Monday, October 17, 2005

Cultural weekend of sorts

We trooped off to see Sefi Atta give a talk on her book Everything Good Will Come, published locally by Farafina. Unfortunately, the organiser had planned the event to take place in Millenium Park - always a risk to do an outdoor event in the rainy season. Sure enough, as we were just getting started, the heavens opened and Sango danced a little dance. We all stood huddled and shivering under a tokunbo marquee (having to hold onto it to stop it blowing away at times). The rain was cold; it felt like a wet Wednesday in Manchester. Sefi was a bit knackered, having just arrived in Naija from her home in Mississippi. While the rain bucketed down, a man did a passable Michael Jackson routine, including copious crotch holding. All suitably surreal.

The Nigerian version of the book is much better designed and put together than the original US version - the cover of the original was too grey and monochrome to invite picking up and perusal. Congrats to Mukthar Bakare for his second local publication. We're glad he took up our suggestion of getting into local printing over a year ago.

Sunday night we missed our first GAP event - a performance poetry/literary jam that takes place in three Nigerian cities simultaneously each week, run by enthusiastic young literary/performance types. Will go soon and report back.

I'm aware that sometimes my blog seems like one loooonnngg moan and rant about the failings of Nigeria. It does feel that I am one amongst many hundreds who are pushing for change - like we are pushing a huge boulder towards a cliff and soon it will fly and release everything. Perhaps its the lot of the change agent to have to whine every now and then. I agree with some of the comments that the main problem is that of the dysfunctional collective ego of the elite. An increasing issue is the "returnee" elite - Diasporic Nigerians who have returned to cushy jobs in Telecoms etc. This bunch often have little or no confidence in the "non-exposed" underclass who never had the chance to school or work abroad. The returnee elite are often more at home in expat circles than getting on an okada and heading for the mainland. They may have lived on an estate near Elephant & Castle or some anonymous sprawl in Newark, but as soon as they are ensconced on their Lekki Peninsula Estate with their Toyota Prado in the yard, they start lording it over everyone else. A new form of class snobbery is emerging, which threatens to be every bit as incidiously disempowering as colonialism.


afrofunkycool 7:50 pm  

What do you get when you bring back a culturally bereft emigre to a society that needs rebirth?
Answer , an Egoistic bulldog remarkable for its stupidity as well as its impotent belief in its self importance being unaware that the hunter has a machete forged at Oguns shrine and failing that the gun.

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