Saturday, December 17, 2011

Buzkashi in Tajikistan


Buzkashi in Tajikistan, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

The rider makes for the goal with the 'ball'...

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Buzkashi in Tajikistan


Buzkashi in Tajikistan, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

Buzkashi is polo played with a headless dead goat. Its quite a spectacle...

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Consultants needed


































Send your cv and profile to hr@rhizomeng.com.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sefi Atta play, Dec 8th @ Terra Kulture


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Friday, November 25, 2011

Teju Cole in Lagos, this Saturday


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

December Art Fair in Abuja



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Abule Soro expo at Quintessence

Exhibition of the finest Ekiti pottery at Quintessence, opens this Saturday.  Here for more info.

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Gabriela Salgado at CCA. Tuesday 29th November, 3pm

Gabriela Salgado will present her curatorial practice departing from the idea of cultural borders, with references to Latin American artists and theorists.  The talk will cover her  independent projects as well as her institutional roles such as her tenure as curator of the Latin American ArtCollection UECLAA, at Essex University (1999-2005) and her last role as curator of Public Programmes at Tate Modern (2006-2011) in order to analyse the institution's collection policies as well as the hierarchies and formalities that separate the role of the curators in exhibition making and education roles and their relation with current artistic practice. 

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chika Unigwe in New York, November 6

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Ikhide starts a blog

The cantankerous civil servant from Maryland starts a blog.  Now this should be interesting!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the Fuel Subsidy


This clip hits the nail on the head: without developing refinery capacity, removing the fuel subsidy is a disastrous idea.  The stats 3 minutes 39 seconds in give the game away.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

El Anatsui at the Blanton




El Anatsui show at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Tx.  More here.

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Pop-Up Boutique in Lagos, opening 31st October.


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Owambe, Aso-Ebi and the Politics of Dress at CCA


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Monday, October 17, 2011

Burma Boys event in Oxford on Wednesday, 6pm

For Black History Month, the African Studies Centre presents:

The Burma Boys, Barnaby Phillips' revealing documentary about the 100,000 Africans who fought the Japanese in the jungles of Burma during the Second World War.
 

The documentary will be preceded by I Remember When I Was a Soldier, a short film by
Olly Owen, Dan Susman and Robin Forestier based on interviews with surviving veterans in
Nigeria.

 + Q&A with Barnaby Phillips of Al Jazeera 



6pm
19 October, 
Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre, 
St Anne's College, 
Woodstock Road, 
Oxford

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Friday, October 07, 2011

UN Africa Innovations Prize


Addis Ababa, 08 July 2011 (ECA) - The United Nations  Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation  (AIF) are delighted to announce the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) to be  awarded for the first time in February 2012. This prestigious and  well-endowed award aims at encouraging innovations that contribute to  sustainable development in Africa.  

With this award, AIF and  UNECA acknowledge, support and encourage innovators and entrepreneurs- the  group of stakeholders who till now have been neither considered nor benefited  under Africa’s development cooperation agenda.

"Innovation is a  combination of identifying problems, and finding groundbreaking implementable  solutions; we hope the prizes will contribute to tapping into the ingenuity of  Africans to solve Africa’s problems,” says the ECA Executive Secretary and  Under-Secretary General, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh.   

He adds:  “Currently, ideas, innovation and knowledge are what is driving the world, and  transforming economies.  It is therefore fitting and appropriate that the  Innovation Prize for Africa is targeting a unique group of stakeholders -  innovators and inventors in the area of ICTs, Green Technologies and Health  & Food Security.”  

“The AIF is very proud of the cooperation  with ECA and expects numerous innovation projects to compete for the prize.  There is so much untapped talent on this continent,” adds Mr. Walter Fust,  Chairman of the AIF.  

The amount allocated towards the winners  for the selected innovators and entrepreneurs, in the three thematic areas of  ICTs; Green Technologies; Health & Food Security are two generous prizes:  First prize USD 100,000; and USD 50000 for the second prize.

The  registration deadline for the 2012 prize has been set for September 30th, 2011  with no possibility of extensions.  

