Saturday, November 11, 2006

Posthumous, humous

Sokari Douglas-Camp's sculpture in memoriam to Ken Saro-Wiwa has been unveiled outside the Guardian's Newsroom (opposite their current HQ on Farringdon Road in Clerkenwell). If anyone has a picture of the piece in situ, please post to your blog.

Jonathan Glancey admires the sculpture in today's Guardian, in contrast to most monuments and memorials in Britain. Would that there could be such a monument to KSW in Abuja. In fact, would that there were any monuments in Nigeria of any worth (correct me if I am wrong). In Lagos, there are a few orishas outside corporate buildings (such as Sango outside the old NEPA office on Marina), politician and nationalist Herbert McCaulay on Broad St, but for the most part, Nigeria suffers from a lack of well thought out and creative monuments. There should be a striking Fela Kuti in the middle of an Ikeja roundabout at the least, just as there should be an Achebe in Ogidi or on the University of Ibadan campus. And there should be more to remembering the Civil War than the falling-in-to-ruin museum out East.

Instead of memorials to past heroes and solemn events, in Nigeria we have roads named after still-living and just-dead criminals, displaying in full technicolour their dysfunctionally aggrandised sense of self. Things will change, as a sense of genuine people-centric value returns to the civic realm, bit by bit.


Akin 3:27 pm  

Unfortunately, my camera has gone blank, I was walking round Brussels this afternoon and in celebrating the twinning of the cities of Brussels and Lille on the theme of freedom, there were tall trihedral columns with notices of people who spoke out for peace.

As usual, there is Martin Luther King, there was some Turkish writer and the someone called Fela Anikulapo-Kuti - quite a tribute to the man.

The problem is we build monuments to people who have only made a difference to the few.

For instance, Murtala Muhammed was only head of state for 7 months, he was assassinated and they named our premier airport after him.

He might have had promise, but no, I do not think he made a difference, but in the settling of scores within the army, we beget a national hero - before long, Babangida, Abacha and Obasanjo would be commended at home when Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dele Giwa and Fela are celebrated abroad.

Anonymous,  3:40 pm  

That begets the question: who is an undiluted, true blue Nigerian hero?

Anonymous,  3:49 pm  

One of the reasons why people would find it difficult to pay the supreme sacrifice for the Fatherland is the fact that for the last 4 decades at least such sacrifices appear to be in vain, instead we glorify still living thieves and rogues.

A stone throw from my Window is a wall with the names of all the young men from these parts who gave their lives in the Great War. I was moved this morning seeing people coming to lay poppies at the foot of this plaque.

As for Akin's post...

We have genuine national heroes in Naija, only that sadly the monuments for them have been laid waste or are insignificant when compared with what obtains for other 'not-so-national' heroes.

Look at TBS. Laid to waste. You only need to look at the pittance called a statue of Zik at Nkpor Roundabout. And the insult to the memory of the late Sardauna that is being overtaken by the Bar Beach.

I could go on and on, but Juve kicks off in a few minutes...

Talatu-Carmen 9:53 pm  

Yes, the existence of streets and other official things named after Sani Abacha (et. al. always bemused me.

On the topic of monuments, it makes me think of several monuments of note in Jos. When I was in high school there in the early 90s, a monument was erected in the centre of Terminus junction a block away from the main market. This monument was supposedly some sort of flame, however, its shape and its proximity to another statue a block away of a large round market woman with a baby on her back earned it the monicker "Kashin Mamman Tapgun." Tapgun was the governor at the time, apparently the large statue of the woman was his "Mamma," and the sad flame was her "kashi"... erm ... "s**t." Last year, I noticed the "flame" had disappeared from the torch--whether by officials who belatedly learned of it's name or by citizens who were tired of being visually assaulted by it every time they passed through the most crowded part of town.

Whenever I think of "Kashin Mamman Tapgun" I am reminded of the pompousness of state granduer and the clever irony with which the common people pick it apart. Now that the horrible thing is gone, I miss it.

Barb,  4:47 pm  

Hey I'll bring the camera out and pop round the corner in the next couple of days.

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP