Monday, May 31, 2010

Jonathan Dimbleby in Africa

The one man National Treasure visits Mali, Ghana and, in the final 10 minutes, Nigeria. In Nigeria he flies with Dangote in his private jet to his cement factory and asks him if he has participated in corruption. He then meets Naeto C and Sasha in Lagos.

After watching the section on the King of the Ashanti in Ghana and the moral/juridical/spiritual authority bestowed upon him, I wondered whether there is any equivalent figure in Nigeria among the Emirs and the traditional rulers of the South. It seems that in Nigeria, traditional rulers these days are simply business men who use their position to further their interests and have little spiritual authority. Perhaps that is a simplification however..


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gawd bless The Guardian..

...for asking the obvious question apropos of Deepwater Horizon, "What about Nigeria's oil spills?"


Bad news for bigots/homophobes

The Malawian gay couple have been pardoned.


Friday, May 28, 2010

419 Positive

Press release for the
419 Positive Project. Click to enlarge. Kudos to Rosemary Ajayi for making this happen.


Another BBC doc

The blurb on this film:

"Documentary about a new wave of elite young Nigerians returning from privileged backgrounds abroad to live in Lagos, where the burgeoning media world is their playground."

I wonder if this will prompt more howls of outrage and post colonial pain, or whether shots of skyscrapers, speedboats and well fed young men will assuage those who hated Welcome to Lagos.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crystal Meth and Porn for those overseeing offshore drilling



Dele Olojede in at number 66...

of the Fast Company's "most creative people" list. However, how much would you trust a ranking that puts Lady Gaga at its summit? I'm just saying...


Ajelogo: After the Bulldozers

Ajelogo: After the Bulldozers from Stretch Ledford on Vimeo.

A film by Charles 'Stretch' Ledford on the recent slum clearance in Ajelogo.


Bukka event on Lagos

Interesting discussion on the future of Lagos at SOAS, 18th June.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The African Statesman speaks

Obasanjo sits on the "Africa Progress Panel". According to his remarks cited here, his beliefs on homosexuality do not sound progressive. Should this apparently distinguished panel have people sitting on it that hold a 13th century perspective on sexuality? Kofi Annan has his work cut out...


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Main One launch party...

Main One has finally reached Lagos and is just about to start testing phase. After years of wasted opportunities (read SAT 3 and NITEL) finally Nigeria will have faster and cheaper bandwidth. Or rather, Lagos, Abuja and a few other large cities will. There was never a coherent plan to build a fibre optic network for the whole of Nigeria. As with other parts of the world, rural internet access will continue to be a challenge for many years to come. Still, now is the time for eager anticipation. Are the ISPs ready to provide the retail service and pass the lower costs on to the long suffering customer however?


The newlook, post paywall Times

You can see where they are going. Upping the ante on use of images, bringing the digital version closer to the paper version (especially by using the printed masthead). Its hard to avoid the sense that The Times is looking ahead to tablet based browsing and a physical user experience that maps onto the bodily experience of reading a newspaper. Lots of smart moves in all this. Will I subscribe? Naah.


Yinka Shonibare at the 4th plinth..


Sunday, May 23, 2010


Here if you are not hip to it yet.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

At the BookJam at Silverbird today

Cassava Republic writer Sade Adeniran with Binyavanga Wainaina and CNA.


The Fake Prophet Movie Trailer


To Oyo Ile

Old Oyo from Jeremy Weate on Vimeo.

In May 2007, we travelled deep into the Old Oyo National Park to visit the ruins of Oyo Ile, one of the most powerful empires of West Africa in its time. After over three hours driving from Ilorin into the forest, we finally reached the cave where Oranmiyan was led by the python. To this day, there is a python cave in the same spot. The national park guards were very wary when we walked close to the entrance; apparently the pythons can travel faster than you can run. There is scarcely anything left of the great empire; just a two foot high mud wall. Perhaps one day there'll be a museum and the place will be a bit more organised. For now, everything is left to the imagination. No bad thing in a way.


Helen Ukpabio resurfaces

Preaching her insane/inane drivel in Houston. The suffering to thousands of children in Akwa Ibom and Cross River State this evil woman has caused...


On Islam and polygamy

Good analytical post from Akin here on how the Qu'ran actually discourages polygamy. The idea that a man can marry a woman without any age limit is also a complete misinterpretation of the Suras. Here. The Prophet Mohammed married the widows of his friends to ensure their children had a proper upbringing. It was an ethical act, not an act of lust. Religions are often bastardised and corrupted in the hands of men.


The lives of Africans in the World Cup

Excellent piece on the other side of the World Cup here. The article could be called, "How Europe underdevelops African football." It doesn't seem like the World Cup is going to help transform the beautiful game in South Africa, let alone anywhere else on the continent. The stadiums will be turned over to the white sports of rugby and cricket after the tourists have gone. The shady network of European talent scouts picking up young African players is barely a rung above human trafficking,

"But there is another side to this system that will not be on display in South Africa. The vast majority of African players do not end up as superstars at Chelsea or Barcelona. They arrive in far-flung corners of Europe and then move around, traded for small sums by cash-strapped clubs looking for value. They are what Alegi, in African Soccerscapes, calls the lumpenproletariat of professional football, with few rights, fewer privileges and no security. Many arrive very young (in 2003 the average age of African imports to European leagues was 19, compared with 24.5 for imports from elsewhere in Europe) and wind up in deeply unfamiliar places where racism is still rife and the climate is often uncongenial. African footballers now make up the majority of professionals in Romania, and more than a third in countries such as Switzerland and Ukraine. In 2006, over a fifth of all transfers between European clubs were of African players. Cheap African labour is the now the staple diet of the lower reaches of the European game."


Friday, May 21, 2010

When children are asked to marry

One thing that's been absent from the discourse on Senator Yerima and his 14 year old Egyptian wife is the health risks associated with newly married girls becoming pregnant. The most tragic of these is obstetric fistula. Young girls often lose their babies because their bodies are not developed enough for childbirth and then suffer the awful consequences of fistula. Nigeria unfortunately has one of the highest fistula prevalence rates on the continent, with 20,000 new cases each year. The link between obstetric fistula and the common practice of child marriage in the North is obvious for anyone to see. A thousand years ago, people could be excused for not understanding these things. For practices to be justified on account of ancient historical/theological precedent in the face of the obviousness of suffering is a lesson in stone stage thinking. Child marriage ruins thousands of young girls lives in Nigeria every year. How is it possible to know about obstetric fistula and yet continue to be a proponent of child marriage?


Benicio the suave

Is it me or was it only Benicio Del Toro who looked like a God at this year's Cannes?


Ebedi Writers Residency



The Ebedi International Writer’s Residency is administered by EBEDI International Writers Resort. Located in the idyllic scenery of Iseyin town in Iseyin local government area of Oyo State Nigeria , the Ebedi Resort provides an inspiring ambience to churn out creative works away from the rigours and bustle of everyday work and life.

The residency whose Patron is Dr. Wale Okediran, will be administered by the Ebedi’s Writers Residency Management Board under the Chairperson of Maryam Ali Ali. Other members of the board are Akintayo Abodurin, Uche Peter Umez, Tokunbo Okediran and Alkasim Abdulkadir as Secretary to the board.

Ebedi Writers Residency is a well furnished 4 bedroom Bungalow complete with Kitchen, bathroom and Patio area.A standby generator and water bole facilities as well security arrangements are also available. A large well landscaped compound and the adjoining hills will complement a beautiful Writers Resort.

The Writer-in-resident shall be granted a stay not more than six weeks.

The Management Board shall also provide the writer with a grant enough to cover feeding and incidental expenses during course of stay.

How to Apply
All applicants must specify two preferences for the time of their residency; successful applicants will be offered the first available spot in accordance to their preference.

To apply, please send in the following:
Biographical sketch including publications, performances and writing credits
Ten page sample of your latest work.
One-page description of the work to be undertaken while at the Residency
Two letters of recommendation e-mailed directly to the e-mail address mentioned above
If the applicant has a publishing contract for the project in process, he/ she should kindly state this.

Ebedi’s Writers Residency is open to both writers based in Nigeria and international writers who have published books in the categories of novels, short stories, poetry or plays.
Writers should have a specific project they will be developing or completing at the Residency.
Selected writers will be expected to contribute to the Iseyin Community's educational development by organizing a literary activity such as a writing workshop or literary competition among the students of a secondary school in the town during the duration of the program. Regardless of the country of origin, the applicant must be fluent in speaking English.

Selection Criteria
Ebedi Writers’ Residency program mainly focuses on the professional experience of writers, quality of past work and their potential to have a productive time while they are residents.
Major factors in making the selection will be the literary achievement of the applicant to date and the ability to produce a work of substantial literary quality. The Management Board will make the final selection of two (2) for each Residency Season.

All applications must get to the board before close of business on the 15th of June 2010.
Completed applications should be sent to


Bras without borders

A charity set up to sent secondhand/unused bras from the US to Uganda is kicking up a storm in the 2.0 world. It began with a piece in the Huffington Post. It prompted this outraged rejoinder. There are many excellent points in the response about imports preventing the local cotton industry from thriving and the overall dumb blonde patronising tone, however, I think there's a false note attached to an alleged stigma in possessing second hand clothes.

There is already a large market for second hand bras in Nigeria. I recall a taxi driver taking a wrong turn on my way in from the airport in Lagos a couple of years ago. We ended up on the Osodi market section of Agege Motor Road. We drove past a few stalls selling used bras with women crowding round etc. I wonder where they came from? Probably from donations from the West turned into trade. I'm sure in many parts of the West, similar markets exist, just as they exist for other forms of second hand clothing. As a poor PhD student over a decade ago, all my t shirts were second hand. I'm sure if I'd had an elder brother, like many I would have ended up with sibling hand me downs.

Second hand clothing is in line with a more general recycling ethic and shouldn't be disparaged. It smacks of Western consumerism and the cult of the new. None of this takes away from the inglorious naivety of the original article and the Kristy and Laura characters featured, nor does it deny that new underwear is always preferable to wearing what was someone else's..


Finally, the face of God...

In the beginning there was hardware, software and the internet. And the internet was without form, and the DNA that circulated above it was from the Old Kingdom. The worst of it was the human species, which was a genetic cul de sac masking as food chain superiority.

And then Our God, the Almighty Venter, booted up some dead cells with New Kingdom protein data, in the process bequeathing the secret email address to our core. Our mission ever since has been to decode the Sacred Email Of The Watermarks; those who have done so (only a Few Special Ones) have access to the Divine One (unless he is on holiday, then you apparently get a Celestial Out of Office). For we mere mortals, it is enough that unlike those from the Old Kingdom, we at least know the Face of God. Kindly, Superior, the ruts above the eyebrows the mark of Deep Concentration. We hail thee, Venter, The Godhead...


Chika Uniwgwe in Abuja, 26th May


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed of Kumbwada

"In Nigeria's conservative Islamic north, women are barred from ruling, except in the kingdom of Kumbwada. Here, an ancient curse keeps males off the throne, according to locals. Male pretenders who dare to try will be buried within a week..."

Article from a few weeks back in the LA Times here.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The FT pulls Amnesty's ad...

Story here.


African footie convo

Sean Jacobs, assistant professor at the graduate program in International Affairs, leads a panel that includes Time magazines senior editor Tony Karon; Austin Merrill, author of the Fair Play blog for Vanity Fair; and writers Binyavanga Wainaina and Teju Cole. The discussion features film and video clips. Sponsored by the graduate program in International Affairs.


Criminal Force: Torture, Abuse and Extrajudicial Killings

Disturbing report on the Nigerian Police Force produced by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria and the Open Society Justice Initiative. Download it here. Article in today's Guardian (UK) here.


Note from Cassava Republic, 19th May

Three of Cassava Republic Press' award-winning authors, Toni Kan (author of Nights of the Creaking Bed), Adaobi Nwaubani (I Do Not Come To You By Chance) and Sade Adeniran (Imagine This) were travelling from Lagos to Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife on the afternoon of Tuesday, 18th May for a book reading with the university community when their car slowed between Ibadan and Ife.

It quickly became clear to all that there was an armed robbery taking place ahead.

A few moments later, a robber with a gun passed in front of the car. He pointed the gun at the driver and demanded angrily that he stop. The driver quickly reversed and sped backwards, while the robber shot at them.

Luckily no one was hurt. The car waited for a while a few miles away with other parked cars. After a while, they decided it was better to move forward than to return to Lagos. They passed by where the incident had taken place. There were lots of cars and buses parked along the road, all empty. The passengers and drivers had fled into the bush.

The writers eventually reached OAU. Later that evening, they were hosted by OAU Alumni Society, reading from their work to an excited audience. Three Cassava Republic writers survived to tell the tale! Although, it is a traumatic experience, we are very grateful that no one was hurt and we hoped that the passengers of the robbed car were unhurt.

This incident highlights the continued insecurity of lives in the country and the fact that a simple road journey is potentially a death trap. We hope that the government will take security issues in the country very seriously as well as the underlining issues that has made armed robbery the only option opened to many of our unemployed and disenfranchised youths. It is totally unacceptable that nearly 50years after Independence the State is still unable to protect her citizens and provide them with a living wage that will allow people to live well and with dignity. The struggle for daily survival has made some people to feel they have no choice but to result to armed robbery and wrecking havoc on people’s lives.

We are very happy that the authors arrived in Ife safely, even if they were traumatised by events.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yerimagate on Al Jazeera


Internet penetration in Africa...


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Being Siji


Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Thanks to all who came to the book reading on Saturday. It was an amazing turnout!


Sade Adeniran and Adaobi Nwaubani on Channels TV's Rubbin Minds this afternoon

Thanks to Peju and Chude and all for making this happen! Sade Adeniran will be reading at the next BookJam, Saturday May 22nd at 3pm (Silverbird Galleria, VI, Lagos) and then at the House of Makeda with Sola Allyson on Sunday May 23rd from 4 to 6pm.


Friday, May 14, 2010

The ecological sublime (Macondo)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

James Ibori arrested in Dubai



African Digital Art


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Globe and Mail goes Afrocentric

One of Canada's top papers devoted its World section to the African continent on Monday, edited/curated by the Kenyan blogger and founder of Ushahidi, Ory Okolloh. Its all online here.


Mr and Mrs Okada...

The Goodluck NEPA blog.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Adam lost his rag with Alastair...

The fracas starts around 4mins 50 in. Hilarious! I wonder if Anji and Fiona have seen it...


Monday, May 10, 2010

Nyemike Onwuka exhibition coming up...


Sunday, May 09, 2010


Excellent analysis by Cheta here. The silence of the clerics is deafening...


The Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways

The tragicomedies of Nigeria come in the thousands each day and are never ending.


Oil in Uganda and Ghana

Will Uganda and Ghana avoid the mistakes of Nigeria in their management of oil revenues? An article from the May 3rd Time magazine asks the question.


Homesick in New York?

Buka is a new Nigerian restaurant opened last month in Brooklyn (946 Fulton Street). Lookman Afolayanin's joint is the new headquarters of Nigerian food in New York. The menu features several pepper soups--the traditional goat, as well as fish and chicken. There's also okra, fried plantain, moinmoin, and jollof rice. Facebook page here. Photos and menu review by F.F.


Teju Cole's Letter from Lagos in Vanity Fair



Saturday, May 08, 2010

The beautiful north

Stunning pictures by Irene Becker of Northern Nigeria here. You get a strong sense of how vast and varied the north of Nigeria really is..


Notes2Note Premiere

A 20 minute documentary written by Ruonah Agbroko on Nigeria's founders told through the figures on the Naira notes premiers later this month, supported by the Nigerian Leadership Initiative. Here for more.


Victory in Europe?

A revealing photo taken at the Cenotaph earlier today as part of the VE Day Commemorations.


The death of philosophy

As a taste of the kind of slashing and burning of all that is held good by the incoming Conservative government in their rush to save £6bn (and create a second recession unwittingly), Middlesex University is closing its philosophy department. Its 1979 all over again. The next generation is going to quickly discover why the Tories are hated so much by lefties. The closure is not going to happen without a fight however; students have occupied a building called Mansion House on the Trent Park campus and are putting on free seminars for the public. Here. As they say,

"Today we announce the opening of an experimental and communal space for educational presentations and conversations at the interface between philosophy, theory, activism and art. Transversal Space is an alternative educational experience in which the boundaries between disciplines and the relations between students and teachers are blurred. Relationships and ideas are explored in an open and collective way continuing the ethos of our philosophy department and its series of events."

You know a society has hit the buffers when it reneges upon the study of philosophy.

Addendum: See the Observer piece today (9th May).


Friday, May 07, 2010

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani reads at Quintessence

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani will be reading from her book, I Do Not Come To You By Chance, at Quintessence Bookshop, on Saturday 15th May at 4pm. Click here for the Facebook event page (and to let us know if you are coming).

Adaobi waded into the Welcome to Lagos debate yesterday at the Guardian's Comment is Free site here. Note one powerful response to her article here.


Teju Cole on Smooth FM

Interview with Mandy Brown at 10am tomorrow (Saturday, 8th May), GMT+1. You can listen live here.


NEXT in the Huff Post

A story on Next in the Huffington Post. Will the paper survive by moving to the mobile space? Many among the political class in Abuja would hope not..


Congrats Chuka Umunna

For holding on to Streatham for Labour with a 17.5% majority.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

General Muhammadu Buhari lecture at Oxford

His topic: Nigeria: Ten Years of Democracy.

Monday, 10th May, 5pm.

Here for more.


GJ sworn in this morning


The Urban Detectives in Lagos, 8th May

Click to enlarge/read.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

New Media Conference coming up at the PAU

School of Media and Communication, Pan-African University

August 2010 Conference

New Media and the Knowledge Economy in Africa

The concept of the knowledge economy is more than that of an economy based on knowledge. It even goes beyond the notion of the (economic) management of knowledge and knowledge production in culture and society. The conceptual shift resides in the re-evaluation of production value away from the traditional combination of raw materials-machinery-capital, and towards greater emphasis on human capital, its development and its contribution to the value chain.

For us in the cultural industries, the commanding role that ICT plays in the value chain demands that we focus on new media as the platform of the knowledge economy. In real times, media are not merely channels of communication, not mere tools, but prime assets in the (re)production of knowledge. Thus they raise questions of skill-sets, competence even of skilled producers and the future direction of African economies and polities.

Against this background, this conference will address the place of new media and ICT in general in the production and reproduction of knowledge in Africa. How well are the universities and training institutions in Africa leveraging on the new media in knowledge production? What is the state of library and information systems in our institutions in this regard? What are the policy options being pursued or implementation strategies adopted by national governments to push forward the empowerment of citizens through the new media platforms? How do the new media advance democracy in Africa? What impacts do the new media have on industrial production, service delivery and workflow practices?

It is expected that at the 2010 conference, the publication of select papers from the 2009 conference (Journalism and New Media Technologies in Africa) will be launched. In 2010 the sub-themes have been organized along the lines below. The themes are provided only as suggestions. Scholars, industry experts and practitioners, policy makers and others who wish to organize special panels along themes other than those below should make proposals to the organizers. However, extra topics must be hinged on the central theme of the conference.

Paper proposals should be one page, and should list the author's name, address, university affiliations, telephone, fax, and e-mail, followed by the paper's title and an abstract of not more than 300 words. The abstract should specify the subject, questions asked, methodology and findings.

Conference Sub-themes:

a) Theoretical and conceptual issues on new media and knowledge economy

· Definitions

· Theories

· Methodologies

· Research paradigms and traditions

b) Culture and the (re)production of knowledge in Africa

· Endogenous/indigenous knowledge systems

· New media and archiving of cultural knowledge

· Cultural interfaces and dissonances in knowledge production

· Knowledge production in central and peripheral societies

c) Citizen empowerment and new media

· E-Governance and democracy: framework for social and economic empowerment

· Political and public communications and the new media

· New media and public policy in Africa

· Social media, social enterprises and social critiques in the new media

· ICT and professionalism in public service delivery

d) Business and economic practices

· Market economies and moral economies in the new media age

· Marketing communications and the new media

· Business and financial intelligence in new media contexts

· Research and development in the ICT age

· Intellectual property issues in the new media

· Virtual business communities

(e) Tools and technologies in the knowledge economy: Educational networks, virtual universities

· Infrastructure of knowledge production: Research and the new media

· Education and e-competence: Preparing employable youths

· Library and information services in Africa today

· On virtual universities in Africa

Abstracts should be forwarded to [email protected]. Exhibition issues to [email protected]; [email protected]. Hospitality issues to [email protected].

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April, 2010. Notification of acceptance is 30 May, 2010.

Venue: Pan-African University, Lekki Campus

Date: 11 – 13 August, 2010

Conference fees: N20,000.00 ($130)

Students: 50% discount

PAU alumni: 25% discount

Conference convener: Prof. E. A. Biakolo


School of Media and Communication

Pan-African University



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