The organizers expect the  prize to promote among young African men and women the pursuit of science,  technology and engineering careers and business applications. The aims are to:   
1.        Create a platform for identification  of innovative concepts and projects submitted by applicants that could be  supported by AIP;  
2.        Promote innovation  across Africa in key sectors of interest through the competition;   
3.        Promote science, technology and engineering  as rewarding, exciting and noble career options among the youth in Africa by  profiling successful applicants; and  
4.         Encourage entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and business  development service providers to exchange ideas and explore innovative  business opportunities.  

In pursuing those aims, the AIP expects  the following outcomes:
1.        Increased  commercialization of research and development (R&D) outputs in Africa;
2.        Increased development of start-up, adoption  of new and emerging technologies and accelerate growth of an innovative and  dynamic private sector; and  
3.        Increased  general economic activities that result in long term sustainable development   

Over the coming five years, AIP will be targeting  innovators/entrepreneurs in different thematic areas to be determined each  year by the Technical Advisory Committee.  

For detailed  information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission  procedures, please visit: http://www.uneca.org/AIP/AIF <http://www.uneca.org/aip/aif>   

Issued  by:  

ECA Information and Communication Service
P.O.  Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia  

Tel:  251 11 5445098
Fax: +251-11-551 03 65  
E-mail: ecainfo@uneca.org  <mailto:ecainfo@uneca.org>
Web: www.uneca.org  <http://www.uneca.org>    

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Protest is not allowed in Abia State

Women bussed in to join the protest against the Abia State University gang rape were escorted to the state's boundaries.  Here for more.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The X-Perspective


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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Zazugist - your pidgin news service

Here for all jollification...

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Elder's Corner - watch the video and then fetch your wallet

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Job opportunity

Impact Assessment & Communications Officer at ENABLE (DFID-funded business environment project).  Email justin.vanrhyn@adamsmithinternational.com if you are interested.

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Abule Soro pottery

Abule Soro - 'those who make wealth from the soil' pots from Isan, Ekiti State.  There's now a company set up to market these wonderful pots in Lagos and overseas. More here.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Exhortation in Kano


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kano leather, Aba shoes

In Aba, they make Italian-style shoes from Kano leather which are labelled "Made in Italy". No one would buy them if they said "Made in Nigeria", although everyone knows they are made locally. Nigerians don't trust products made in Nigeria and prefer to pretend they were made elsewhere. How can this attitude be turned around?

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Morocco, Ajegunle

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

The closing of Zamani Farms

Just got my weekly email from Norma of Zamani Farms (see below).  The closure of her farm is tragic but inevitable news.  The stories we are now hearing from Jos - including the cannibalism she mentions - are quite shocking and horrific.  It appears that there is no solution in sight, nor hope of a solution.  If anyone can help Norma with funding for her new venture in Zaria, please contact her at zamanifarms@gmail.com.


Hello customers,

Since last week we have done practically no work at all at the farm due to the terrible situation in the Jos area. Last week's orders were somewhat incomplete as we had problems assembling all items that you requested. We did not have enough onions in stock, and our onion supplier would not come out (like most people in Jos) so we didn't have enough onions for you. On Thursday last week when we were at the farm packing up your orders, people were phoning us from Jos town (30km away) every five minutes or so, telling us that there is gunfire all over Jos and we should come back home. It was not easy to concentrate on assembling the orders under these circumstances, so I apologise for any mistakes that might have been made in the packaging.

On Friday and Saturday we could not get to the farm, as there was a lot of tension in the town, with many roads blocked and security all over. On Monday morning as I was preparing to leave for the farm, one of my workers phoned to tell me that there had been an attack in Sunday night at the residence of one of our security guards (located in a part of Kuru along the Abuja road) and that four members of his family had been killed. At the time he was phoning, they were hearing gunshots near the farm, and I shouldn't come as all the workers were going home. Of course I told them they had better go. (In the absence of any people on the farm on Monday, birds took advantage of the situation to devour most of our sweet corn which was just ready to pick).

Meanwhile, in retaliation for the attack, the people of the area came out on Monday morning and blocked the main round-about on the Abuja-Jos road at Marraraban Jama'a. They attacked the soldiers who tried to disperse them, burned four big trucks and a car that were trying to pass into Jos, and killed any Muslim travelers they could find. Several people were killed there, and many more just escaped with their lives. The road to Jos was closed for most of the day.

