible reply. In my days, entertainment was fun. We had students who could play musical instruments so a university band competition was created to discover those talents. Oh yes, we also had a dance competition. It was just so fun.

On dating, you simply find your level, like water. Everybody had a level they belonged to. If a girl said NO, it just meant NO. To be honest with you, rape was not on the list of extra-curricular activities as it seems to be in Abia State University…what a shame.

Bad Guys

Uche Okonkwo

They all liked to call themselves bad guys, but she knew Toju; he wasn’t one of those bad ones. He only talked tough and acted like them when he was with them, so he could fit in. With her he was gentle and sweet and sensitive, just the way she liked her men. He had only joined Triple X for protection; he didn’t want anyone to ride on him. And he wasn’t even that active sef. He just coasted along; present enough in their midst to be seen, absent enough to be forgotten. She didn’t bother to ask how come, then, he was the Capo’s right hand man.

If it hadn’t rained that day they may never have met. She had been walking home from Ofirima Hall—the queues at the bus stop were too long—when a car had sped past, bathing her with water from the puddle that had formed beside the road. As she recovered from the shock and got ready to scream, ‘God punish you!’ at the car, she’d noticed it reverse, making its way back to where she stood. He had stumbled out of the car, stuttering apologies and trying to wipe her down with his handkerchief. She’d let him drive her to the hostel.

It had rained again, a few minutes ago. Not the kind of rain that made the weather cold; the kind that seemed to cause heat to rise from the ground. She lay on her bunk, fanning herself with the handout she was supposed to be reading. She wiped her forehead with her sleeve. If only they would bring the light. She picked up her phone to call Toju again. She wanted to go to his room at GRA. He had AC. Her phone beeped. Text message from Tumini:

I herd cult boyz attackd one guy. Dey hav taken d guy to UPTH. Dey sed its TriplX dat did it. How far with Toju?

She tossed her phone on the bed and stretched. Tumini and gist. No wahala sha. Toju wasn’t among them. He was not one of those bad ones.

Written by: Uche Okonkwo

http://yourstruly-uche.blogspot.com/

A TALE OF ONE ‘SITY

Omo Faith Oshodin

I remember the first time I went through the gates of my university as an accepted and legitimate member of the establishment.

Ah, University…. that glorious tipping point in-to adult-hood….

It was such a fascinating environment. I saw my peers inter-acting freely in day-wear, wearing make-up, strutting about in stilettos etc.

Wow, this was…. FREE-DOM.

I was FREE.

No parental control, no rigid monitoring, I could go to a party now and stay out till the wee hours of the morning. No teachers asking me why I am wearing pink socks to class. I could wear heels now and walk up to any Teacher!

Ohh sorry, they are called LECTURERS.

And we do not have three terms any-more, it was now two SEMESTERS.

I had just been re-leased from the secondary school prison. That chasm over which lay the transition-from-child-hood-to-teen-hood gang-plank; where we journey from the pre-adolescenct era right through to our late teens. Ah, secondary school…. that exciting institution that told us what to wear, how to talk, how to think (well, they tried to any-way), when to sleep, what to eat, when to eat it, and the quantity to eat. That incubator that prepared the foundation for the quality of Women we will be-come in the future. I went to an all girls’ school, so I would always speak from that con-text. As I can-not re-late to the gender structuring in any other academic institution at that phase of my life.

I guess the years of sub-lime brain-washing in secondary school had been rather effective in that regard.

Any-way, let me focus on my track , so, I do not I de-rail…..

Where was I?

University….

I was driven in-to school by my Mum. I was looking as hip and as fly as I possibly could, I mean this was UNIVERSITY!

I was now a big girl…. who was being escorted to school by her Mum.

I wore a dark grey hooded jacket with a large logo on the back that had deep green and red in it (I’ve for-gotten what it was). I wore a red tee in-side with an inscription on the chest area (I’ve for-gotten what it was) and deep dark green leather and suede belt with subtle studs, a dark blue pair of Levi’s denim pants dropped a little low on the waist so it bunched slightly on my pair of block heeled pure black leather semi plat-form tasselled loafers. I had on a big swatch wrist-watch hanging on my wrist, right at the spot where hand met wrist. I had my Oscar de la Renta silver cat frames on as well with deep dark maroon lenses. And oh, let us not for-get of course, the thing that differentiates Fashion from Style, the most important accessory of all : ATTITUDE. The kind of Attitude which is bourne out of the conviction you have in your appearance that lends fluidity to your swagger when you know you looking mad good. I even had some mascara and lip gloss on as well!

For a thirteen year old, I was not doing badly in the style department.

So, we (Mum and I and the driver) drove slowly through the campus gates. I was feeling so hip; I had on some Snoop and Dre in the tape. Leaning side-ways to-wards Mum on my right, I began to nod my head hip-hop style. Intermittently moving my head to-wards the left to look out of the window, then turning right an placing my chin on the pad of my thumb while using my number one digit to periodically stroke my upper and lower lip.

Ah, the ignorant joy of pseudo-maturity! Great times, I tell you!

As I looked around me at the eighteen year olds, some nine-teens, seven-teens, they all seemed so… mature. Cool, I had some older friends back home in my neighbour-hood so I believed I was not going to be intimidated by this mature uni folks.

I also noticed there were lots of fifteen and six-teen year olds on campus as well…. I had a feeling these will constitute the majority of my peers here.

I was REALLY looking for-ward to stretching and prancing through the meadow of freshly grown Free-dom and rolling around in the grass.

It sounded like fun!

