Saturday, February 27, 2010

Michela Wrong reading/event in Abuja

Next Friday, 5th March, Adamawa Room, Hilton Hotel, 6pm-8pm.


"Sir, you have the charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk." Nigel Farage on the EU President - what's his name and who voted for him?


Ife: lost civilisation...

Good review of the British Museum exhibition that starts early next month by the Guardian's Jonathan Jones. But referring to Ife as a 'lost civilisation'? What exactly is lost about Ife? The town is still there, the palace of the Ooni is still there, the Orunmila staff is still there. The only sense in which Ife is lost is that the city was at its cultural zenith many centuries ago. But would we describe Rome or Athens (for instance) in the same way? Its hardly Machu Picchu.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love thine enemy

In Matthew 5, after the Beatitudes, we have a passage which cuts to the core of the Christian message. The text records a speech by Jesus. It may or may not be true that the speech actually captures a specific event - the so-called Sermon on the Mount - but let us imagine that it does.

Oral memory of that day, in a natural amphitheatre overlooking the Sea of Galilee (I have stood in the exact spot where the sermon is said to have taken place), eventually written down by Matthew many years after Jesus' death, suggests that He said,

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.."

This is the St. James rendition of those words. I prefer them to more modern translations.

The details and the truth of whether the Sermon on the Mount was a once-only occasion, or a dramatisation of what Jesus said many times, are ultimately irrelevant. At its depth, the teaching is what shines through, not the question of literal truth.

Loving our friends, our family, our lovers is easy. Loving our enemies, those that want to harm us, those who are not like us, those who reject our beliefs, those who would do violence to us because of our beliefs... how many of us have the depth of humanity for that kind of love? In quiet moments, we close our eyes, breathe and perhaps realise that we are not ready for it, yet.

Loving thine enemy is also at the core of Buddhism, and features in several stories of Guatama Siddhartha's life (itself, heavily fictionalised by the passage time and the countless generational waves of human longing and institutionalised codification).

The meditation called 'meta bhavana' (loving kindness) turns this passage from love of friends and of what constitutes 'the same' to love of the enemy and what constitutes 'the other' into a spiritual practice. Meta bhavana has five stages: projecting loving kindness onto oneself; projecting it onto the friend or loved one; projecting love onto the neutral person and then projecting loving kindness onto 'the enemy' - someone who threatens us or offers only conflict. Finally, the fifth stage involves projecting love onto all parties and ultimately, towards the universe and all living beings.

Meta bhavana is a powerful technique. It is capable of transfiguring experience and the framework of experience. If it sounds esoteric at first, we can quickly realise that it is based on the simple thought that Jesus had already uncovered and lived up until the moment of his death: that spiritual liberation comes through loving not only friends and family, but also those who constitute a threat and who are different.

At base, with thoughts like this pulled inside us and held close, differences between religions melt away, and we finally allow ourselves to confront human truths without imaginary distortion. We see the road less travelled ahead of us and we realise that Jesus and Guatama Siddhartha and countless others have walked along that path thousands of years ago. Even today, people are branching off and beginning their journey, leaving material possessiveness and the illusory world of desire behind.

And we realise how futile and self-destructive it is to continue 'hating the enemy'. As if we ever could have gleaned that truth without contortion from the teachings of the Gospels...


The Nigerians - interesting project (forwarded message)

Dear friend

Sorry for the mass mail, but I am hoping to reach out to as many Nigerians with a literary flair as possible, so please read the email and pass it on to your network if they fit the bill.

Are you tired of the bad press that Nigerians seem to get wherever we go? Do you want to change, influence or dispel the negative perceptions outsiders have about us? And do you want to share some of the passion you have for your country and explain its irresistible draw? And perhaps most importantly – can you write?

We are looking for just 20 brilliant Nigerian writers to take part in a ground-breaking, collaborative publishing project that will entertain, educate and influence readers globally while throwing a positive light on the country of our birth.

The Nigerians is a collection of compelling and wittily written pieces that provide insights to help unravel the complex conundrum that is Nigeria.

There is no doubt that the gods of literature have blessed Nigeria with some of the best writers in Africa and the world. From Chinua Achebe , Ngozi Chimanda Adichie, Ben Okri, Wole Soyinka to Helen Oyeyemi, Sefi Atta, Segun Afolabi, Biyi Bandele, Kole Omotose, Chris Abani . . . . . this project is waiting to happen.

