Monday, November 17, 2014

Imperfection series - Part 4: I only wear pure gold

People like me can only use pure gold, lol. Anyway, have you heard of people who only use pure gold or silver, or else they would break out in rashes? Strange right? Do you think they are pompous? Well, sorry o. I am one of those people. I’m sure you have not noticed, but if you observe my pictures, you will see that my neck and wrist are always bare -No jewelleries. And if you see and jewellery, it is a pure gold one I borrowed from my mum.

It was at a young age I discovered that I react on my wrist, but most especially my neck, and not just to impure jewelleries only. Once anything touches my neck, air deposits on it, and turns to moisture, I break out. Even when my hair was relaxed and long, if I dare to let it down, I would break out.

If you touch my neck, and anything from your hand deposits on it, I break out. Even if you just wink at my neck, I break out. Once I break out, it takes about three weeks for the break out to dry up, that is if I have not broken out again. By now, you would realise that it was almost impossible for me to maintain a smooth neck. My neck was constantly covered with rashes, because let’s face it, even though I wasn’t using jewellery, or letting my hair down, how possible is it for dust not to settle on an exposed part of our bodies? Even if I were a turtle neck to cover my neck, the cloth touching my neck would still cause me to break out because of the heat and sweat. Remember the moisture is what actually reacts with the particle, and causes me to break out.

One day, in late 2012, I just told myself I can’t go on like this. I had gone for a Spoken Word TV recording, and the rashes were so bad and obvious. I was dressed to the tooth, shoe on point, hair on point, but my neck was just the dent in my appearance.

I went home that day, and looked at my wardrobe. I saw one triple action cream, which claimed to fight inflammation, fungi, and bacteria. It is called Funbact-A. It had been given to me about a year earlier, in the hospital. Anyway, I used this cream, and it dried out my rashes. Previously, I just used to wait for the rashes to dry out itself, if it ever gets to dry out. Not only did it dry out my rashes, it prevented further break out caused by dust and moisture. There was a time I went to the UK, and forgot my Funbact-A at home. See how break out attacked my neck again. Now that I found a solution, I can’t afford to play with it. The good thing is that it is so cheap, N200, and last for long, since it is just for my neck.

Of course, I still can’t use jewelleries that are not pure gold or silver, but at least, I can maintain a smooth neck, and not carry an embarrassing skin around.

So if you were thinking of buying jewellery for me, make sure it is pure gold or silver. That way, I don’t have to go around bare-neck, or borrow my mum’s jewellery. You can even take it a notch higher and buy me platinum or diamond.

P.S: I am in no way a representative of Funbact-A tube cream, neither do I have any affiliations with them. I have not been contacted by them, or paid to do this post. I just mentioned what I did to overcome the imperfection of mine. For more post on my imperfection series, click here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Imperfection series - Part 3: I don’t want to faint

It all started when I was in my 300 level. I had fallen very ill just after exams. When I went home, I was still quite ill, but I had to go to school to submit my Civil Engineering work book. So in my sickness, I managed to drag myself to school. The plan was to just drop the book with the staff in the lab, and go back home.

When I got down from the bus that dropped me in school, I was walking to my faculty, and started getting weaker, and weaker. By the time I was in front of Mariere hall, I had started stumbling, and I had to find a dirty slab to sit on. One guy upstairs, who would later become a small-time TV personality saw me, came down, and lectured me about how he saw me stumbling before I finally succumbed, and the dangers of abortion, and why I shouldn’t do it again. Nonsense. I that made a vow to keep myself till marriage, one guy sees me stumbling, and concludes I just had an abortion. God dey sha. Anyway, I digress.

That day was my first incident of hypoglycaemia attack. That thing is bad, trust me. Even though it doesn’t kill, it can disgrace. It normally happens when I have stressed myself a bit, or when I am ill (I hardly fall ill). It is when the blood sugar level suddenly drops, and you begin to feel dizzy, stumble, and eventually faint if you don’t sit down. It is the opposite of those things that affect diabetes patient, i.e. too much sugar in their blood. This one is too low sugar.

I said it is a disgrace because when it happens, you must sit down, or lie down, to regain energy, or drink water or put something in your mouth. You must sit down or lie down. No option. So the thing is I start looking for a place to sit, begging people, can I sit in your shop for 5 minutes? I would then rest for ten minutes, walk, and beg again after when it descends, until I finally get home to find my bed. I would do anything I could, in order not to faint, cos you would actually feel yourself descending to the fainting level. I didn’t want a case when I would hit my head on any dangerous thing, fall in the middle of the road, or have people rob me because I fainted in front of strangers, and became unconscious.

The only time I fainted was during NYSC, and I was jogging. One minute, I was jogging, and started becoming weak, the next minute, people were all over me, reviving me. I wasn’t even conscious of when it happened.

I have sat in shops, at pepper-seller benches, on dry slabs, with my leg inside dry gutters. One time, I kept stopping and sitting at different places, that I got to the beginning of my street, entered the local clinic because I knew they had a staircase. I walked to their staircase, and lied down on it for like 10 minutes. The discomfort did not matter to me. I just laid there, and prayed no nurse or doctor would catch me there. I hate hospitals, and the owner is my mum’s friend. I didn’t want any panic incident. After 10 minutes, I felt I had regained enough energy to walk home, which was like 10 houses away. However, after about 4 houses, I couldn’t continue. I had started stumbling again. I walked to the stand of the pepper-seller, sat on her bench, and begged the girl to give me 5 naira pure water, that I would send the money to her later. All dignity had been stripped off o. The girl was kind of alarmed, because she did not know what would make me sit on her bench, and then beg. She looked at me, and immediately gave me the water. I was weak and almost gone, and everyone could see. After drinking the water, I regained enough strength to walk to my house, which was just few houses away.

Unfortunately, someone had seen me, and went to report the incident to my mum. She and my mum called me. I smiled, and brushed it off. Right in front of my mum, the woman insisted that I must take care of myself, because what she saw wasn’t good. In my mind, I was like “see this alakoba woman, reporting me.”

That was the last time it happened sha, because a few days later, I started driving, and it means I don’t walk continuously again. I only walk when I have to go to the bank, and I don’t feel like driving.
So that’s hypoglycaemia for you. That thing is just a very disgraceful something.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Imperfection series - Part 2: No closeness

So I promised to continue the imperfection series today, after introducing it last week. I hope you all enjoy this episode.

When I was about five years old, my grandmother discovered it. And here's how. At Christmas period, she used to line all her grandkids up, and brush their teeth with charcoal before we are allowed to use toothpaste, by ourselves. I guess you didn't know charcoal made teeth white, tight? Anyway, when brushing my teeth, she would say "clench your teeth, clench your teeth" in Yoruba. I would reply saying "I am clenching my teeth" yet many of the charcoal would enter my mouth. After looking well, we discovered that Atilola's teeth don’t close.

I have open bite.

I'm sure you are like "what's that?"

It means I cannot really bite.

Still confused? In short, my incisors and canine don't meet.

Ideally, I shouldn't be able to pronounce words with t, s, and other letters which involves the use of the front teeth, since mine aren't really functional. Many open with open bite have a speech impediment, but I have been able to manipulate my mouth, to make sure that's not the case with me, although I wasn't conscious of my adjustment. I guess it just grew with me.

