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.

My Ghana trip... in pictures

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As you all know, African Naturalistas was at Accra for four days, mainly to attend the Afrotastic 2014 event, and I proudly represented the whole group, lol.

I was picked up the lovely Naa, also known as Afrodiva, and immediately shipped to my friend, Eduvie’s house. I immediately slept off when the house became empty, and by 1pm, was out to see what the town had to offer. I can only share very few pics, as I took load and loads

After seeing the items, it was obvious that the money I had with me won't buy much, so I walked to the bank, Ghana Commercial Bank, and took more pics.

On the left is the sign 'Taxis not allowed'
On the right, a taxi is parked, lol.

Ghana court of appeal

They have a national lottery authority

The entrance to the Arts Centre

If you see this woman, run away. She will make you spend
all your money. Luckily, I don't really hold money.

Lovely Meldina. She has one eye, and openly jokes about it.

Buka Restaurant

I ate Kelewele and Tilapia
The next day, I was off to the main event, and Eduvie offered to take few pictures before I left. I wore one of the Ghanaian traditional clothes I had bought in the Arts Centre the previous day. apparently, I am not a model, but I tried sha.

Eduvie bought Waakye (pronounce Wache) for me

The event itself was packed. I was really impressed. The organisers were able to fill a whole big hall. It is surely the largest natural hair gathering I have ever been to. I am waiting for the first Nigerian natural hair meet up that would meet that record.

I learnt one thing. Ghanaian naturals do not really twist their hair, and are a fan of updos. I saw updos of all kinds, than I have ever seen at one sitting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take all the pictures I should have, cos I was busy manning my table, but I tried my best. Enjoy. Once the official pictures are out, I would post them.

The organisers: Afrodiva and Annette
And below are some vendors

Watching the documentary 400 years without a comb.
Every black person in the world should watch this piece

Cross section of attendees

Spoken word

Rama Brew: A popular Ghanaian actress

Spoken word


Beautiful Ghanaian Naturalista

After this, the Ghanaian sisters basically descended on me, and I couldn't take pictures of more music acts, and the natural hair parade. The pictures below show how I was worn out after the event was over.

Janice and I

Annette and I

Afrodiva and I
Unfortunately, I had a terrible experience coming back. Aero Contractors got us stuck in Ghana Airport for almost 24 hours. I have never had such an experience in my life. It was terrible. Their management should be lined up and shot. Their bodies should be lined up again, and shot one more time. Any airline that treats humans like animals, with no sympathy, cos they don’t give a hoot about you, your time, your kids, or anything should not be in business. If you know any of them, whether dead or alive, send them to me. If I get into government, the first thing I would do is to shut down Aero Contractors. If you are a staff of Aero, or a child of a staff of management of Aero, you better not vote me in, cos that business is going down the pit. Rubbish and nonsense.