We are looking for unpublished writing between 2000 and 5000 words. The pieces must be upbeat, witty, fictional accounts of a place, an event, a character or a situation that sheds light on Nigeria or its people. We are looking for a range of pieces that are uplifting, real and human, and that give a respectful picture of Nigeria from an insider’s perspective.

Are you a writer who would like to be a part of this world-first, literary legacy project for Nigeria?

There will be no contributor fees, only the chance to collaborate on this influential initiative, but the selected writers will share equally in the royalties, the copyright and the limelight.

The Nigerians will be launched in Lagos, South Africa, London and New York and will be available for sale worldwide through the internet.

I’m excited about this project and I hope you are too. Please contact me ([email protected]) if you would like to participate or pass the mail on to someone who you think will be interested.

Moky Makura


Monday, February 22, 2010

Bronzes of West Africa

Excellent show of colonial plunder coming up at the British Museum next month.


Lola Shoneyin book launch this Thursday


Sunday, February 21, 2010

New York Times profile on GJ

Here. Apparently GJ's aides are suggesting the return of Nuhu Ribadu. Interesting!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Interesting job opportunity in Abuja


The new AWS

Penguin's new version of the African Writers Series is stuck in the past, according to Akin Ajayi, here. Its hard not to agree. Penguin South Africa needs to up their game and look to new writers, or risk being a museum of voices past.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two Cassava Republic authors shortlisted for this year's Commonwealth Writers' Prize

Abidemi Sanusi (for Eyo) and Adaobi Nwaubani (for I Do Not Come To You By Chance) have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2010. Fingers crossed...


Blood and Oil

Excellent two-parter which is going to be on BBC2 next month. I watched it last night. It delves into the mess of complicity that is the Niger Delta quite effectively...

Here for more.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good analytical piece on Jos (in French)

Here on the IFRA Nigeria site.


Tullow Oil in Uganda...

The contracts between British/Irish company Tullow Oil and the Ugandan government have been leaked, and they are not pretty. The UK-based NGO Platform has released a report on the contracts, detailing:

  • How the structure of the deals guarantees huge profits for the companies while placing risks and responsibilities on the Ugandan government (p.6)
  • The lack of transparency over bonus payments to the Ugandan government (p.7)
  • The complete absence of penalties for environmental damage caused by the companies (p.22),
  • The legal rights granted to the companies to flare natural gas (p.19)
  • The 'stabilisation clause', whose breadth has been confirmed by access to a confidential Ernst&Young audit report (see note 3), which will restrict Uganda's ability to improve its environmental protection and human rights standards in the future (p.27)
Oil-watchers will be aware that Tullow Oil is now opening up in Ghana. Let's hope that the same type of exploitative and ecologically damaging contracts (the 'legal right to flare gas' etc.) will not also happen there.

For now, Tullow Oil should face international condemnation for what it is doing in Uganda.


The 2010 Jos Crisis and Muslim-Christian Violence in Nigeria: Trends, Causes, Consequences and Possible Solutions

Chatham House event on the Jos Crisis tomorrow (Thu 18th Feb) from 5pm to 6pm. Here for more details.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two Gavin Williams seminars in Abuja - not to be missed

The Centre for Democracy and Development


Department of Political Science of the University of Abuja

Invites you to two seminars by Gavin Williams, Fellow in Politics and Sociology, St Peter’s College, University of Oxford.

First Seminar

Date: 22nd February 2010

Time: 5 - 7 p. m.

Venue: Centre for Democracy and Development, 4 Kikuyu Close, off Nairobi Street, off Parakou Street, Wuse 2, Abuja

Topic: Revisiting State and Society in Nigeria (1980)


Second Seminar

Date: 23rd February 2010

Time: 11 am to 1 p.m.

Venue: Senate Chambers, University of Abuja

Topic: The Academic Vocation in an era of Commoditization

Gavin Williams is a Fellow in Politics and Sociology at St Peter’s College at the University of Oxford. He has worked extensively on the empirical study of politics and society, on political and social theory and in the impact of ideas, good and bad, on social and political action. Born in South Africa, Gavin graduated from Stellenbosch in Law and Political Philosophy, before moving to the UK where he further studied politics before lecturing in sociology and social anthropology at the Universities of Durham and Sussex. He took up his present position in Oxford in 1975.

Gavin began his research career here in Nigeria, at NISER in 1970-71. He has published on politics, political economy and land and agricultural policies in Africa, particularly Nigeria and South Africa, and is currently studying the history of the wine industry in South Africa. He has supervised over 40 doctoral theses in Oxford, many of them on Nigeria. Nigerian academia remembers him for his significant 1980 publication on State and Society in Nigeria. Gavin was founding editor of the Review of African Political Economy (1974-2000) and remains a Contributing Editor.

