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Why African youths should be young, black, successful

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Book Title: Young, Black and Beautiful
Author: Temitope Adeyemo
Publisher: Makehaven Ltd
Year of Publication: 2015
Number of Pages: 267
Reviewer: Oladipo Kehinde
(kennysons@yahoo.com)

 

In this book Young, Black and Beautiful the author Temitope Adeyemo talks about slavery, colonialism, racism, the role African leaders played in slavery and how Africans can get out of poverty.

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o posits that the whites did not teach the blacks violence and greed. It was already inherent in us. Just one man can re-position Africa. Just one black man can be the Messiah that will birth and lead the way to the promise land. We suffer in the midst of plenty. The problem is that we think collectively and nature does not like it.

The crowd is always weak. We have arable lands and yet we struggle to feed ourselves in Africa. For Africa to move forward we have to change our thinking process. We need creative visualization.

Adeyemo writes: “Why are we so backward?

Why must it be that almost everything negative is associated with the black race? What have we done wrong as a race?”p19. These are pertinent questions begging for answers. Africa is a meal for other races to have a chunk of her wealth and resources. Nevertheless, Africans are the problems of Africa.

Can any good thing come out of Africa? Why can’t we have United State of Africa? The gospel truth is that Africa is a burden to the world. All our able bodied youths are getting to Europe by air or by sea for greener pastures at the detriment of their lives.

White means purity and we buy the idea that black means darkness and despair. Our black skin is our consciousness. We need to be black and beautiful in our thinking process.

The Africans have their ways of lives and well organized system of government before the advent of colonialism.

All these are rooted in her culture, writing, medicine and their tools for hunting and farming. The author says: “I often wondered, and I am sure many black Africans would too, if Africa would have modernized if we were never colonized. I often wonder where Africa would be today if we never had slavery and colonialism in our history. Could we have joined the rest of the world in modernization?

Or would we remain as we were before the era of slavery and imperialism?” p 44. The memory of slave trade has really damage our self-image. We were Hopeless and voiceless during the slave trade. The blacks suffer at home and on the plantations.

Men, women and children were stored and packed like spoons inside a drawer in the slave ship.

They think and dream of freedom on their bed at night. We eventually got our freedom but what do we do with the freedom? We depend on the Europeans for grant, and the wealth we have, we kept in their banks and impoverished ourselves.

We have to move past our past and embrace our future. Adeyemo observes: “the shackles of racism have for long held black race in self-pity, inferiority complex and lack of motivation to succeed.” p 84. African countries ultimately need to explore and harness the mental and natural resources for her to complete with the developed countries of the world.

We should create a foreseeable future for our children. The solution to Africans problems can only be solved by Africans.

After independence what can we point out to as global achievement? The outbreak of diseases, genocide, and bad leadership are the proverb and parable spreading about the black race. We have dwelled too long for so long about slavery and colonialism. We have to break the chain of mental slavery and dependency syndrome.

The author affirms: “we as a people have focused so much on everything else apart from ourselves. Our story will remain as it is if we do not start developing human capital of Africa.” p 119.

The title of the book depicts that African youths ought to be young, black and successful. The reverse is the case. Our teeming youths cannot lay hands on jobs. The idle mind is the devils workshop. Mind is all: Mind is all.

The author points out: “if they do not have what to live for, they will surely look for what to die for.

Proof of this lies in many young Africans sojourning through dangerous North Africa routes to Europe.” p 185. Adeyemo has challenged all African youths to have a daring spirits to change the course of our destiny. This is a motivational piece lace with hope and aspiration for a better Africa.

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Literature

The Lion And The Jewel goes on stage

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The stage is set for the Crown Troupe of Africa production of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s play The Lion And The Jewel. Produced by the Ibadan Playhouse, the performances will hold at the Amphitheatre, Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, Lagos, on Sunday March 4, 2018.

 

Set in the fictional village of Ilujinle, The Lion And The Jewel tells a griping story involving four major characters – Sidi, the village belle; Lakunle, the village school teacher with Western ideals and believe in cultures such as eating with cutlery, kissing and bogus dressing; Baroka, the ageing but nimble witted Baale (head) of Ilujinle; and Sadiku, Baroka’s senior wife and head of the harem.

 

 

As the play opens Sidi, carries her pail of water past the school where Lakunle, approaches her and chastises her for carrying her water on her head and stunting her shoulders, but she is unruffled.

 

 

Lakunle loves Sidi and wants to marry her. Sidi does not love Lakunle; she finds him and his ideas about making her a modern, Western bride strange. However, she plans to marry him if he can pay the price as the village traditions necessitate. He refuses to pay her bride-price because he considers it an archaic tradition.

 

Meanwhile, Baroka has ‘got his eyes’ on the “feisty but voluptuous” Sidi. Baroka considers Sidi another conquest but Lakunle, whose cunning reluctance (or inability) to pay Sidi’s bride price, remains an obstacle. Sidi on the other hand will ‘not give’ unconditionally.

 

All three as well as the entire village are embroiled in a game that must be won by one.