I find a way to distort my lips and tongues, to make sure I can pronounce some words. As for the, lips, I push it out, and cover my dentition with it. Of course, I didn't know I used to do this, until I started seeing myself speak. To understand a bit of what I am talking about, look to the right, and you will see a video saying ‘watch society’s victim.’ You don’t need to watch the video. Just take a look at the still cover picture, and see the position of my lips. Of course, you might not notice when I’m talking because my lips are in constant motion.

As for the tongue, at first, it might look like a lisp, but when you look well, you will know it is not.

To correct an open bite that wasn't developed by habit, it requires heavy, intense, and long- term surgery. I ain't got time for all that, and I earn part of my income from performing with my mouth. I'm not sure I can sacrifice two years for my jawbone to be constantly shifted. Also, the dentist said since I was to adjust to the condition well, I don't have to go through the procedure.

Anyway, that’s one part of my physiology which is imperfect. I hope you get to enjoy next week’s own.

Bonus: I have a silver tooth, although it is not visible, because it is a premolar. I installed it two months ago when my filling cracked, and I had to get a new tooth. I wanted gold, but it was too expensive for my pocket, so I opted for silver.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Introducing the Imperfection series + part 1

I am starting a new series on this blog, called the Imperfection Series, and it would last for five Mondays, beginning from today. I should have done it a long time ago, shortly after the Close Shaves Series, but I was just plain lazy to get on with it. My sins have finally caught up with me.

I find out that the two times I have run series on this blog, readers really enjoyed it, though their were not sequential.

The Imperfection Series is basically articles on true facts about me that make me scarred and kinda different. Trust me, some of them are just weird. Even though they are somehow, they are part of who I am. But if I came back to the world, I wouldn't pick those kinds of imperfections o.

Anyway, the first one is about the scars I have, due to my accident four years ago, so I wouldn't write much about it. In order word the first episode in this series is the last episode in the Close Shaves series. You can read about it here.

I will continue properly next week. You don't want to miss it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Ex and I

We sat together one midnight, reading together. We were in the same department in the faculty of engineering, but he was a year ahead of me. He was tall, light, and handsome. I felt he was one of the finest guys I had ever laid eyes on, I don’t know if he felt the same way about me, cos I was a cute petite girl, with very tomboyish attitude.

We hit it off immediately. He showed interest in me, and I in turn, flashed a very bright green light to him. Before you knew it, we were an item. My mum found out I was in a relationship, she was not happy because he was not Yoruba. She needn’t have bothered her head, the relationship wasn’t going to last anyway.

I started getting tired of him. He loved me too much. He was too in to me. He was too crazy about me. He wished he could hang out with me every day, every second. It irritated me, annoyed me, drove me nuts. I began to pull away, become distant, but tried to cover it up. I didn’t want to break his heart. One midnight reading session, I lied that I wasn’t in the department reading. His roommate saw me, and told me my ex was somewhere around. He was surprised not to see us reading together. I begged his roommate not to tell him he saw me. His roommate told him.

He confronted me. I tried to give him a flimsy excuse, he wasn’t buying it. He knew I wasn’t that much into him anymore. He didn’t know why. I didn’t know why. I mean he was a fine boy. What else could a girl want in uni? Some days later, after a couple of back and forth, he broke up with me. He said he wasn’t interested anymore, he didn’t like me anymore, he had started liking someone else. It was finally over. It lasted just three months. I was sad, I tried to weave the whole thing to look like his fault, but it was my fault. I think I was sadder that he was the one who broke up with me, rather than the fact that the relationship had ended. Whenever anyone asked, I told them he was the one who broke up with me. I played the victim.

We went on holidays. He started missing me, he called once or twice. When we resumed, he asked me out again, and said we should start afresh. I had gotten over him and the break up, so I turned him down. I went home that day, called him up, and gave him a tongue-lashing of his life. How dare he break up with me, put me through all the torment, and then turn around to come back? My position as the victim was finally cemented.

We were just on a ‘hi’ level. When my dad died, he commiserated with me. I knew when he got his first job, and eventually left the country for his masters. We kept in touch from time to time, via email. A few years later, I promised to let him know the next time I was in the UK.

I went to the UK when I was going through a rough patch, and told him I was around. His reply was kinda cold, saying he was in India or so. I got back to Nigeria, and he kept in touch. Few months later, I was back there. We hooked up. He was extremely proud of me, and what I had achieved. I was proud of him and what he had achieved. He was almost done with his PhD, at such a young age. I asked him if he told his girlfriend he was meeting me, to which he affirmed. He took me to a nice Japanese restaurant. I told him about my most recent ex, and what his family put me through. He scolded me for wanting to marry into such a family in the first place. It was a great time with him, and I promised him a nice time whenever he comes to Nigeria.

A year later, he came to Nigeria to apply for a visa to Germany for a job interview. He was such a high flyer. He called me up on my promise. After several clashes in time schedule, we finally fixed the date he was supposed to leave the country. I took him out. He told me of how he proposed to his girlfriend. I took him to the airport, stayed with him till he went through the security check point. His girlfriend called. This time, I didn’t bother asking him if she knew I was with him. Of course, she didn’t know. She would most likely not approve that he hooked up with me in Nigeria. That was the last time I saw him.

The next time he was in Nigeria, it was for his wedding. He invited me… as a friend… all the way to Port Harcourt. Of course, I didn’t go. Even if it were in Lagos, I wouldn’t go. To do what? Who do I know there? He’s the only one I know. I was happy for him. I congratulated him.

My ex and I are really cool friends.

But I knew it was time to end the friendship.


Monday, October 13, 2014


Abdulsalam was just a Hausa guy that used to hang out with his fellow Hausa friends in their kiosk opposite my house. Well, I honestly am not sure if he’s Hausa, but you know that to all westerners, any black skinned guy from the north is automatically Hausa, so he’s Hausa to me. Whenever, I, my brother, or mum, gets to the front of our gate, once we unlock the padlock, he would rush there and open the gate for us, and then lock it. He did this all the time, and we said thank you. It was obvious he wanted something, but we didn’t know what it was, and we were not interested in finding out. Ours was an extremely nuclear family who minded their business, and we intended to keep it that way. Abdulsalam also washed my brother’s cars, and cars of some fellow neighbours packed outside, for a little stipend. There was nothing strange about that.

After a while, Abdulsalam couldn’t take it anymore. He had been throwing bait at us, and we weren’t biting. He approached my brother, and directly made his request. He wanted to be our gateman. The thing is, we didn’t need a gateman. We were fully grown, and all had keys to the house. We could open the gate by ourselves, and we didn’t have so many numerous visitors that we would have to be opening the gate for 100 times a day. But Abdulsalam was wise. He knew we had a gateman’s apartment, and he was badly in need of a place of his own. I’m sure he saw it as a mansion, compared to him squatting in the kiosk with about 5 other friends of his. The gateman’s apartment has been used as a poultry house, dirt house, thrash house, store, ram and goat house, and every other thing apart from a gateman’s house. Abdulsalam knew this, and he was gunning for the kill.