In the midst of this, we have managed to put together your orders for today's delivery and as I write, Audu is on the road to Abuja for deliveries. We hope he will arrive safely. Last week they were delayed for four hours on the Keffi-Abuja road due to checkpoints, and they didn't managed to get into Abuja until almost 4pm, and had to rush around to make deliveries. Apologies to those who got very late orders, but it was due to circumstances far beyond our control.

The situation here has created really impossible conditions for us on the farm. Our young crops need constant attention and care. They need weeding, manuring and generally looking after. When workers can't come to the farm, or when they say they don't sleep at night for fear of attack, and have no peace of mind, of course they cannot concentrate on their work. Our production has suffered seriously, we are running at a loss, and feel really terrible that we are unable to provide our customers with the quantity and quality of vegetables they have come to expect from us.

Since the crisis of January 2010, our farm has been just a shadow of its former self, and I feel very sad when I think of how it used to be. For 10 years before the crisis, we managed to run a relatively successful business. We paid salaries on time, we had a group of skilled and dedicated workers who were eager to learn new things and apply them, and who worked together as a family regardless of ethnic, linguistic and religious differences. We grew a wide range of produce which we believe our customers appreciated. During the crisis, some of these workers were killed, and the rest had to leave and have not been able to come back because of the situation in the area. In the past few months, we had made plans to bring them back, but due to the new flare up of hostilities, this seems completely impossible. We had been encouraged by the recent few months of peaceful conditions and by the progress we had made in renovating the farm. We were happy to see things growing so well on the rejuvenated fields.
 
But now it is obvious that we have finally come to the end of the road. I will spare you the very gruesome details, but the level of barbarism which we witnessed in Jos over the past few weeks (including even cannibalism) has, I believe, so poisoned the environment here that I truly believe we will not see any normality returning to the area in my lifetime (I am now 68). I don’t feel I should spend my remaining years in a fruitless exercise. We have persevered as long as we have mainly because of the support and encouragement from our customers, who have been wonderful in all of this. But none of us have been able to lead any semblance of a normal life since January last year. People cannot visit us. All of my friends, Christian and Muslim, are afraid to come to Jos. By 6pm everyone is indoors, there are no social activities at all and people don’t go out at night. In the area where I live in Jos, which used to be a mixed area but is now almost entirely Christian, if any person obviously a Muslim comes to see me, all the neighbours come out to see the person and ask me what they are doing there. In the area of the farm, any person who associates with Muslims is considered an enemy who is part of the attacks and is under suspicion. Every time Audu and our delivery team go to the farm early in the morning to load up your orders I just hold my breath and hope that nothing will happen to them before they get onto the road to Abuja. And also hope that nothing will happen to them on the road through some of the villages of the state.
 
Since the crisis began there has been no statement from any government official, either at the Federal or State level, about the situation, despite daily headlines in all of the newspapers, and gruesome reports in the local and international news media. The Governor has been absent all of this time, and the highest official to make any statement has been the Commissioner for Information. The various security agencies are not on good terms with each other. No efforts are being made for any sort of peaceful settlement of the problems, and a military solution can only be very temporary. Even that has not been successful.
 
All of this has finally led us to take a decision to close Zamani Farms in its present location and relocate to another state. At this point, we are in the early stages of finding land in Zaria, where I lived for many years as a lecturer at the university, and where I still have many friends and colleagues. Various individuals are offering us land, and since we are looking only for about 2 hectares, this shouldn’t be a problem. Our problem now is finance. All of the resources we have are invested in the present farm site, which we have developed to an appreciable level over the years, including a lovely brick and stone house where I had intended to live which is about 80% completed, an administrative block and cold room, and many outbuildings. Our total land is over 3.5 hectares. At present, no one is buying any property in Plateau State, and we are unlikely to be able to sell the present farm in the near future. We are looking for finance for the infrastructure we will need on the farm, including a cold container, storage and packing facilities, and funds to erect some net houses. We intend to have a small farm mainly under shade netting, which should moderate the hotter climate in Zaria and make it possible for us to grow our complete range of products. It will also offer protection from insects so that we will be able to grow more products organically than we are now doing. The soil in Zaria is much richer than that of Plateau State, and will support our vegetables admirably. The main problem we will face is a sufficient water supply, and we might have to invest in boreholes.
 