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Literature

Tribe and Prejudice: Omatseye’s musings in service of humanity

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Title: Tribe and Prejudice
Author: Sam Omatseye
Publisher: Parresia Publishers Ltd, Lagos
Year of Publication: 2017
Pages: 63
Reviewer: Tony Okuyeme

 

“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” The above statement by Plato, one of the world’s best known and most widely read and studied philosophers, underscores the essence of poetry.

 

 

Sam Omatseye, award-winning Nigerian journalist, poet, novelist and playwright, in his latest collection of poems titled ‘Tribe and Prejudice’, demonstrates his commitment to the making of and desire for a better Nigeria, where though “tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.

 

 

 

In this collection, titled ‘Tribe and Prejudice’, Omatseye takes the reader, indeed Nigerians, on a reflective journey. While the last collection, Scented Offal, looks at Nigerian history with a view to “capturing some of the essence of the conflicts, crises, and challenges of our history over the years”, in this latest collection, Tribe and Prejudice, Omatseye interrogates further the sundry ills that have plagued the nation. He wants us to look at ourselves critically and realise the kinds of social ills that have bedevilled our nation for so long.

 

He laments the tribal psychosis and ethnic rivalry pervading our society. In this 63-page book containing 30 poems, the poet reminds us, with clarity of expression and vivid imagery, that “a nation which normalises evil can never make any progress”.

 

 

This is clearly captured in the eponymous poem – the first in this collection of 30 poems – Tribe and Prejudice. In it, Omatseye looks at the metropolitan city of Lagos, home to variety of people from different tribes and culture, living together happily, united by a foreign language, which they have adopted to suit their purpose. In the words of the author, “Tribes knitted beneath a tent/All tongues tied by one thread called English…”

 

But as politics and election came, ‘things began to fall apart’, tribal and cultural differences too centre stage. For, according to the poet, “but in that poll the cosmopolis/came apart one part at a time / One pact was one pact. / The Yoruba past / I jaw past / Igbo past and so on / But past make the present tense / Yoruba of the west / Igbo of the east / Were no longer at ease / The twain met in

Lagos / Not as friends or foes but as / Foes feinting as friends. “Suddenly all our past no longer met / In the pidgin English / We no longer convene in / one tongue.”

 

 

He laments the antics of the key politicians, especially Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe, two of the prominent political leaders of Yoruba and Igbo descent respectively. In the third poem, Massacre, 1967’, the author laments the invasion of Asaba by the Nigerian Army and the massacre of unarmed people – old and young – who had come to welcome them with songs and dance for liberating them.

 

 

Again, in another poem entitled ‘The Fart of War’, the poet expresses his personal view of war. He sees war as a foolish and destructive venture, an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

 

 

The poet notes: “A war does nothing / But build up / A ruin… Cities become fragile like / Human bones / Fields once green recoil to grey…”

 

With vivid description and haunting imagery, the poet captures other areas of tribalism and its attendant prejudice which are no doubt nauseating.

 

These include the supremacy battle in Niger Delta, among the Ijaw, Urhobo, and Itsekiri, the Ife and Modakeke case in Osun that raged for years until peace returned; and the activities of the Niger Delta militants and that of the Boko Haram insurgents. They also include Strangers Invocation; ‘Indolent beauty,’ ‘Girl Bomber,’ ‘Corruption’ Almajiri, Tyranny; ‘The Sham I Am’, ‘Wretches’, ‘The Vultures’ and others.

 

 

 

The collection is not just about historical events. The poet looks at some current issues such as the Awo statue at Alausa, Lagos, the Almajiri phenomenon, and some glorious moments such as the victory in the Under 17 World Cup Final in 2015 which he also celebrates in the poem, ‘A Mexican Tear’.

 

 

In all of these in Tribe and Prejudice, Omatseye shows us, with a deep sense of patriotism, his desire for a better Nigeria. Notes the Executive Editor of TheNews/PM News, Kunle Ajibade, author of ‘Jailed for Life: A Reporter’s Prison Notes’, Omatseye’s Tribe and Prejudice is passionate honest descriptive lyrical and reflective.

 

“The arguments here are empowered with measured rhetorical flourishes.

 

We are roused to rage, shame and pity as the poet confronts us with stupidities, madness, and calamities. We are roused to joy as he celebrates with us moments of glory and triumph. We are roused to value tenderness and to love even in our castle of miseries. We are admonished to consider constantly the futility of life. The poet reaffirms his faith in the goodness that will make humankind endure.”

 

Reading this collection, you cannot but agree with Ajibade when he also notes that the poet reminds us that “a nation which normalises evil can never make any progress”. Omatseye’s Tribe and Prejudice is a must read.

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Arts & Entertainments

Big Brother Naija: Housemate Ifu Ennada Calls CDQ Scammer

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Housemate in Big Brother Naija 2018, Ifu Ennada has accused popular rapper CDQ of defrauding her in school.

The aspiring actress said this in the house on Monday, adding that the rapper is a mad man.

Ennada told her fellow housemates that she did not only give him a lot of money but sacrificed a lot for him.

She tagged him a fraudster who did not return the favour when he had the opportunity to.

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