So he and my brother reached an agreement. He would man the gate, wash all the cars, care for the flowers, and sweep the compound. He would in turn, get his accommodation and a monthly salary. He would not be allowed to have the keys to the house. He was to leave the house shortly after my mum and brother leave, go about his business, and return when everyone returned. Did I mention that Abdulsalam was also a shoemaker? Yes he is, a wise guy with multiple streams of income, no matter how meagre. So I saw Abdulsalam in the compound one day. I asked him what he was doing inside, and he told me about the agreement between him, my mum, and my brother. And that is how Abdulsalam became our gateman by force.

The thing is Abdulsalam does not wash my car often. I work from home weekdays, and resume other jobs on weekends. Abdulsalam knows this, I know this, and we are both fine that my car gets the least priority. Another thing is Abdusalam is not so security conscious. Whenever he gets back in the evening, the gate should be bolted, rather than locked, cos Abdulsalam is there to man it. But sometimes, he’s nowhere to be found, and the gate is wide ajar. One time, I got home almost 12 midnight, and the gate was not locked, or even bolted. Abdulsalam had slept off in the compound, and he didn’t hear me come in. it was not until I actually drove in, that he jumped up. Of course, I reported all these lapses to my brother, concerning his ‘staff’. He is getting better now, but there’s still so much to be done concerning his security ‘expertise’.

One day, I was smelling strange things in the house. I investigated, and realised Abdulsalam didn’t go about his daily business. He has invited one of his friend in, were burning hausa incense. I accosted him, and he said it was perfume that he wanted his room to be scented. Inside me, I was mad, but I gently told him not to burn strange incense in the house. It smelt really foul and was choking the whole house. I reported to my brother, who was mad about the fact that he breached the agreement and didn’t leave the house after they all did, invited someone over, and was burning strange thing.

Whenever he does something wrong, and you tell him, he would start kneeling down, begging, saying “Sorry, ma, I no go do am again” over and over again. The whole scene is just a sight to behold that one just shakes one’s head.

Last week, I went to buy eggs at another kiosk opposite my house. Abdulsalam was at the kiosk, talking to the owner. He had a burning cigarette in his right hand. Immediately I told the woman to give me egg, he heard me, and threw the cigarette away, right in my presence. I asked him why he was hiding and pretending. I guess he’s an idiot who thinks I am an idiot. Does he think I don’t know he smokes like a chimney? Doesn’t he know he reeks of cigarette fumes every Sunday and Saturday morning, when I tell him to quickly clean my car, because I need to rush out? Doesn’t he know his extremely red eyes give him away when he is high on something? Or is it his brash statements I know he would have never had the guts to make on a normal day?

Abdulsalam set up a shoemaker shop in front of the house without permission. He constituted a nuisance. He used an umbrella of mine I had been looking for, for a about two weeks. I collected my umbrella, and told him to take his make-shift shop down. I reported to my mum and brother who were away at work. He didn’t want to take his shop down, he kept lying about different thing, shouted, begged, lied. In the end, it got a bit messy, he said he was leaving, and boasted about he had done ‘security’ in four different places. He packed his load and plates along with my mum’s fabreware knife, which I collected when I saw. He packed his bed, along with my chill and relax banner he was using as a bedsheet, which I had warned him never to do when I first saw him. Before I knew the banner was missing, it was six days after Abdulsalam had left.

Something to Note: I just added that last paragraph this morning. The first edition of this story didn't end like this, cos Abdulsalam was still with us when I wrote this article. I ended it with "This guy, Abdulsalam, is just a case. But still, we would accommodate him… with caution, though. He means no harm." But I guess he rewrote his own story.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Random musings of an overwhelmed multitasker

There are many times when I can hardly wait for Monday to arrive cos I know one of my 20 scheduled interesting blog posts will appear, people will love it, enjoy it, and comment on it, and I will be a star writer of blogsville.

There are other times I pray for Mondays not to come becasue I basically have nothing to write. Life is overwhelming, I can't think, so many struggles associated with being an adult, trying to make ends meet, and maintaining a certain standard of living. The whole head just blocks, and creative juices stop flowing. And that is where I am at right now.

It is at times like this that I pull stuff from my archives, and just post. But still, it doesn't get the real job done. The work of connecting to you followers on the same level you do on a normal day. Followers can see through these things, you know? They can tell when we are not really investing in writing something specially for them, when we are just throwing content at them. It shows in the number of comments that follow.

At this point, I need God to come through for me. I have so much work to do. Too many people I am leading, too many committees I am handling, too many tasks to complete, that I can hardly find time to live life as it should be lived. I just wish people won't drop the ball, so I don't have to start policing anyone. If God doesn't help me between now and December, I am done for.

I have never worked in my life, like I have done in this year if 2014, and trust me when I say I work hard on a normal day. I can't wait to just take a break from all these, and just take a vacation. I didn't even have one this summer, but Christmas shall not pass me by.

This is probably the 'randomest' post I have ever written. I just didn't want to leave this space blank, or pull another article from my archives.

I'm out. Back to the ups and downs of all the work waiting for me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Damn the Man!!!

Aite, people of blogsville. I've been so busy that I couldn't write for the blog in the past few weeks, so this week I decided to pull something out of my archives, in case you haven't read my second book. Someone asked me to write about feminism, so I just decided to do parody of one fiery post on feminism that a blogger posted two years ago. If you can guess the blogger, please don't let me know. I don't want to know that you know, lol. Anyway, enjoy.

“Good day people, as we all know, my name is SheTalks. I welcome you to another episode of ControverShe, the number one TV program highlighting controversial issues and causes of women in our society.

On today’s episode, we have a very special guest with us. She is no stranger to you and I. Her name has been causing ripples in the headlines for the past one year. Her personality rhymes with the title of our program, ControverShe, as she is sure to always be found wherever controversy resides. Her best–selling book, Damn the Man, is everywhere. And the rate at which women of all types are rushing it is faster than a cascaded running prowess of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. I think I will term that Yosain Blolt effect. Yeah, so her book sells faster than Yosain can ever think of running in their life.

This makes me to wonder, if women are eating this book, Damn the Man, just like a greedy fat child gobbling up a slice of chocolate cake, can we then assume that this is what they have been waiting for all along? Can we say that they love this woman because she has been able to take the bold step, and voice what other women have wanted to voice all along, but stayed back due to the fear of whatever it is that might have been holding them back? Is this why she is seen to be the saviour of all women?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am sure by now, you already know who I am talking about. Join me as I welcome to the studio, no other lady but Miss Damiete Jamessssssss.”

The camera zooms in to show Miss Damiete James, who was spotting a denim jacket, baggy chinos trousers, with a face cap, that had ‘Damn the Man’ printed on it. She had no jewellery whatsoever on any part of her body.

A thunderous round of applause sounded in the studio. The audience was filled with people carrying placards of ‘Damn the Man’, ‘We love you Damiete’, ‘You are my hero’, ‘You are my goddess’, etc. Some even had Damiete’s name, face or ‘Damn the Man’, tattooed on different parts of their bodies.

SheTalks: Welcome to ControverShe, Miss Damiete James.

DJ: Thanks for inviting me SheTalks. And, please, call me DJ.