It sounded AWE-SOME FANTASTIC!

And so, my journey in-to the world as an independent entity began…..

This piece was written by: Omo Faith Oshodin  (I Am I)

You can see more of her writing at: www.thepathofomo.blogspot.com

Cultural renaissance in Nigeria

Of the ever increasing ways to feed one’s cultural appetite in Lagos, Reel Life definitely makes our top ten. What started out as a few film enthusiasts getting together to watch independent and classic films every Thursday evening has now become a full fledged Film Festival. Reel Life, the film society attached to the Life House in Lagos, along with the African Film Festival, New York, are set to host a film festival tagged Lights, Camera, AFRICA! 2011 Film Festival, which promises to showcase some of the most exciting and original pieces of African cinema from within the continent and the Diaspora.

 The film festival will hold over the Nigerian Independence day holidays from Friday 30 September to Sunday 2 October 2011 at The Life House, Lagos and other locations which will be confirmed in due course.

The Light, Camera, AFRICA! 2011 Film festival aims to stimulate discuss on issues and experiences that are rooted in the African experience. In this way, African stories will also be consumed by those who live them.This Year’s theme in centered around the heady days of colonial Africa and the continent’s  response to post colonial challenges in more recent time.

Films to be screened at Lights, Camera, AFRICA! 2011 Film Festival

  • A History of Independence (Senegal)
  • AVA (Nigeria)
  • Burning in the Sun (Mali)
  • Clouds Over Conakry (Guinea)
  • Cuba: An African Odyssey (Egypt)
  • Epilogue (Nigeria)
  • Ousmane (Senegal)
  • One Small Step (Nigeria)
  • One Way Touareg (Italy)
  •  Pumzi (Kenya)
  • Sex, Okra and Salted Butter (Chad/France)
  • Soul Boy (Kenya)
  • The Lunatic (Nigeria)
  • White Wedding (South Africa)

For details, click more

 

 

The 100 Book Challenge

Farafina Books,  in partnership with The Ovie Brume Foundation, has launched the 100 Book Challenge – a holistic literacy programme–to mark this year’s International Literacy Day. The launch of the programme, which took place on September 8, 2011 within the Ovie Brume Foundation premises, was set up to encourage  students, especially those in government schools, to read 100 books in a year by reading at least two books a week. The event also featured an interactive workshop with students on this year’s theme: literacy and peace.

Farafina Books supported this initiative by donating several copies of Zahrah the Wind Seeker by Nnedi Okorafor  and Chimamanda Adichie’s  Purple Hibiscus to the Ovie Brume Foundation Library, which students can visit any time to peruse the books available. We were so excited about this initiative and jumped at the opportunity to once again enrich lives, as we are dedicated to the  literacy and education of the Nigerian youth. 

The Ovie Brume Foundation was established in 2003 to provide young people with a range of recreational, social and educational opportunities, through which they will be encouraged to develop positive attitudes, discover their own gifts and talent, recognize the opportunities that are available to them and reach higher levels of achievement in all their endeavors.

There are several organizations and/or  individuals out there like the Ovie Brume Foundation that you can support, so please go out of your way to do good, help someone get educated (or at least begin the process of getting an education), and our country and the world at large will be a better place for it.

The Garden City calls all book lovers and sellers

Special Guests to the Garden City Literary Festival

Special Guests to the Garden City Literary Festival

The 4th Garden City Literary Festival begins in Port Harcourt on Monday, September 12th and runs until through Saturday, September 14th. The event which is fast becoming one of the most anticipated literary events in Nigeria will feature an International Literary Conference, book readings, theatre productions, interactive sessions with writers, publishers, academics and other literary professionals and a Book Fair with tons and tons of books to be sold.

Some of this year’s featured speakers are Chinua Achebe (he needs no introduction), Reverend Jesse Jackson from the USA and Ghanaian feminist and author Ama Atta Aidoo. Other speakers include authors Ilyas Tunc, Lisa Combrinck, Ken Wiwa, Chimeka Garricks , Michael Peel and Kachifo’s very own Eghosa Imasuen (author of To St. Patrick and forthcoming Fine Boys). Eghosa will be part of the panel for the Literature and War session chaired by Mr I.N.C. Aniebo on Wednesday September 14, 2011.

There will be ample opportunity to engage with writers and other renowned participants (think Chinua Achebe) and whether you love to read them or sell them, there’ll be books aplenty to buy at the Garden City Literary Festival Book Fair.

Of course Kachifo will be very much in the house so if you’re in Port Harcourt next week then please pay us a visit at the Book Fair. Our latest title Voice of America for which author E.C. Osondu won the Caine Prize, will be on sale as well as all of Chimamanda Adichie’s books, Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele (an excellent read by the way), Beem Explores Africa (which is back in print after selling out on the first print run!) amongst others.

What more can we say? See you in Port Harcourt!

The power of books: An inspiring true story

What better way to celebrate World Literacy Day than with this inspiring true story about the power of books to transform our world:

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country…withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him….

With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford…electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season (emphasis added).

Read more here.

What are you doing for world literacy?

As you may know, today is World Literacy Day. Literacy is a powerful tool for personal and social liberation. People who can read and write can broaden their horizon; they can access a wealth of information; they can have a voice and tell their own stories.

At Farafina Books, we are all about telling our own stories and helping others to do the same. That’s why we are donating a total of 100 books to select government schools in Lagos in honour of World Literacy Day. More on that later.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you! What are you doing to support literacy? In what other ways do you think publishers and ordinary people like you can support literacy in Nigeria?