At the Goethe Institut this evening, to attend the monthly Author Interaction there, there were drinks, and brilliant artists from various fields chatting, arguing, and sharing anecdotes and opinions on each other’s works. This is the whole purpose of the event, it turns out. Poet and novelist Lola Shoneyin, journalist and artist Victor Ehikamenor, journalist and writer Sam Umukoro, and poet and author Kume Ozoro, all sat and read from their works while fielding questions from the very interactive, attentive, active, and articulate audience.
Lola Shoneyin is the author of the famous novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, and an evergreen book of feminist poetry So All the While I Was Sitting on an Egg. Victor Ehikamenor is the author of Excuse Me! a collection of anecdotes previously published at 234Next newspapers, and the artist behind Amusing the Muse, an exhibition of drawings and paintings, on till May 31. Sam Umukoro, who worked previously with the Guardian, is the publisher of a website devoted to interviewing famous Nigerian writers, celebrities, and newsmakers. He has also published a book (whose name I have now shamelessly forgotten). The fourth guest, Kume Ozoro, is the author of a collection of private love poems.
Met also, for the first time, a few people with whom I have interacted over the social media for months, and even years. Deji Toye is one of those brilliant rascals, present in most of every cerebral gathering in Lagos, vocal and engaging in each of them sometimes to be mistaken for the host, and effacing enough to miraculously evade capture at crucial moments after the show for a short aside conversation. Until today. An affable man. I also had a chance encounter with Marc, the director of the Institut who sat around through the event and paid great attention to everything going on, sometimes gesticulating to the host to move it forward whenever the subject began to dwell too long on a controversial point. Then, there was Gbemisola, a loyal reader of the blog who surprisingly was able to recognize me out of a crowd, to my pleasant surprise. I also met Sola, a graduate of Theatre at the University of Ibadan who invited me to come see a few of his live theatre workshop/performances in Ikeja which takes place once every month. I intend to, sometime.
With writer/columnist Bayo Olupohunda much later around Ikoyi, among defiant spirits of the Bogobiri club, dreadlocks woven taut on a couple of heads, we chatted for hours with Swedish journalist Erik Esbjörnsson in town to research the portrayal of women in Nollywood movies – an interest of both himself and Mr. Olupohunda. We talked Nairobi, Uppsala, Eldoret, Germany, and Iowa, beers flowing around the warm glow of the club insides. It is “Marley Day” in Lagos, although, curiously, none of the sounds from the muffled bar speakers played Raggae. Outside, painted on the fences and gate in colourful motifs of the street, are the colours of Lagos, and scrap metals that wear visual arts like fancy clothes. I could as well have been in Fela’s famous Africa Shrine.
It’s night now, and I’m back home, in the arms of Mrs. Tubosun, where I rightly belong.
Once upon a time, a camera – a Canon handheld camera. Two cameras, actually, of the same brand, both purchased in the US. That is where the story begins and stops, except for a few other details: each originating in a Radio Shack shop, for about $250, and both ending up lost, along with a treasure trove of photographs that would never again be retrieved. One originated in Providence, Rhode Island, and disappeared at Six Flags, Missouri. The other at Radio Shack, Glen Carbon, and disappeared in a taxi in Lagos Nigeria.
And so one day, a bright idea: why not kill two birds with one stone? The camera on one of the latest Sony Xperia smartphones is reputed to be one of the best in the market. And since in need of a new phone anyway, an investment in a smart phone – the first for this traveler reputed for unexplainable reticence with regards to new technological fads – seemed, all of a sudden, like a good idea. The traveller gains access to the latest perks in mobile technology as well as a handheld camera all embedded in the same device.
It seems now to have worked so far, except for the occasional wait for the camera function to activate when summoned in the middle of another phone function. With thousands of new app functionalities to improve the camera experience, there seems to be something to keep me occupied for a few months to come. And then, a few days ago, I stumbled on Instagram, and the journey is complete. Here’s a platform for showcasing the trial and errors of one’s photographic experiences and experiments with colour and filter.
Enjoy these very few ones around Lagos, through the eyes of an Xperia lens.
Lọjó Kinni, Osù Kẹta (Ẹrẹnà) 2013, àwọn olùlo twitter tó gbọ Yoruba yóò sọọ láti àárọ dálẹ.