SheTalks: Alright DJ. Wow, imagine the show of such love and admiration from the crowd there, DJ. How do you feel when you see people get so excited when your name is mentioned?

DJ: Yes, I am always honoured to see people admiring me, but to be honest, I don’t see what big deal is. People get excited over people like President Obama all the time, and no one makes a big deal out of it. So, I see no reason why anyone should make a big deal out of mine. Is it because I am woman, and he is a man?

The audience’s excitement returns, to the point of being uncontrollable.

SheTalks: (Facing the audience) I know we all love DJ to the point of near-worship, but if we really want to enjoy this episode, we will have to calm down a bit, so we can really hear what she has to say to us. Thank you. (Turning back to DJ) Ooh, you have a point there DJ. But don’t you think it’s because they see you as their hero, the first vocal and unashamed feminist that has been able to penetrate the media, and achieve the enormous amount of things you have?

DJ: (Turning to the crowd) Hi ladies, please, if you feel yourself being overcome with excitement again, just follow my recommendation in Chapter 21 of Damn the Man, I am sure you remember it. (Facing the SheTalks) Yes, I believe that is it. But I am here to tell the women that they can do better than me, and achieve so much more, if only they would get up their butts, do what they have to do, and just ‘Damn the Man’.

Surprisingly, there was no single noise from the crowd. The view of the camera zooming in on the crowd was enough to explain the reason why. Everyone in the crowd had their mouth taped with a ‘Damn the Man’ tape.

SheTalks: Wow DJ, if a pin should drop here at this moment, we would hear it. Just a minute ago, the crowd could not be quietened, but now the whole place is as quiet as a graveyard. What exactly is in Chapter 21 of your book that you just asked them to do?

DJ: Well, in Chapter 21, I explained that many women like to chatter, overly display their emotions, get excited easily by men, thereby spitting meaningless mushy words, engage in useless and idle gossip, be hysteric, which is obviously true, as you saw them demonstrate here a few minutes ago, and some other useless stuff that mostly the non Damiete-trained women do. I explained that if they continued with these kinds of behaviour, they would not gain the respect of men. So what they should do is be emotionally closed like the man, act mature, and stop being excited at the every little sweet-nothing a man tells them, because that is what they are… Nothings! Also, if they feel they cannot suppress this negative emotion of theirs whenever they find themselves in situations that threaten to bring that embarrassing side of them out, they should just tape their mouths with the ‘Damn the Man’ tape, which as you can see in the audience now, is what they have done. It works like magic.

SheTalks: Wow, that is very interesting to hear. (Turning to the audience) Well, our audience and our viewers at home, we would be taking a commercial break now. When we come back, we will be finding out more about our guest, and her thoughts on feminism. Stay tuned to this channel, and don’t go anywhere.

Commercial Plays

Are you a woman who has been affected by the most poisonous hormone ever existing, called oestrogen? Does the second human specie, also known as males, look down on you like a lesser person because you have two things growing on anterior? Were you one of those unfortunate people whose grandmothers told that your whole existence is to please the man, and wait on him by living your life in the kitchen? Do you feel like you might have been brainwashed by a deceitful definition of happiness being something to be found in a man? Well, by now, I am sure you would have been getting restless, just having to listen to those hogwash fairy tales that were sold to you in times past.

Well, do not worry, a solution has come. I am here to let you know that you can just DAMN THE MAN! Find out how to undo the damage done to us by our grandmothers, find out how to live happily, by always being one step ahead of the man, find out how to make it in life without the help of a man, find out how to be a total ‘Damn the Man’ woman, and so much more, all in a copy of Damn the Man: The complete guide to being liberated from the lies our grandmother told us, by Damiete James.

End of commercial break

SheTalks: We welcome our audience and viewers at home back from the short break. If you are just joining us, it is sad to say that you have just missed a part of today’s episode of ControverShe, i.e. our interview with no other person but the author of the best-selling book, Damn the Man, by Damiete James. But nevertheless, we still have a whole lot more for you today (SheTalks turns to face to DJ).

A round of applause resounded from the audience. The Damn the Man tape was still firmly placed on their lips.

DJ: Thank you SheTalks.

SheTalks: So, DJ, what is your definition of feminism?

DJ: Feminism is the name used to describe a movement of people who are feminists or support feminism.

SheTalks: (Rolling her eyeballs, apparently expecting more from DJ) And… Who would you refer to as a feminist?

DJ: A feminist is anyone that is tired of these mistakes of a creature we call men, whether she is a professor, a market woman, a nun, or whoever. There are active and passive feminists. Active ones are the ones that take a vocal stand, and speak loudly about what we believe in, such as me. There are very few of us. And the passive ones are the rest, the ones who are tired of the other human specie and their crap, but too timid to voice it out, for whatever reason best known to them. In my opinion, most educated women in this country are feminists, but just don’t want to admit it, as they don’t want to be seen as chasing men away, or ridiculing their culture and traditions.  They like to have the advantage of being educated, and the benefit that comes along with it, but don’t want to regard themselves as feminists. (Turning to the audience) Well ladies, I have one word for you. As long as you are not going to allow one 65 year-old man marry your 13 year old daughter, as long as you like to buy your own clothes, own your bank account, spend your own money, marry whoever you like, study whatever you like, purchase whatever you like, then lady, you are a feminist! I repeat, YOU ARE A FEMINIST!!!

SheTalks: (Trying to adjust to the risen volume of DJ's voice) Well, that would mean we are all feminists.

DJ: Exactly my point. We are all feminists. What remains now is for us to complete our feminism process by being a proud ‘Damn the Man’ woman. A woman who is not afraid to stand up for her right and get out from under the umbrella of all the loser-men, a woman who is not afraid to stop hiding under the guise of ‘a woman should be submissive’, a woman that is not afraid to say ‘Damn the Man’.

SheTalks: Wow DJ, that is really strong. So apart from reading your book, Damn the Man, what else should women do to become a true ‘Damn the Man’ woman?

DJ: Let me tell you this SheTalks. Do you know that oestrogen is the number one cause of women’s damnation? I therefore recommend that every woman goes to my clinic, the ‘Damn the man’ clinic, which is located everywhere in the country, once a month to extract the oestrogen inside of her. This way, she would be able to get rid of all those hormones on the inside of her, which makes her do all the mushy stuff, and act with unreasonable maternal instinct, like choosing to live in an abusive home, because she wants to protect her children, choosing to love stupid male specie that are not worth loving, working all day for a lazy man to come and eat the fruit of her labour, dressing like a mentally imbalanced person exposing her body parts, just to attract a loser-man, and all other unreasonable things women do because of the oestrogen in them. So, woman, go to a ‘Damn the man’ clinic today, and get rid of that poisonous substance in you called oestrogen. Its existence in your blood is what drives you to do all these crazy stuff, and blame it on another deranged word, called ‘Love’. That is the only way to become a complete ‘Damn the Man’ woman.

SheTalks: (Looking dazed and confused) Thank you for all that DJ, and thanks for being our guest on today’s episode of ControverShe.

DJ: Thank you for having me SheTalks. (Turning to the audience) Alright ladies, I am done. You can remove the ‘Damn the Man’ tapes from your lips, and let the hero-worship continue.

Instantly, the crowd suddenly becomes noisy as everyone lets out their excitement again.

SheTalks: (With a shocked look on her face, and instantly having to raise her voice): Well, I wasn’t expecting that. We are calling it a wrap for this episode. Please, don’t forget to join us same time, same station, next week on your number one program, ControverShe, for another interesting time, and with another interesting and controversial guest. As usual, it promises to be great.

Show ends, commercial plays

Are you a woman who has been affected by the most poisonous hormone ever existing, called oestrogen? Does the second human specie, also known as males, look down on you like a lesser person because you have two things growing on anterior? Were you one of those unfortunate people whose grandmothers told that your whole existence is to please the man, and wait on him by living your life in the kitchen? Do you feel like you might have been brainwashed by a deceitful definition of happiness being something to be found in a man? Well, by now, I am sure you would have been getting restless, just having to listen to those hogwash fairy tales that were sold to you in times past.

Well, do not worry, a solution has come. I am here to let you know that you can just DAMN THE MAN! Find out how to undo the damage done to us by our grandmothers, find out how to live happily, by always being one step ahead of the man, find out how to make it in life without the help of a man, find out how to be a total ‘Damn the Man’ woman, and so much more, all in a copy of Damn the Man: The complete guide to being liberated from the lies our grandmother told us, by Damiete James.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Life is a Woman Breaking Eggs

Hi people. Great things are happening on Blogsville o. I'm sure y'all know we have another publisher in our midst. Like play like play, we are birthing so many celebs. What did you guys expect, is it easy to blog consistently for years, if one wasn't intelligent?

It is none other than our own Adura Ojo of Naijalines. First, I must say a big congrats to her. She recently published her book, Life is a Woman Breaking Eggs. I got the opportunity to interview her, and it was quite interesting, albeit, short. Read on.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was at a point in my life’s journey where I wanted ‘useful luggage’ I could take forward. I work in mental health where you meet people at their lowest ebb. It puts life into perspective and as a result, one is thankful.

Summarize your book in a sentence

The life journal of a middle aged woman

Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?

I wrote this collection for poetry lovers as well as non-poetry lovers. The simplicity of language should appeal to people who do not normally enjoy reading poetry. Poetry lovers would enjoy the depth of imagery and thematic structure.

What makes your book different from other books like it?

What is unique about this collection is its flexibility. Some poems are in narrative form. Some are theatrical – Poems like “The Broom”, “Nagging Area”, “This Land,“ Owu Rubutu”, “Sisi” and “African Queen” can be dramatized on stage or performed as spoken poetry. The poems are also fine in their own skin as just poems. They will work across a variety of forms. I would like to see the collection performed as a stage production. Many poets are increasingly doing this, particularly across Europe and the US. It’s a great way of the getting the reading public engaged in poetry again.

Is there a particular poem from your book you’d like share with readers?

I think your readers would enjoy this one, Atilola.

Owu Rubutu

Time to dance, Owu Rubutu
dance the dance of spirits old
grab your shoes, let’s dance
the dance of bata
hips so swell, beads to the beat
gladly hit feet bouncing in heat
dance in the light of darkness
like the deaf lady and her best kept script
rhythm of beads heard, unseen
black beads, red beads
feet and hips the way beads sway
dance for me, Owu Rubutu

What tips would you give other writers thinking of putting together a poetry collection?
Try to write a poem a day. Let your poems ‘breathe.’
Edit but don’t over-edit.
Join a poetry group (online or community)
Take part in poetry writing challenges to hone your craft
Decide whether you want a publisher or want to self-publish. Research the pros and cons and make             your choice.
Publish when you’re ready. Make sure you’re confident enough with your material to put your work
        out there.

What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a novel about an older woman and a younger man. I’m also working on my second poetry collection.

Where can readers find your book?
My book is available on Amazon. I’m working on getting it to other platforms including Nigerian platforms.

Thanks for the interview Adura.
It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for having me, Atilola.

Read a little bit about Adura below.

Adura Ojo is a British-Nigerian author, poet, blogger and a mother of two. She is the author of Life is a Woman Breaking Eggs, her debut poetry collection. She graduated in English Studies at the University of Ibadan. She later bagged degrees in Law and Social Work in the UK. She has professional experience in varied employment roles as lecturer, trainer and mental health practitioner. Her poems have been published in Sentinel Champions, Sentinel Nigeria, The Poetic Pinup Revue, and a number of websites. She lives in the UK where she is currently working on her debut novel and a second poetry collection.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Blogger is exposing anonymous bloggers

If you signed up for email notification, which almost every blogger does, due to convenience, this might concern you. Email notification is the service that allows you to receive comments dropped on your blog posts, in your email, so you don’t have to go to your blog to see new comments. Makes real sense, right?
Well, about a month ago, I realised that whenever I replied to someone’s comment on my blog, rather that deliver to my email, as an email notification, it would send a message saying the message couldn’t be delivered to the blogger, i.e. me, and add the blogger’s email address it was supposed to deliver to. But I never had issues when people dropped comments on my blog, I still received their comments in my email. I want to believe they were receiving the failure notification, since they were the ones dropping the comments, even though I was receiving their comments. And here is why.

Last week, I started receiving these failure notifications when I dropped comments on the posts of some bloggers. Not a big deal, right? Since they were seeing my comments. Well, not really! Remember the notification will tell you the exact email address it failed to deliver to. This means if you had used your personal email account to receive notifications, I can see your email address.

So there’s this anonymous blogger whose blog I dropped a comment on, and I saw her real name included in the email notification failure. The good thing is, she is actually my friend in real life, as many bloggers have come to be, so I know her real name, but what of other bloggers that did not know her?

Let us take Cherrywine for example. Her real name is Chika Eze, she has real life friends on blogger, who are also anonymous, but they don’t know her particular blog, and she doesn’t know theirs. They drop a comment on her blog, and suddenly they receive a notification that their comment couldn’t be delivered to Then they go “wow, so Chika is cherrywine.” All your years of anonymity gone, just like that, poof! And if you are a scandalous blogger who likes forming holy in real life, you will gaaaannn explain to your pastor why you like sleeping with married men for money.

So where am I going with this? If you are an anonymous blogger, you are not so anonymous at the moment. The solution is to either sign off the email notification service, or change the email with which you receive comments to something completely vague like, but you will have to create such a vague email address sha. That way, no one will know your real name, when they get the failure notification.

As for me, I have nothing to worry about since I am not anonymous. I just did my own bit, since most of you already see me as the blogger police, lol. I gotta protect the lives and properties of my fellow blogsville community members.

Monday, September 8, 2014

You are what is wrong with Marriage

If you keep asking your daughter every day, “so when are you bringing him home?” you are what is wrong with marriage.

If you keep pressuring single ladies with statements like “so when are we eating the rice?” you are what is wrong with marriage.

If you keep asking your 33 year old single friend or cousin “when are we wearing aso ebi?” you are what is wrong with marriage.

If you keep telling your daughter to hurry up, because most of your friends’ daughters are already married, you are what is wrong with marriage.

If a lady comes to you for advice because her fiancée/boyfriend is abusive in anyway, and you tell her to grow up, and count herself lucky because she has a man who is even interested with her, you are what is wrong with marriage.

Marital status is not a social status.

Singleness is a state, not a disease, so don't rush or pressure single women into marriage, and treat them like something is wrong with them.

When they react to your pressure, and get married to the wrong person, you will be nowhere to be found when the bubble bursts.

The marriage is about the person, not you. We know you are itching to join the AWMD (Association of Women with Married Daughters). We know you can't wait to attend one more wedding, but why should that single lady suffer for your desires. Are you so party-starved that you can't afford to wait? The wedding you so much want to attend will last just a few hours, while her marriage will last a life time. Let her think straight while making her choice. Your pressure and snide remarks are not allowing her to do that.

Stop pressuring single ladies. Stop asking them for wedding rice. If you are hungry, go and cook your own. Stop asking to wear useless Aso Ebi. That tradition should even be banned; it’s been abused for way too long. Also, you already have enough in your wardrobe. Stop passing snide comments to single ladies, or asking stupid questions. Stop it! Most of them want to get married, so they don't need you to remind them with your indirect questions. Stop contributing to what is wrong with marriage today.

Atilola Moronfolu

P.S: I shared this post as a status update on Facebook last week. It went viral. I could hardly believe it. Almost 100 shares (from male and female), and counting. I guess I articulated the thoughts on the hearts of many single ladies.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"I'm Nigerian, therefore I'm inferior."

I spoke to a first-time customer last week. After concluding our sales agreement, she later calls me and asks why I haven't responded to her message. I apologise, saying we are in the middle of production, so I can't text now.

She says “wait, are those products made in Nigeria?”

And I say “yes”. I then go on blabbing about the delivery arrangement and a natural hair salon.

And she says “you know what? Now that I just found out they are manufactured in Nigeria, I'm not sure anymore.”

I'm like “you are not sure about what?”

She says “I've lost confidence in the products.”

I’m like “because they are manufactured in Nigeria?”

She says “I'm sure you understand.”

I reply saying “No, I don't understand.”

I then give her a long lecture of how many natural hair products company make use of raw materials found in Africa, but we refuse to buy those same products if they are made in Africa. I told her I can understand if she loses confidence in our products because they are not working well or it damaged someone's hair, but I can't understand why she would lose confidence because of the location of production. I said Unilever Nigeria’s products are as good as Unilever France's products. It’s not about the location, but about the standards. African Naturalistas has come a long way. Right from the days we were using paper stickers and buying plastics at Gbadebo market, we are where we are now. I'm sure if we were not good, we won't have come this far, this fast. I even went ahead to ask her if she's inferior to people in America, just because she lives in Nigeria, lol.

It’s sad to think that some Nigerians lose confidence in a product, just based on the fact that it is made in Nigeria, and not based on what the product can do. How then will our economy grow to match that of the country we love to buy our products from? How then will we encourage new businesses to start? Let the pictorial evidence below tell you by themselves how long we have come.

I am glad that at the end of the day, I was able to convince her that she had nothing to worry about. But what about the thousands of people who think like she had been thinking, whom I don't have access to convincing? What about them?

Sad indeed.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I know why bad things happen to good people

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This is a question many people find themselves asking, especially when they see a world-acclaimed sweetheart go through an inexplicable suffering no one in the world seems capable of saving them from. In helplessness and empathy, we ask ourselves, "Oh why do bad things happen to good people?"

Mr Martins has served in the church all his life. He gives to the poor, helps the needy, is an honest man at work. His integrometer level is always 100/100. If you put water in his mouth, you come back and meet it there five years later. Mr Martins goes out with his family to a charity event. A drunk driver collides with his car. He loses his wife and three of his four children. The only surviving one is the one with Down syndrome. Mr Martins is completely paralysed, as his spine broke. Why do bad things happen to good people?

Or this true life example... Dr D K Olukoya has a deliverance ministry. Through his ministry, God has delivered people from oppression, depression, sickness, demons, legions, childlessness, poverty, spiritual manipulation of all kinds, yet this Man of God searched for a child for fifteen years. Why do bad things happen to good people?

As mysterious as this question seems, such that people have been searching for the answer like they are digging for gold in a London, a land which we all know has no natural resources, the answer is quite simple. And if we are really sincere with ourselves, we will find this to be true. Stay with me, I am going somewhere.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

First let’s dissect the question, and define some important terms in it.

What is the definition of a bad thing? Something that hurts people, make people cry, the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, etc? What exactly qualifies for something a situation to be called bad?

What is the definition of a good person? Someone who is good? What does that even mean? He gives to the poor, does not lie, does not cheat, does not curse, goes to church/mosque regularly, tithes, gives to the less-privileged, is polite? What exactly qualifies for someone to be called good?

I will not answer the both questions for you, but I’m sure you tried to get the point I made. What we see as a bad thing might not be a bad thing, and who we see as a good person might not be a good person. It all depends on what angle you are looking at it from.


But still… that is not the point of this post.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

With the way many humans ask this question, I believe if we had our way, then bad things will happen to bad people, and good things will happen to good people, and that is exactly how we want God (if you believe in His existence) to play it… just the way we see it.

So if God obliged us and made bad things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people, what would that amount to?

It basically means we can tell the future of any person. We can know who will die young, who will die old, who would lose a child (in which case both the child and the parent would have to be bad for the formula to apply), who would be falsely accused (in which case it would not count as false, since the person has to be bad), who will live a fulfilled life, who will be rich, who will be poor, etc. We can all tell the outcome of people’s life just by knowing whether they are good or bad. Soothsayers will definitely be put out of business.

Basically, we would be able to manipulate the outcome of our lives! No need for effort, no need for hard work, and surely no need for God!

And the concept of freewill will disappear like we never even heard of it before. Or tell me, who wants to live a life where only bad things happen to them? Why would you want to be an armed robber, if you can’t even rob successfully? Even armed robbers and assassins have good things happen to them… until they get caught. The outcome is that we would all be good, and we would all be walking robots.

Since we all love freewill, we all love to choose, to do things the way we want to, we will have to accept the fact that bad things are allowed to happen to good people. That is the only way it can work.

Before I continue, don't get me wrong. I am not making a case for licentiousness. We will receive the consequences of our actions. We reap what we sow, so we can't start murdering people on the street, or doing wrong to people. In this case, I am talking of random and inexplicable series of what we have termed bad things, and not consequences of choices.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that the below statements are true.

Bad things happen to good people
Bad things happen to bad people
Good things happen to good people
Good things happen to bad people

The reason it always seems magnified when bad things happen to good people, and not when bad things happen to bad people, is that we feel the bad people deserved the bad things that happen to them, and believe it is an injustice of destiny for good people to suffer a similar fate. But sad to say, life doesn’t always agree with us.

Therefore on no account will your conduct or your character determine whether a good thing or bad thing will happen to you. Events in life will not pick you based on your being good or bad.

That is the only way the world can run well
That is the only way freewill can work
That is the only way you will understand that you can’t always control the outcomes of life.

And there is my two cents… and if you are sincere, you know I’m speaking the truth.