He edited and contributed to:

Sociology and Development (with Emmanuel de Kadt) Tavistock, 1974

Nigeria: Economy and Society, Rex Collings, 1976

Rural Development in Tropical Africa (with J Heyer & P Roberts) Macmillan 1981.

Sociology of Developing Societies: Sub-Saharan Africa (with C Allen) Macmillan 1982

Democracy, Labour and Politics in Africa and Asia: Essays in Honour of Björn

Beckman. Centre for Research and Documentation, Kano, 2004.

Among his other publications are:

‘Taking the part of peasants: rural development in Nigeria and Tanzania’ in PCW Gutkind and I Wallerstein, eds. The Political Economy of Contemporary Africa. Sage 1975/ 1985

The Origins of the Nigerian Civil War, Open University Case Study, 1983.

‘Why is there no agrarian capitalism in Nigeria?’ Journal of Historical Sociology, 1, 4, 1988.

‘Why structural adjustment is necessary and why it doesn’t work’ Review Of African Political Economy 60, 1994

‘Power, politics and democracy in Nigeria’ (with Shehu Othman) in J. Hyslop, ed., African Democracy in the Era of Globalisation, Witwatersrand University Press.

‘Democracy as Idea and as Process in Africa’, Journal of African-American History, 88, 4, 2003

‘Studying development and explaining policies, Oxford Development Studies, 31, 1, 2003

‘Land reform in South Africa’ (with R. Hall). In M. Baregu and C. Landsberg, eds, From Cape to Congo: Southern Africa’s Evolving Security Challenges, Lynne Rienner, 2003

‘Political economies, democratic citizenship and African studies, Review Of African Political Economy, 102, 2004.

‘Black empowerment in the South African wine industry’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 5, 4, 2005

2009 ‘Free and unfree labour in the Cape wine industry, 1838-1888 in J. Heyer and B. Harriss-White, eds The Political Economy of Development: Africa and South Asia, Routledge, 2009.

Books Dedicated to Gavin Williams

Ike Okonta When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and the Ogoni Struggle for Self-determination. Transaction, 2007

V. M. Hewitt, Political Mobilisation and Democracy in India: States of Emergency. Routledge, 2008.

A. Adebajo & A.R. Mustapha, ed., Gulliver's Troubles: Nigeria's Policy after the Cold War, University of KwaZiulku-Natal Press, 2008 (with Anthony Kirk-Greene).

A. R. Mustapha & Lindsay Whitfield, eds, Turning Points in African Democracy, James Currey, 2009.


Habila on Achebe

Helon Habila reviews Chinua Achebe's The Education of a British-Protected Child here.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Virtual lies

The first programme in the Virtual Revolution series begins with a lie, which is better explained by someone who knows where exactly the team went in Ghana:

"Outrageously the editing at the beginning of the first programme - that showed the team in a 4x4 speeding along a dirt road - suggested that their destination - Abiriw - was far from Accra and difficult to get to.

Actually, it is about 45 minutes from the edge of the capital and reached by a tarmac road that is mostly excellent and always good..

Postings by those on the programme-making team have stressed the distance from Accra to Abiriw. The editing described above reinforced this by suggesting the film-makers had to do 'the African thing', 'go into the bush', ' use a 4x4' ', etc., etc. Actually they just went down the road."

Its somewhat ironic that in these days of immediate global information liquidity/transfer, the people that made this series thought they could get away with creating a false impression of their derring-do in "Africa". Getting to Abiriw is no more of an adventure than getting on a plane at Heathrow and finding yourself in a suburb of Dallas a few hours later...


Beko and Fela

A statue to Beko Ransome-Kuti has been erected, four years after his death. Of course, he was a public intellectual and a hero for human rights. Its wonderful and important that the man is remembered and celebrated in this way. Future generations will be spurred to find out more about his life and achievements.

However, I can't help feeling that if there's a statue, why on earth is there not a statue for his brother Fela? Beyond Nigeria, Fela is an icon for struggle against despotic power alongside figures such as Che and Malcolm X. While Beko played a solid role in keep the candle flame against injustic alight, Fela will surely be remembered for centuries to come for creating the conflagration. This is not to pitch the two dead brothers against themselves; its simply to wonder why Fela has yet to be commemorated in official public consciousness like his brother has just been. I suppose its only a matter of time. If Governor Fashola did it before the elections, I think he'd win Lagos again, whichever party he came under.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Dambe at Deidei

Dambe boxing originated in Hausaland as a form of preparation for hunters before they went out. It has now turned into a national sport, with fighters coming from all over the country in tournaments staged across the land. Dambe is most popular in the large towns and cities of the North. The nearest Dambe scene to Abuja is at Deidei, just beyond Kubwa in the FCT. There are fights every night in an arena just a few hundred metres from Deidei junction. The prize fighters meet on Sunday mornings.

We trekked out to see a few bouts last night. The evening was highly atmospheric, with drummers and singers and an intense smell of weed lingering in the air as night fell. There is an entire Dambe subculture of fighters, followers (including 'independent women') worthy of a documentary. Men work the crowd selling moonshine, soft drinks, suya and 'man medicine.'

The fighting bouts themselves remind me of capoeira - a mixture of dance and fight, with the fighters spending long moments posed like scorpions about to strike, legs quivering with adrenalin. The venom of the rolling overhead punch (which seems to be the only legitimate form of attack) contrasts well with the delicate hand touching of the two non-gloved hands, as the men (or boys) circle around each other. The glove itself seems designed to impact maximum damage - in contrast to boxing gloves in the West which cushion the blow. The 'glove' consists of a woollen mitt bound with rope. If contact is established, the damage would be considerable. One of the fighters appeared to have his face flattened in from previous experience. Some Dambe fighters have killed their opponents during a bout (although this is very rare). Each fighter has a 'coach' who sprays pure water in their face between 'rounds'. There is no bell, no ring (just the open space in front of the crowd) and no referee. Other fighters intervene when a glove becomes unwound or the fighters end up in a body lock. The bout is over if one of the boxers knocks the other to the ground. The winning fighter then works the crowd for tips.

The photos below capture some of the key moments of the evening.


The recoil

The recoil, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


Swing... pow!

Swing... pow!, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

The main punch is a rolling arm overshot. It appears that uppercuts are forbidden. The natural counter to the hit from above would be an uppercut, but it doesn't ever happen.


Cooling off with pure water

Cooling off with pure water, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Each fighter has a temporary coach assigned to them for each bout - another fighter. The main job of the coach seems to be to spray pure water over their man.



Touching, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

The older guys begin a bout by touching hands delicately.


The apprentices

The apprentices, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


Taiye (right) - a champion dambe boxer


A national sport

A national sport, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Dambe fighting has spread from beyond Hausaland. The Mikel Obi-a-like is a Yoruba guy. There are national championships every two years. The next one is in 2011.


The boys

The boys, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Many of the fighters use charms to provide protection while they are fighting.


Didier Drogba is also a dambe boxer


The money changers

The money changers, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


The fighter

The fighter, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

He stood, proud amidst the action.


Dambe poses

Dambe poses, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Sometimes, dambe reminds one of capoeira - static dancelike poses..


A man in the audience

A man in the audience, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


Preparing to strike

IMG_1020, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


The evil eye

The evil eye, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


The ceremonialist

The ceremonialist, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


The kids

The kids, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Quite a few young kids are involved in the dambe scene in Deidei.



Aggression, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

This man didn't fight, but he came on immediately after the ceremonial glove-wrapping. His look was pure testosterone.


The iron fist

The iron fist, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

On closer inspection, the ceremonial glove had a hoop of thick iron semi-concealed..



Vogue, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Every few seconds, he would strike a pose.


The glove wrapping

The glove wrapping, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

At the start of the evening's tournament, this man came to wrap large 'glove' on his forearm - string wrapped on top of a woollen glove. All the time, he was staring at a man on a bench, who seemed to be the oga of the occasion.


The MC

The MC, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.


At the entrance

At the entrance, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

Arguments break out on the way into the Dambe arena..


The smokers

The smokers, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

The air is thick with the sweet smell of weed. Even the women smoke large spliffs, rolled up out of paper. Rizzla is missing a market in Nigeria..


The moonshine man

The moonshine man, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

An ogogoro seller.


The band

The band, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

The band sets up.


The 14th Tale - at the National Theatre (9-Feb - 14 Mar)

Presented by Fuel

I’m from a long line of trouble makers, of ash skinned Africans, born with clenched fists and a natural thirst for battle, only quenched by breast milk.

The 14th Tale is a free-flowing narrative that tells the hilarious exploits of a natural born mischief growing from the clay streets of Nigeria to the rooftops of Dublin, and finally to London.

Ellams vividly recreates the characters that punctuate his upbringing in deft and beautiful poetry, while challenging the audience’s expectations of what it is to be a young, black male in London today.

‘London’s hottest new spoken word talent.’
The Times

‘The 14th Tale comes as a sharp reminder of the power of language and rhythm in theatre, and of how dramatic poetry can create whole worlds through the voice of a single performer.’
The Scotsman
Tickets £10

Here for more.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Night in Paris this Vals..


Soyinka and Aondoakaa on CNN


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Discussion on Dead Aid at CDD, this Friday..

DEAD AID by Dambisa Moyo will be reviewed by Mercy Ezehi, at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).

Friday, 12th February
10 am
The CDD conference room.

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
No 4 Kikuyu Close, Off Nairobi Crescent,
Wuse II, Abuja.
Tel: +234 9 6716454


Monday, February 08, 2010

When owambe styling goes ragga...

I think these ladies are related to Mr. SG, or have some knowledge of him...


Saturday, February 06, 2010

CODER Nigeria

I love this: yoking the surging desire for genuine democracy (via electoral reform) in Nigeria with web 2.0. The genie is out of the bottle..


On hausa literature

Carmen McCain gave an excellent talk on hausa fiction last night at an ANA Abuja event. Although she grew up in Jos, she wasn't aware until a few years ago of the vast body of popular fiction written in hausa. She is now on the way to becoming an expert in the field, via a PhD she is completing at the University of Wisconsin.

Her talk reviewed some of the more popular works, which can sell into the hundreds of thousands of copies. As publishers, we could only listen with envy. The majority of the writers are women, although the nature of northern culture means that they women writers get less visibility than men.

Also, she identified the continuum between the origin of many of the stories in drama groups, the novels and Kano films. A member of the drama group may go on to write the novel version of the story created in the group, which then goes on to become a film in which the writer stars.
The discussion after her talk focused mainly on the value of writing in different languages in an African context. As Carmen suggested, dismissing hausa fiction as 'pulp' is mistaken; quality literature rises out of a popular/pulp context. It did in Jane Austen's time as it does today. The stereotype of the "illiterate northerner" crumbles in the face of the fact that there are more writers and readers of hausa literature than there are of any other language (including English) in Nigeria.

What should come next? The best of hausa fiction needs to be translated, so that the rest of us can be let in on the secret!


Friday, February 05, 2010

Riazat Butt on Soyinka's cesspit...



Talk with Funmi..

Starts this Sunday on Africa Magic at 7pm. Here.


Maga No Need Pay

When faster/cheaper internet comes to Nigeria (its been a long wait) there is risk that the yahoo boys may upgrade into something a little more Muscovite - the DOS business model etc. In which case, Microsoft has chipped in by funding Banky W, Bez, Cobhams, MI, Modele, Omawumu, Rooftop MCs and Wordsmith to come up with this little confection..


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Carmen McCain seminar on Hausa literature tomorrow

Carmen McCain is an expert on Northern literature. In the seminar, she will be contesting Richard Ali's view of Northern writing by focusing on fiction written in Hausa. Facebook event page here.

Friday, 5th February
Greenlines Restaurant. No 11, Aba close, off Ogbmosho Stree, Garki, Area 8.

5pm start.


Mutallab: Father and Son

Good piece in the WSJ today on the family's recent involvement in the Detroit bomber case, with some background on the pantybomber's childhood. Apparently, Farouk used to preach to his father all the time for not being more generous..


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Mountain of Death Green Trek challenge

Win 10 million naira, a 4x4 jeep and a holiday in Angola if you are the first to climb the Mountain of Death this May. More info here.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

This is my Africa..

Zina Saro-Wiwa's lovely jubbly homage to the red-earth continent is on HBO (US only) tomorrow at 8pm. More details here.


The first traces of normality return to Jos...

Update from Norma:

Hello customers,

It is gratifying to know that you have all been missing our vegetables over the past two weeks. We were inundated with orders for today (Tuesday), and to be honest we had some serious problems getting the orders organised and packed up. We processes over 65 orders for customers, including some hotels and Amigo supermarket, and it was virtually impossible to get everything done in the time available. We are still under curfew (from 6pm to 6am) in Jos, and there are roadblocks all over, which cause endless delays in getting around. It normally takes me 30 minutes to get from my house in Jos to the farm, but now it takes more than an hour and a half. I left the house at 6am, and just managed to get home before the 6pm curfew, at which point I had to start writing invoices, which I didn't finish until midnight. There are just not enough working hours in the day to get all of the jobs done.