I will not burden you with details now, but we are busy making our plans. Ideally we would like to be able to begin operations in Zaria by early next year, but this depends on how fast we are able to implement our plans. I am appealing to any of our customers who work for any development agencies or governments who are in a position to help fund such a venture to please consider us if at all possible. We have investigated bank financing, but there are many problems with this, as most banks here don’t really appreciate the problems of investment in agriculture. If you are in a position to help us we would very much like to hear from you.
 
Meanwhile, of course we will not abandon our customers. We will continue working at our present site until we are able to start farming in Zaria and we will do our best to continue to provide you with the best vegetables that we can. But we know we can do better in terms of quality and quantity if we are able to concentrate on the farm without all of the distractions and stress of the Jos environment.
 
We had intended to go to Mubi next week to finish our landscaping project there, but due to the insecurity in Jos we feel it is not possible to leave at the moment. So we are delivering (hopefully) next week on Thursday 15th. Please place your orders in time so that we can organize things carefully. We will probably go to Mubi the following week, and are not planning to have any delivery on the 22nd, but this depends on whether there is some relative calm here in Jos.
 
I will not give you a crop report this week, since there is not much new from next week. Please consult the attached order form for details of all items available. We still have nice things for you, but not as much as we would like.
 
By the way, we have beautiful baby new potatoes (small in size and delicious). If you need them, please specify. Otherwise we will send you the regular or big size ones.
 
Thank you so much for all the concern you have expressed for all of us here in Jos. As I noted, this is what has been keeping us going on the farm up to this point, but it is clearly time for a change. We honestly think that this will being our customers a vastly improved choice of vegetables, and better quality as well, in addition to causing our staff a lot less stress and anxiety.
 
I will write again next week. If you have any suggestions for us, please do let us know.
 
Regards,
Norma

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Burma Boy













Barnaby Phillips' documentary on the Burma Boys - Nigerian vets who fought in the Second World War for the Allied Forces.  Well worth a watch, here.

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The Nigeria wikileaks

Lots more Nigeria wikileaks cables now online here.

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Third Annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa


The third annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa will be held at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA from 3-4 December, 2011.

The themes of the conference will include: The Arab Spring: Challenges to Democratization and Nation Building; Darfur: Toward sustainable peace; and Southern Sudan: Obstacles facing the world’s newest nation. On Day two the conference continues with a focus on China and its presence in Africa, Zimbabwe and its tethering democracy and Literature and the power of the written word.

The Achebe Colloquium will bring together officials from African governments, the United Nations, US government, the European Union, members of African civil society, international human rights organizations, elections monitoring groups, writers and opinion leaders, and research and policy institutions to deliberate on the importance of sustaining Africa’s fragile democracies.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vacancy Job Title: Programme Officer

Job Location: Abuja

An International organisation is implementing “Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria (SEDIN)” Programme. This programme is based on a bilateral agreement between the Nigerian and German government. Its main objective is to improve access to demand-driven financial services and to help in creating gainful employment in MSMEs significantly.

The programme seeks to engage a Programme Officer in the field of strengthening cross-border banking regulation and supervision.

Overview of the position
1. Advice and support the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the development of coordination mechanisms with supervisory authorities in other West African countries where subsidiaries of Nigerian banks are operational.
2. Ensure the participation of Nigerian regulatory authorities in regional policy dialogue at the sub-regional level (ECOWAS, West African Monetary Agency - WAMA) and regional level (African Association of Central Banks, African Union, Committee of Ten) should be strengthened.
3. Work closely with the partners so that best practices for cross-border banking regulation and supervision will be the basis for a more consistent and effective collaboration of CBN with respective authorities in jurisdictions where Nigerian banks have subsidiaries.
4. Ensure that the CBN makes use of the outputs to institutionalize the coordination process.
5. Constructively participate in formulating harmonized policies and increase the transparency (facts and figures) of the Nigerian financial sector to the outside world.
6. Ensure coordination and transparency of the regional regulatory and supervisory process to enhance improved sustainable growth of the regional financial sector.

Requirements
1. A bachelor's degree in Economics, Banking & Finance or any related field of study. A Masters Degree will be an added advantage
2. Minimum of seven years experience in the financial sector, with specific preference to experience at the policy level.
3. A broad understanding of Nigerian financial regulatory and supervisory policies and the West African monetary policies.
4. Good understanding of the issues affecting access to financial services by the MSMEs, in particular related to cross-border trade and investment.
5. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Application and CV’s with the job title clearly indicated as the subject of the mail
should be sent to; hr@rhizomeng.com. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, September 2nd, 2011

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Upcoming event at CCA Lagos

Click to enlarge.

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At Terminal 5, 23rd July


Terminal 5 is the prototype for life on a hostile planet.  For all the glass, there appears to be no outside.  It could be bolted down on Mars, and no one there would really mind.  This time round, I noticed that someone had thought of art.  The trouble is, the thought was a Terminal 5/BAA bean-counter version, which involves squeezing random pieces into a relatively tiny room next to a luggage shop.  Art is justified on the space station, but only just.

I had ninety minutes to kill before my flight to Berlin Tegel.  I flashed my ticket’s Silver Card status to the bored man at the entrance to the business lounge and went in search of breakfast.  Instead of baked beans, mushrooms and hash browns, they had hills of croissants.  I collected some papers to go with my toast and made for the seating area.  On the tv screens, a bewildered looking man was being interviewed by a nest of film crews.  He spoke in Norwegian. His voice was soft and serious, his face white with shock.

Later, at the gate, I sat in an early morning stupour, my eyes glancing the vending machines, the colour of the walls, the Martian exterior.  And then the passengers; a sea of faces with Berlin things to do.  One of those moments between things and without any significance that will quickly be forgotten.

And then, music from the side.  A violin playing traditional music, punctuated by the clap of hands.  My brain seized on the sounds to decode its provenance.  It was slower than Irish and more meandering.  It reminded me of the Norwegian music on cassette tapes that Z had.  The chorus looped back into verse with ongoing insistence.  But was this from a PA system and why would the Dead Sea of Planet Heathrow allow such?  The music was far too alive and rejoicing of rhythm. 

I caught a sense of movement in frosted glass.  Perhaps 20 bodies in a shifting clump.  Straining my neck, I saw them: perhaps twenty middle to late-middle aged people dancing in formation.  I instantly remembered the lessons in English country dancing at school ahead of the Golden Jubilee in 1977.  To the side, a lone violinist, his face bent into the instrument, absorbed in his task.  The movements of the group were purposeful: bodies turning to the side to pass through the ranks and reform.  Symbolically: a society whose hierarchies are never meant to settle.

Only hours later on the plane did it occur to me that this may have been a response to the terrible tragedy unfolding in Norway.  A shocked people, responding to the unhinged conditions of the present in the terms of the past.  They were going home.  They were about to face the tragic music.  The only way they knew how was to immerse themselves in it.  All of a sudden, Terminal 5 acquired meaning and human significance.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

The first Bottle House in Nigeria

The first bottle house is under construction near Kaduna.  Bottle-bricks made by local children are then assembled in to buildings by masons who are being trained in the bottle-build technique. The houses will be energy autonomous and almost totally recycled and could stand for 1000s of years!
The Emir of Zaria came to the site to lend his support.  The next project is a bottle school in Suleja.  Thanks to Katrin Macmillan for the pictures!





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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke by the British Museum

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Gozi Ochonogor show this Saturday, Notting Hill

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Financial Journalist opening, Nigeria

A team is looking to revamp the finance section of an established media organ in Nigeria, and they are looking for a senior financial journalist for a semi-editorial role.


The main professional requirements are - familiarity with and ability to write well about financial-sector issues, understanding of the Nigerian financial sector and how it fits into the global and emerging-markets picture, experience and ability in print journalism, and familiarity with expectations of global investor readership.


It's likely to be a Lagos-based opportunity, and the team are happy to consider expatriate as well as national candidates. The package has not yet been finalised but will be globally competitive. If you are interested, or know of anyone else who is, please put them in touch with me at this email address, and I will put them in touch.


Thanks and take care,


Olly Owen

owen.olly@googlemail.com

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sir George Taubman Goldies' tomb in Brompton Cemetery

His wife Maud is also buried there. As I took the picture, I wondered whether Flora Shaw (later to marry Lord Lugard) really was his mistress.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Video and film production training courses in Warri

Dear Nigerian Friends,

I hope you are all well. Could you please help me to distribute the advertisement below?

I am running some video and film production training courses over the next couple of months and we are looking for participants.

PLEASE NOTE - participants must be from the Niger Delta Region ( Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.) The courses will be run in Warri.

There are two one week courses directed at two groups. The first are youth (18-35) who have a flair/interest in video production and the second is geared towards professionals already working in the field.

The places are limited and the application process is competitive (see advertisement for details).

The youth course will also serve as a potential trial for some of them to be hired on a full time basis, where they will receive further training and complete video productions for PIND and its partners in the Niger Delta region. The positions will be based in Warri, Delta State.

Anyway that's the plan. Please send me your best and your brightest. We are looking for people who can specialise in any of these areas editing, filming, producing, directing and sound recording.

For more information on PIND please visit pindfoundation.org

Thanks, hope to see you all sometime soon.

Jolyon Hoff

jolyonhoff@gmail.com


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Lagos Soundscape

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oloibiri


Oloibiri, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

Where oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in Nigeria - 55 years ago. In a way, this place marked the beginning of modern Nigeria...

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Carlos Moore book launch in Brasil

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Nigeria the petrostate



Excellent lecture by Michael Watts at Berkeley recently.

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Voodoo and Vaccines in Benin

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Afropolitan event in London coming up

Here for more.

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The Fake Prophet


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The travelling tailor

Interesting short piece giving insights into the world of a garment-fixed in Lagos, here.

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Monday, June 06, 2011

A trip from Lagos to Ijoko by train




Date: 18 June 2011
Departure Time: 9.00am

The above planned Trip has come together through the continuing and kind support of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, who have very generously made available a suitable train comprising of a diesel engine and three passenger coaches for our exclusive use. The details of the Trip are as below. 

This Trip is open to non-Legacy members who will be required to pay the appropriate membership fee for 2011, as below. The Trip is child friendly, but please note that due to the size of the train, total numbers expected is around 200. 

1. Departure will be from Ebute-Metta Junction (EMJct) Station at 9am ( directions to EMJct below). Return to EMJct  is expected around 1.00pm.
2. Destination planned is Ijoko, about 40 km away, where some limited activities are currently being arranged, including an audience with the Oba.
3. Cost for Legacy members will be: Adults @ N3,500 each, Children @ N1,500 each and Students @ N1,000. 
4. Legacy membership fees for 2011 are: Individual Adults @ N1,500, Families @ N3,000 and individual Students @N1000. 
5. Participants should bring their OWN LUNCH, etc. however we hope to have light refreshments and drinks. There will be a cash bar for beers only.
6. Reasonably secure parking will be available at the forecourt in front of EMJct station off Murtala Muhammed Way, between Ebute-Metta and Yaba Makoko.
This promises to be, if the weather is kind and everything falls into place on the day, an interesting and enjoyable Trip.

Directions
1. From Third Mainland Bridge take spur road to Ebute-Metta,
2. Turn right along Herbert Macaulay Road,  
3. Continue north along Herbert Macaulay Road past the Cinema with a big 'Visafone free' sign and then 
4. take either: next opening on the left at 'Sweet Sensations' (2nd opening on left from 3rd Mainland bridge spur) down Hughes, then cross over Murtala Muhammed Way and into Ebute-Metta Junction Station, or the following opening on the left at Union Bank/white horse sign (3rd opening on left from 3rd Mainland bridge spur) down Commercial Road past the e-Centre/Domino then turn left on to Murtala Muhammed Way.
5. Ebute-Metta Junction Station forecourt is just off Murtala Muhammed Way opposite Hughes. Murtala Muhammed Way is very busy so take care entering or crossing. 
6. The Station building is a long two-storey affair with a large green-lettered sign above the entrance with 'Nigerian Railway Corporation' in big letters at the top and 'Ebute Metta Junction' below. Park and go through the main station entrance and the train should be at the platform.


For more info, email Ada Nwanguma: legacynigeria1995@yahoo.co.uk

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

On the Health Bill

Editorial from The Lancet:


Celebrations are afoot in Abuja. On May 19, the two Houses of the Nigerian National Assembly finally passed the National Health Bill into law, after 7 years of inaction and procrastination. The controversial bill, which promises to provide all Nigerians with a basic minimum package of health services, was originally proposed in 2004 and passed in May, 2009, before being withdrawn for bureaucratic reasons. It has effectively lain untouched since. The Nigerian Medical Association estimates that 7 million children and 385 000 mothers have died in the interim.

As the most populous country in Africa (one in four Africans live in Nigeria), providing universal health care is no easy task. But even allowing for the difficulties posed by providing health care to a large population, the country still underperforms. Life expectancy at birth averages just 54 years for both sexes. Maternal mortality is 608 per 100 000 livebirths, and the mortality rate for children younger than 5 years is more than double the global average at 157 per 1000 livebirths. Nigeria is the only country in the African continent to have never eradicated poliomyelitis, and only 3% of HIV-positive mothers receive antiretrovirals. Just 6% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on health and there are enormous inequalities in its allocation between the rich and poor areas of the country.

The bill provides a framework for the regulation and provision of national health services, defines the rights of health workers and users, and stipulates guidelines for the formulation of a national health policy. Its promises will not change everything for Nigerians, but the bill does allow them to finally hold the government to account for their right to health, including equitable access to care. Never before has there been such momentum towards making a real commitment to improving health in this country.

The bill pledges to develop a national health policy that includes 60 billion naira (about US$380 million) devoted to primary health care each year, commitments to the provision of essential drugs, and comprehensive vaccination programmes for pregnant women and children younger than 5 years of age. It rightly devotes a whole section to strategies to reduce the crippling effect of the brain drain on health care; there are as many Nigerian doctors working in the USA as there are in the public health-care sector of Nigeria. The bill thus commits to providing adequate resources for ongoing education and training of doctors, including a continuing professional development programme. The health bill stipulates the need for measures of accountability, which are central to the bill's success. The country's performance and the state of citizens' health need to be assessed by an independent authority, and the government must be accountable for delivering on their promises.

On May 29, many Nigerians celebrated again as Dr Goodluck Jonathan was inaugurated as President for the next 4 years. The zoologist succeeded President Umaru Yar'Adua after his death last year, and in April, 2011, Jonathan was re-elected in what is widely considered the most transparent and legitimate election Nigeria has ever held. This is an exciting time for the country: it has a leader with a clear mandate, its economy is flourishing (it is predicted to have the highest average GDP growth of any country over the next 40 years), and efforts are being made to reduce its sporadic civic and religious tensions and endemic corruption.

However, until now, health has been lamentably absent from Jonathan's declared priorities. Although progress has been made in poliomyelitis eradication and health-systems strengthening since he came to power in May, 2010, these are only two of hundreds of indicators in dire need of improvement. Many societal groups grew concerned over his neglect of a health agenda. On May 18, thousands of women protested about the delay in the passage of the health bill outside the National Assembly. Their efforts were rewarded with the passing of the bill the very next day. At the time of going to press, all that remains outstanding is presidential assent to make the National Health Bill a federal law.

This auspicious turn of events gives cause for hope. Perhaps President Jonathan is more devoted to rectifying the appalling state of health in Nigeria than has been apparent thus far. If he really is committed to providing equitable and affordable universal health care for all of his people, he should sign the National Health Bill immediately. There is no better way to say thank you for electing him.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Contemporary Pan Africanism

I like the look of this conference coming up this Saturday.  Contemporary Pan Africanism is the next big thing, I reckon.

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Job opportunity (click to enlarge/read)

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Father Kukah at the Royal Africa Society

Next Friday at SOAS.  Don't miss it - Matthew Kukah's account of his time on the Oputa panel.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Victor Ehikhamenor at CCA


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Friday, April 29, 2011

On Black Sisters Street in Amrika

'“On Black Sisters Street” marks the arrival of a latter-day Thackeray, an Afro-Belgian writer who probes with passion, grace and comic verve the underbelly of our globalized new world economy.'  Great review of Chika Unigwe's book in the New York Times.  Here.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who will be a voice for the youth corps members?  #ProtectTheCorpers

Forwarded message from The Future Project:


Yes, we are angry now but 1) How much longer will that anger last before we all go back to our merry lives and forget all about this? 2) How will anger actually lead to any solutions unless we do something? 