P.S: I saw Ayo of 1 + The One yesterday. OMG, she is so gorgeous from head to toe, forget the picture you see. That lady is foooiiinnneee. And I am glad to say I will be seeing more of her in the next couple of months. Are you jealous yet? Lol.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Of Security Guards and Facebook deceits

I have not been able to write much in about two weeks now. So much coming at me, and a little block, lol. Because I love this blog and you guys very much, I can't afford to leave it vacant.

And so, I bring you a not-so-funny, but real life article of something I experienced two years ago. Enjoy.

In my days of dropping proposals with Security Guards as my legs were not long enough to enter the main building, I encountered many eccentric characters in the name of Security Guards. There were some who felt you should worship them because they held the power of letting you into the building, and there were some others you just didn’t want to offend, lest they get angry, and throw your proposal into the nearest trashcan. In my own opinion, Security Guards are one of the most power-drunk people I have had to deal with on a regular basis. Putting my bias aside, I remember this short encounter with a Security Guard, which made me realise that they are just like any ordinary person when they are not in their uniforms.

I had gone to drop my proposal at the Corporate Affairs branch of an indigenous telecommunications company, and was registering my proposal in the Log Book when the phone of the Security Man rang. He had one or two friends around. As the phone rang, he hesitated to pick and started complaining out loud.

Security Man: Haa, this girl again. She just dey always disturb me, I no wan pick her call joo. Na Facebook she see me last week o, wey she come send me message. She see my picture, and she no let me rest since then. (Ha, it’s this girl again. She just always disturbs me. I don’t want to pick her call. She saw me on Facebook last week, and then sent me a message. She saw my picture, and hasn’t allowed me rest since then.)

At this point, I looked beyond the guard's uniform and studied his face. I must confess, he was really handsome, and had naturally curly hair.

Security Man: I really deck up for that picture o, I wear shades, I come pose well well. Na the picture wey I put for Facebook be that, wey she no let me rest. (I really dressed up in that picture. I wore shades, and then posed well. That’s my only picture on Facebook, and she’s not allowing me rest).

The phone was still ringing, and we were all grinning in the security post. He finally picked the phone and surprising to me, suddenly started speaking very good English.

Security Man: Hello... How are you?... How is work going?... Hope you are fine?... I have missed you... I am at my 'office'... My office is at VI… Where’s your office?... Ooh Allen Avenue.... I hope you are having a nice time... I love you... Bye... Muah (kisses)!

Ewww, did he just kiss her over the phone?

At this point we all burst into uncontrollable laughter when a female friend of his finally spoke.

Female friend: Na wa for you, I sorry for the girl. She dey think say you be better person, she no know say na security officer you be. She think say she don hammer. (I am sorry for the girl. She thinks that you are a good catch. She doesn’t know that you a common Security Officer. She thinks she has hit it big.)

I wondered about the girl at the other end of the line. She must have thought her handsome Facebook boyfriend was a big man working on the island. I imagined her sitting behind her office desk at Allen Avenue, speaking to him and smiling. I also wondered what was with the profession of love to someone one met on Facebook just a week ago. Was this the level desperation could get some of us women to at times? I left the security post saying to myself, only God knows where this internet relationship and its deceits would lead to.

This ‘relationship’ has already entered voicemail , even before it started.


Monday, August 11, 2014

I failed a whole generation. What of you?

On 22nd of July, I entered a public primary school for the first time in my life! And it was all mixed feelings. As you might know, I am one of the ambassadors for the Child Campaign, which is an initiative of Beyond the Classroom foundation. BTC has many projects, but one of the things they do is go to primary schools, and educate kids, renovate schools, organise child empowerment events, repair uniforms, stock up sick bays, have after-school classes, etc.

At the moment, they 'adopted' a school, as their model school. This is where they would do all their projects, and measure its impact. They would leave after about two years, and adopt another school. Their currently adopted school is Ladi-Lak primary school in Bariga, which is where I went. As at now, they teach the students, renovate classrooms, sick bay, library, provide educational materials like books, bags, socks, sandals, etc., and so many other things I can't begin to count.

The children were having a graduation party, which BTC foundation organised. It was their first ever graduation party ever. BTC rented gowns for them, gave them photo books, food, party, basically every single thing. Immediately I got to the front of the school, a foul stench hit me, and I felt like throwing. The environment was distasteful, and no child should have to learn in such an environment, with classes without windows, chair, etc. I quickly adjusted myself, and acclimatised.

The kids were doing their thing, and having fun. At a point, I wanted to cry. I felt the government had failed this set of kids. I felt for most of them, their future looked very bleak. They were from a class of society I have never really had anything to do with, but I know God brings out treasure out of trash, so who am I to say what will happen to them? These kids were not dumb or anything, but it was obvious they weren't living up to their potentials, just because of lack of facilities.

I can only doff my hat to Raquel Jacobs and her team. They are so selfless, going up and down impacting lives, sourcing funds from ordinary Nigerians like you and I. Don't underestimate the power of the ordinary Nigerian, and the impact you can make with that your N500 or N5000. Someone will sleep well tonight because of it.

See some pictures of the event below.

Over 100 bags below were given to the graduands. In each bag were mathematical set, socks, books, etc.

BTC volunteers trying to finish up the photobook

Kids love to play

Headmistress giving a speech

Some of the BTC volunteers

Choreography team swag

And then the drama team below, basically doing their regular heaven and hell primary school drama. Good wears white, and black wears black. Normal cliche, but fun for the kids.

They seemed happy to get the role of people
to eat the apple and chicken

The devil, lol.

Head boy, reading his speech

Head girl, reading her speech

Me, admonishing the kids

Ruby, Nigerian musician, signed
under MI,  admonishing the kids.
She's a fellow ambassador

Some members of the BTC team

Raquel Jacobs. The convener of the program,
and head of BTC Foundation

Some of us who volunteered, after
sharing gifts to the graduands

And so, what can I say? Life is more than the cocoon we live in. Maybe a day out of our regular social class will open our eyes to the fact that we can do some very little things that would make a big difference in someone else's life, especially the failed generation in Nigeria.

Raquel Jacobs and her team are impacting lives in primary schools across Lagos, you can do something too. In case you are too busy, and just want to drop a little thing like N1000, N5000, or even N5 million for the BTC team to brush up more lives, mail me, and I will hook you up with them ASAP.

Remember... it is cascaded little things that make the big effect in the end.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cascaded Little Things

My cousins came to visit us in Nigeria, after 15 years of being away. A total of 5 siblings left, the youngest being 2, and the oldest, 13. Three of them came to visit, and they ranged from 17 years old to 26 years old. It was really fun hanging out with them, but that I am not ready to bore you with the details of our fun, in this post. I want to mention one or two lessons I learnt from hanging out with them.

Of course, they were shocked about how much Nigeria had changed, positively and negatively. Immediately they came, I started feeling for them because NIDs receive their welcoming shockers right from the international airport, talk less of those that have no idea of what Nigeria looks like.

We went to Genesis Deluxe cinemas to catch a movie, in order to avoid the Jakande-Ajah week day traffic. After the movie ended, the youngest one looked around, and told her brothers “I don’t think we are supposed to take that.”