Several of you ordered flowers, and actually we have quite a few that are good, especially strelitzia. But I was just too busy to have time to pick them (I usually do the flowers myself), so apologies to those of you who ordered and didn't get any. We will try to get ourselves more organized for future orders.

I never appreciated how efficient our work force was until now, when many of them have gone. We are working with half of our staff, plus a few new people who are not familiar with how we work. As a result, we had some problems with the orders -- the women who pick the herbs didn't manage to finish picking in time, so some of you didn't get all the items you ordered. So please bear with us if you didn't get everything you wanted. We are trying to sort things out, but it will take us some time.

In order to make our work load more manageable given the few hours we have to work during the day, we have decided that for the time being we will limit orders to the first 35 customers who place their order. We have already received several orders for this Friday's delivery, so if you want to order, please do so immediately so you can get in under the deadline. If your order is not among the first 35 received, we will let you know and ask if you want it delivered another time. We are sorry to have to to this, but if we continue like this we are likely to cause you a lot of disappointments, and we would rather send a limited number of complete orders rather than a large number of haphazard ones. As soon as things gain a semblance of normality we will go back to our old system.

In addition to trying to get the farm reorganised, we are also trying to cater for our workers who are refugees, who are still not settled and remain traumatized by their experience. Many of you have indicated that you have items for Audu to collect today when he comes to Abuja, and we are all extremely grateful for your generosity. Our customers have been really fantastic. You can't imagine how good we feel when we get so many messages of goodwill and support. And our workers are so appreciative of all of the help you are giving them. We can't thank you enough.

As for the farm, it seems many of our veggies managed quite well without much care, but others of them really suffered. Courgettes especially did not survive well without constant watering, and they are not looking at all good. We have decided to throw away all the plants and start new ones. So we will not have much by way of courgettes for a few weeks. We will let you know when they are ready.

Meanwhile, other crops like fennel, kohlrabi, etc. are looking fantastic and we have good quantities of them. Our broccoli managed to grow giant heads (over a kg each), even in the absence of much water, so we will have some to send you as well.

Lettuces are at all stages of maturity. Some of them got overgrown, especially because of the warm weather that coincided with our absence from the farm, and we have had to throw them away, but there are enough young ones coming up and we should have many varieties available.

Snow peas and sugar snaps also started producing over the past couple of weeks, and although the plants are a bit dry, they are still fruiting, so we will have some of these as well.

We also have plenty of French beans, although our snake beans and purple beans have about finished.

Herbs also survived pretty well, and are reviving now that we have been watering for a week. Most varieties are available.

Cherry tomatoes, amazingly, are still producing. We didn't manage to get the new seedlings planted out before the crisis, but we will do so this week. Meanwhile, we still have some of the old plants that we can pick from. We should have some nice beef tomatoes for next week, and also nice plum. We had a problem over our plum tomatoes: the fellow who has been supplying us evidently participated heavily in the slaughter of our workers in Kuru. We have many eye witnesses who confirmed this. So of course we do not intend to do any business with him anymore and we are watching to see if justice will take its course in his case and that of so many others. However, we have gotten a new supplier who also has very good quality plum tomatoes, so we should be able to get enough for you.

Our pawpaws are ripening again, but passion fruit and rhubarb suffered a lot and we will not have any for a few weeks. Our strawberries also stopped producing due to lack of water, but now that we have started watering daily they are flowering again, and maybe we will have some by the end of next week.

Please consult the order form attached for details of all items available. We will really try to accommodate as many orders as humanly possible, but beyond this there is little we can do until "normality" returns to Jos.

Best wishes,


Monday, February 01, 2010

North Africa al Qaeda offer to 'help' in Nigeria

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb offers to train and arm Nigeria Muslims in their fight against Christians, as reported on Reuters today.


Offshore payments to the Nigerian Red Cross for the Jos refugees









Crap 419 for Sunday

Its when you get yahoo like this

"Date 31/01/2010
Greetings, I am Peter Wong writing from Hong Kong. I am writing you because I want you to join me in a business project worth 44.5M Dollars. You will have a share of 50% after we finish.

Please write me back at my private e-mail
[email protected] for more details.

Peter Wong"

that you sit back and think nostalgically about all the badly written but imaginative 419 letters you've received over the years - men stuck on spaceships, emails from Kofi Annan, Jim Ovia, or even from Ribadu back in the day. Perhaps there should be a study tour of Hong Kong wannabees to Lagos or something?


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