Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kongi in the house

Some dunderhead has been messing with my timelines the past two days - turning up an hour and a half late and generally being a sorry sack of excuses, just when my project has hit critical path. 30 minutes of waiting for him this morning and I thought sod it, I'm off for some culture.

Wole Soyinka was reading from new memoirs, You Must Set Forth at Dawn (published locally by Bookcraft). The 'do' was at Booksellers, a cosy bookshop in Garki. I was impressed to see they sell Continuum Books there - you can buy Deleuze in FCT! We sat in the open air atrium of the plaza for the reading. The turn-out was good, perhaps 80-100 people. People leaned out of windows looking down on the scene. There was almost something renaissancey about it - with ashoka trees for Tuscan cypresses. He read a beautiful passage about a trip to Jamaican fifteen years ago, and an expedition to Bekuta, a settlement in the mountains formed by Nigerian runaway slaves (originally from Abeokuta). It was enchanting to listen to his melodious voice and his baroque vocabulary. In the q and a's afterwards, I asked him what he thought about contemporary Yoruba identity. At that moment, Nepa struck and it was difficult to catch his response without a microphone. He did worry that Islam and Christianity are eroding not just Yoruba culture, but the system of belief behind it. He also talked of the importance of the diaspora and centres of learning abroad, and the hope that there will be a re-infusion back on the homeland. He mentioned that Unesco are (or have?) going to award the Ifa Corpus some special religious-cultural status. Above all, he talked about the resilience of Yoruba culture and the many ways in which it hybridises whereever it goes.

Other questioners prefaced their remarks with short stories of growing up and reading him at school and expressions of honour at being with in his presence today. He is one of Nigeria's contemporary inspirational voices. When I told him at the start of my question I was married to a Yoruba woman, he interrupted me quickly, "I hope you have brought our yam and our palm oil!"


uknaija 2:07 pm  

And had you? (Brought the yam and palm oil I mean)

My Talking Beginnings 11:52 pm  

My Sentiments exactly..go on, have you? brought the yam and oil i mean?

Dami 5:32 am  

guess who i just saw on ait news yup mr Jeremy! wearing cream suit!

Jeremy 8:29 am  

But I wasn't wearing a cream suit Dami! I had a light brown jacket on. Must have been some other handsome devil..

Dami 3:01 am  

you are the one! the cream colour came from the Ait Feeds via BENTV(very bad for the eyes),sitting somehwere in the middle. you look exactly the ame as in that pic

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