Apparently, my three cousins, out of habit, carried their bottles and popcorn packs to go and dump in the trash, while every single person in the hall, including me, left ours where we had sat during the movie. One of the boys said “We are the only ones packing up. Everyone will know we are not from around here,” in his American accent. They started looking around for trash cans as we walked out of the viewing room, but they did not find and until we got out, towards the ticket sales stand.

I tried to cover it up with smiles and senseless talk of how the cleaners will come and pack it all up, and they shouldn’t have bothered packing up, but inside of me, I was ashamed. These guys were sticking out like sore thumbs, just because they conducted themselves properly in a system where chaos is normal.

Two days later, we went to ice cream factory, again to avoid the Jakande-Ajah traffic. We sat outside, under the shade. Three of us had cones, while one had cup. When we were about to leave, instinctively, my cousin took his cup, went into the restaurant, searched for a trash can, dumped it, and came out. It was very instinctive. It had become part of him, so much so that he was not even thinking when he did it. It was quite robotic. I didn’t say anything this time. I just watched and observed him.

Earlier that day, we were in front of yellow chilli, and waiting in line to park inside, for about 30 seconds, and then the security guy beckoned on me to drive into the compound, and one car behind us just swerved, and wanted to take my space. Like seriously? He wasn’t even hiding his senselessness. My cousins observed what happened, and couldn’t believe their eyes. To say they were shocked was an understatement. They couldn’t believe a human being with a human brain, and not a goat brain, just did that.

I mumbled something like ‘that’s how many people do here o. They said if it happened in the US, everyone will get down from their car, and fish the guy out, lol.

At Genesis Deluxe cinemas, two of my cousins waited in line to get our drink and popcorn for the four of us, cos we didn’t think all four of us had to queue. Then a girl came out of nowhere to beg my cousin to get her own drink and popcorn, because her movie was showing. The thing is our movie too was already showing. He, being the Mr nice guy of them all, agreed, and then she brought out like three popcorn and drink tickets. Seriously? He realised she just wanted to use him to cheat her way through the queue, and he was already getting stuff for us anyway. He respectfully declined, and told her point blank that it wasn’t fair for everyone that was on the queue. He didn’t tell me about it until two days later.

I then realised that it is little actions like these that form a cascaded effect in setting apart countries like Nigeria from developed countries. Largely, we lack the culture of responsibility, being responsible for things as minor as your trash, staying in line, and respecting other people’s time. In my opinion, this is not a government or leadership problem. This is a system issue. The government doesn’t tell us not to pick our trash, but the system supports litter. We are even encouraged to litter cinema halls and restaurants, while our servants pack up after us.

The thing is we all know this is wrong. We travel out a lot, and see things being done properly, and even do things properly ourselves. So we know we have the ability to do things properly. But it sometimes takes us observing people like my cousins to come into this same system, do things different, and watch them stick out like a sore thumb, for us to know that what we are doing is not normal.

Even though I bring you no big solution, we can start small by doing little things right, things we don’t need anyone to tell us, things like not jumping queues, not littering roads or public places, not trying to be too smart, not being impatient, not running red lights, etc.

If each and every one of us can do this, you will be shocked at how much these little things will go a long way in making a big difference in restoring order to this chaotic system.

All kids of two sisters. Same blood, different mindsets.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Inside Wole Soyinka's Forest and other fun events

So I had the privilege to be one of the 70 spoken word artists/poets to perform at the WS80 project, Wole Soyinka's 80th birthday celebration, which took place at Lagos and Abeokuta between July 11 and 18, 2014. It was a real fun and eye-opening event, which culminated in some real sturves that looked like a scene from an Abija Awara movie, lol.

I did not really take pictures of the Day 1, which took place in Lagos, as I was too busy thinking of my performance. We moved to Abeokuta two days later, and enjoy the pictures below. And yea Wole Soyinka really lives in a forest, probably for spiritual inspiration from the heavenlies. Ijegba forest, to be exact. And no, you cannot go and visit him there. You will soon find out why, from one of the pictures below.

Day 2
I'm small. I know. No need to rub it in, lol

Wole Soyinka's birthday cake

Professor Niyi Osundare

Important people cutting the cake... where is the celebrant?
 Day 3
Famzing with Muta Baruka, a world-renowned legendary poet

Kuto cultural centre, Abeokuta where most of
the events took place

As we got to the movie reception, the first thing that greeted us were the faces of many important people in Nigeria, actors, actresses, corporate bodies, etc, (excluding politicians. I don't think they like Wole Soyinka or vice versa, lol). Unfortunately, I was too shy to go around and ask for pictures. The only drink was palmwine, which you had to drink with calabash. Even water was absent. And the snacks were kokoro and Adun, made with Epo pupa. It was at this point we knew we were in for some serious different stuff,

See this traditional centre mat

Yemi Sodimu: If you are one of those Nigerians who
wear Oleku, and you don't know this man, please
return our cloth to Tunde Kelani,

Do you remember the man on the right from
 all the Mount Zion movies you watch

And this picture below was the first message that greeted us at Wole Soyinka's forest residence.

Of course, since we are not trespassers, we all snapped pictures, and proceeded with confidence. And then...

Efun Worshippers started greeting us, and kneeling down for us. A lot of people were scared, saying "Hee, what is this?" lol. I even heard there was a lady around me speaking in tongues. As for me, I wasn't scared. Since I understand yoruba, I know there were just saying "You will live long, you will not die young, you will grow old..." basically traditional greetings they pass on to people who come to celebrate with the old. I was greeting the back with my simple "Ekale ma."

The below picture looks like I was transported into a scene of a babalawo shrine in a 1985 yoruba movie on NTA channel 7, lol.

Traditional lanterns. Forgotten what they are called.
We finally got to where we were to be seated, after walking through the forest for a while. The stage theatre was set up right in the middle of the forest. It was built my Zmirage. You would know that millions went down in setting up the whole drama. Colourful stage, colourful costume, excellent actors. Who said gret things don't happen in Nigeria.

I kid you not, Wole Soyinka was seated two rows behind me, watching his own drama, but you don't need the Holy Spirit to tell you not to approach him in such a setting, so I just pretended to be gentle, and not even allow the thought cross my mind.

Enjoy pictures of the stage drama, Dance of the Forest, written by Wole Soyinka at the age of 26 (@ilola, see your life). I wonder how he felt watching the drama. The drama was staged in the forest, as you know by now, and ran for about three hours

The actors ran away when the car drove in.
Don't be scared, it was part of the act

Can you see the tree spirit? lol

I tried to get a shot of the whole cast. They
were 203 renowned stage actors

Fireworks after the event was over

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
The only politician who would not be eaten up in the forest

The governor and the people that put the drama together

We all got this gift bag by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism when we were about to leave the hotel for Lagos the next day. Guess what it contained... A calabash to drink palmwine, a traditional wrist bead, and a clay bowl lantern, that you would light up with Epo Pupa (called Fitila in Yoruba). I passed them all to my mum, lol. I was thinking I would get an iPhone.

I stayed at Green Legacy, Obasanjo's hotel, and actually saw him and his entourage walking around the premises, inspecting some things. I'd have taken his picture if he weren't too far from me. Oh well...

It was really a great event, despite the whole Efun stuff, babalawo scenes and all. I am glad I was part of this, and exposed me more the yoruba culture.

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