A bẹrẹ ètò yìí lódún tó kọjá láti fá Twitter lẹsẹ kí wọn ba le fi ọn ba le fi èdè Yorùbá sí ọkan lára àwọn èdè àgbáyé tí a ti lè lo gbàgede náà. A se aseyọrí díẹ nígbà tí Twitter dá wa lóhùn padà láti ẹnu òsìsẹ ògbifọ wọn kan tí ó sọ wípé wọn ti gbọ ohùn wa, sùgbọn yó se díẹ kí wọn tó fi ọn tó fi Yorùbá kún-un nítorí àwọn ètò díẹ tí wọn ní láti se kí ó tó le seése. A tún ti bá wọn sọrọ lẹẹkan síi nígbà tí òsìsẹ Twitter miran @lenazun wá láti bèèrè irú èka Yorùbá tí a máa n lò láti se ògbifọ àti láti kọ ìwé ìjọba ní Yorùbá. (Ìdáhùn rẹ ni Yorùbá Àríwá-Ìwọ Oòrùn, tí a n sọ ní Òyó). Léyìn èyí, nkò gbọ ohun mìràn.
ỌJọ Sísọ Yorùbá Ní Twitterní March 1, 2003* jẹ láti tẹsíwájú èyí tí a bẹrẹ lódún tó kọjá, sùgbọn nísìnyí láti fi ẹwà èdè abínibí wa hàn nínú ayé ẹrọ ayélujára tí a n gbé nísìnyí. Ó lè má sẹlẹ rárá wipe ọjọ kan yóò wà tí èdè tí gbogbo aráyé yóò máa sọ lórí ayélujárá yóò jẹ èdè abínibí nìkan, torípé àwọn tó n sọ wón kò pọ púpọ (Yoruba tíẹ sí ní ju ọgbọn million lọ), sùgbọn bí ọnà láti sọ èdè yìí bá ti se wà, bẹẹ náà ni a ó se ní àìmọye ojúlówó ọnà láti fi àsà àti ìse wa hàn fún gbogbo àgbáyé
Bí a se seé lésìí, àwọn hashtags láti lò lọdún yìí ni #tweetYoruba àti #twitterYoruba. Fún àwọn tí wón bá tún fẹ fa Twitter lẹsẹ wípé kí wọn jẹ kí á se ògbifọ gbàgede náà sí Yorùbá, kí wón sèdà tweeti wọn sí @twitter àti @translator.
Èyí ni atọka ètò náà. Jọwọ fi han gbogbo àwọn ènìyàn rẹ lórí èrọ ayélujára
Àwọn olùlo twitter tí ó bá kọ àwọn oun tó mọgbọn wá jùlọ ní ọjọ yìí yóò gba asọ “Mo Le Sọ Yorùbá” àti báàgì ìfàlọwọ láti ọwọ @SpeakAfricaApps tí ó n se ìgbọwọ ètò yìí, ati kirediti lati owo Think Oyo (@ThinkOyo). Ètò yìí tún wá pẹlú àjọsepọ àwọn wọnyìí náà: Molara Wood, ònkọwé (@MolaraWood), Alakowe Yorùbá (@AlakoweYoruba), The Yoruba Cultural Insittute (@yorubaculture), àti Kevin “Kayode” Barry (@KayodeOyinbo).
My best moments from the movie Lincoln (which I have now managed to see after many weeks of pining in Lagos) were the parliamentary sessions where lawmakers debated and offered their opinions on the proposed Thirteenth Amendment.
I have not yet seen the full movie Iron Lady, but the parts I have looked forward to the most (from what I’ve seen in the trailers) are the bombastic debate scenes in the British House of Parliament. It is unquantifiable, the pleasure of the spectacle: lawmakers jousting with their best verbal weapons to the loud cheers and jeers of their audience. No doubt like the Roman Senators that long ago predated them, the congressmen made language beautiful to hear, and its use (for ill or for good) pleasant to behold.
Here is one from the real life British Parliament
The example in the movie Lincoln was a little disconcerting for me to understand since the American Presidential system (as opposed to the British Parliamentary system) has made it such that debate in the House of Representatives – being deliberately representative – is now much more decorous than the movie portrayal. What happened in the intervening years? The loss of the power oratory? Political correctness after the many years of political assassinations? Laziness? What?
Here is another example from the Jamaican Parliament, sent to me by a friend:
Beautiful, isn’t it?
If I had a magic wand, I would turn all world democracies into Parliamentary systems, if only to squeeze out of their lawmakers (and thus representatives of the language and culture) the last juice of their lingual soul almost always laid bare in the moments of fiery legislative debates on the floor of the house. As per the United States, look no further to the present constitution of the Senate and the House of Reps. The last time one of them tried to interrupt the president with a two-word interjection, the whole country went into a collective apoplexy. (See Wilson, Joe).
As far as Nigeria is concerned, the last great hope for such grand language use is the former Rep. Patrick Obahiagbon (See below). Not half as flowery as the British Parliamentarians (but far more entertaining, and consistent than his fellow Reps in the Nigerian House), and sometimes wrong in the usage of the heavy words he had chosen as vessel for his bombastic performances, he carried the flag for as long as he could until he was voted out.
We should bring flowery back.
I thank Lincoln for this (however unintended) incentive.