Thursday, March 09, 2006

Vagina dialogues..

Went to see VM last night in Abuja. The show started an hour or so late - the actors (all 12 or so of them) were working on African time apparently. The show went well, except for a couple of powercuts: people held up their mobile phones to try and shine light on the stage. Sango enjoyed the performance too - he/she sent lightning and rain. That an event of this nature can be put on in Abuja without a riot is a triumph in itself - especially given the lesbian sex story towards the end etc. I liked the minor localisation - all kinds of naija names for pussy - including an agbalomo reference. However, the localisation could have gone further, so instead of hearing about Korean comfort women, we could have heard about Aristos and young girls sent to Italy and more facts on domestic violence in Nigeria etc. But all in all, its a big pat on the back to Hafsat/Kind for bringing the show here.

Watched a bit more of Big Brother Nigeria yesterday. All they seem to do is eat all the time and hang out en masse like a herd of cows. Some of them don't appear to have access to regular food, so one gets the impression of a consumptive over-compensation - as if rationing is finally over. It is extraordinary to see how no one goes off on their own. Perhaps it is the fear of being positioned as the outsider by the group? A fear of being anti-social, or perhaps a deeper point about not being able to define one's identity outside of collective dynamics? Meanwhile, the tactility has morphed into a kind of somatic promiscuity; hands touch bodies, stroke hair etc. Clearly, at least two of the women are fighting for Ebuka, he with the winning smile (most of the text messages scrolling along the bottom of the screen are of the format: x from Zambia saying Ebuka I luv u). One sees all the contradictions of sexual mores in Nigeria writ small: a girl lies in bed reading her bible, meanwhile another woman wiggles her hips nearby, performing for the attention of her target male. The conversation is as banal as it is on any other Big Brother - scarcely audible yapping. We humans are not much more sophisticated in our communication patterns than higher primates - we mew and caw. Although one would like to think that every life is extraordinary, and that every person has a unique story, there is a nagging undertow that many people are in fact just like so many others, that there is nothing inside their heads.


Kemi,  12:48 am  

Just watched a documentary on the Vagina Monologues in Uganda, and how they were never able to perform their production.

The government banned them the day before it could have gone on.

For all the depths to which Nigeria has plunged, one has to be grateful for the relative freedom we have in the metropolitan parts of the country.

An article on BBC about V Monologues in Uganda can be found here

Anonymous,  8:23 pm  

I saw Vagina Monologues in Abuja yesterday. It was a fantastic production. The cast were just excellent. It would have been nice if some of the references were a bit more localised and dealt with some critical issues in Nigeria. I also noticed that a number of things were omitted (i.e. the one with the Afangani women in barka and the raunchy lesbian scene). I guess the organisers did not want controversy. I hear that the turn out at the Women's Centre on wednesday wasn't so good - apparently it was not well publised 'cause of fear of disruption. The British council event was N3000 (greatly restricting the no of access).

The reason why there has been on controversy around it here is because a) unlike the Uganda production, the Nigeria production was tamed and controversial bits were left out; and b)it did not get the same kind of publicity and public discussion in the media that the Uganda one got. At least in Uganda, despite no production, there is more talk around the issue of sexual violence. In Nigeria, the production has gone ahead, but the question is, has it generated discussion? I am not sure if it has.

But it was a great effort and i thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be interesting to see how it would be recieved when it goes to Unilag and Muson next week

tout noir 8:08 am  

I also wish the plight of Italy sex-slaves was discussed at the Abuja VM. In Italy, Nigerian girls have become synonymous with prostitution - there are so many of them, they almost seem like another species, available for sexual gratification only. It's tragic beyond words. On a trip to Italy with my Aunt last year, everyone thought she was a prostitute and that I was her pimp. The drama was simultaneously hilarious and sad! Imagine someone approaching me with money so he could have sex with my Aunt?!!! I freaked out!

I watch BBN online from the US. You are right-on about the conversation - it's unbearable drivel. I can't believe these guys have nothing more to discuss (isn't Nigerian infatuation with American culture kind-of funny and painfully out-of-date? It seems like Nigeria doesn't have enough pop-culture to sustain long conversations, doesn't it? )

There is a gay cast member. I won't mention specific names but those in-the-know have noticed how he conveniently falls asleep anytime housemates discuss gay-related issues. LOL! I wish him good luck. I hope he doesn't come out of the closet - he'll only endanger his life.

Anonymous,  12:03 pm  

I too spotted the gay BBN housemate. But most Nigerians are so useless at spotting these things they'll never know.


Kunle,  6:54 pm  

actually, some of us have already. and we are not saying anything. Waiting to see what will happen.


Anonymous,  7:07 am  

Hey I never get to notice any of that Gay stuff. I get Square eyed watching Big Brother and I hear someone's Gay? Pray let it out who that be?

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