The government has promised compensation for the families of those like Ukeoma AikFavour and Obinna Okpokiri who lost their lives, but this is not enough. Their deaths should not be in vain – it should lead a fundamental change in the way that the youth corps scheme is implemented. 


The Future Project (which runs The Future Awards), in partnership with the National Youth Council, AIESEC, SleevesUp Nigeria and Friends of Aik and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, has decided to take up this cause. 

We are aware that many initiatives have been undertaken in the past – but we believe it is time to move from anger and protest and to make this a broad-based national campaign. It is also a fine opportunity for us to put our hard won democracy to work – to move from protest and activism to advocacy and productive democratic lobby. 


SO, over the next nine-months, we are implementing a solution-oriented approach that involves 1) Engaging government on a policy level to restructure and reform the NYSC in order to protect corps members in the interim and then to completely overhaul the scheme in the long term so that it is actually useful to the nation. 2) Supporting this Policy Engagement with a wide-ranging public and media campaign to ensure pressure is sustained on the government. 


Starting from tomorrow therefore, we are activating a #ProtectTheCorpers campaign that will involve both online and offline strategies to engage the authorities, the media and young people.
The strategy is simple – 


1)      We are gathering 100, 000 signatures for a petition that is going to the Presidency with a 7-point demand (see demand below) to restructure the scheme and protect the corps members.

2)      Request an urgent meeting with the Minister of Youth and the Director-General of the NYSC to implement immediate action points.

3)      Begin an aggressive lobby at the legislature, especially the Senate and House Committees on Youth, towards include the deletion of the programme from the section of the Constitution and placing it as an Act of Parliament with a revamped structure, as recommended by the Senate Spokesperson, Ike Ekweremadu.



WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1)      Read the demands below and sign the petition on www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers  – and get at least 20 of your friends, family and associates to sign the petition.

2)      If you have any direct influence with any legislator who can help with introducing and facilitating this bill, please get in contact with us at info@thefuturenigeria.com

3)      Use the #ProtectTheCorpers Hashtag on your Twitter and Facebook Accounts Daily, Use the Avatar/Display Picture on Your Facebook/Twitter/BBM Accounts and Send this Message To All Your Contacts.

4)      Support this initiative with resources or donation to sustain the publicity and lobbying drive over the next 9 months (our working time-frame.)

5)      Join the ProtectTheCorpers group on Facebook as well as the ProtectTheCorpers group on Yahoo.

6)      Send us an e-mail on info@thefuturenigeria.com or call us on with any suggestions or how you can or want to help.

7)      Visit www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers for more information.


7-POINT DEMAND TO #PROTECTTHECORPERS
1.      Hotspots - Identify violence-prone “hot-spots” states and/or districts and ensure that corps member posting to these areas is voluntary. This voluntary posting must also come with an institutionalised incentive.

2.      Emergency Fund – Institute an NYSC Contingency Fundthat  is easily accessible in pre-crisis situations. This Fund should be easily accessible at crisis periods.

3.      Decentralisation – The command structure of the NYSC should be devolved in terms of accommodation, welfare, wages and security to avoid red tape during times of crisis. State governments should be primarily responsible for welfare as well as security – including evacuation – at moments of crisis.

4.      Compensation - Corps Members posted out of their states of residence should be beneficiaries of a comprehensive life insurance policy as a compensation structure in time of unavoidable loss.

5.      Data Management – Digitise the database of corps member with location, contact information and total number per state. This is to ensure easy pre and post-crisis accessibility and tracking. 

6.      Representation – Institutionalise an alternate platform for corps members to interact with administration on welfare and security. This structure will interface directly with the corps commandants and state level and the Director-General at federal level.

7.      Full-scale Reform – Constitute a National Youth Service Corps Reform Committee that will recommend full scale structural and policy reforms for the scheme and make binding recommendations to the Federal Government to be implemented into a National Youth Service Act.


Let’s ensure that we put our government under pressure immediately after the elections. This is a good place to start making our democracy work! Those ‘corpers’ cannot die in vain.
 
Yours-for-change
The Future Project, Nigeria.
www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stephen Hendel: ITT

Stephen Hendel is a New-York based oil trader.  He is also the main promoter/producer behind the Broadway-version of the Fela Musical currently showing in Lagos.  He is being sued by Carlos Moore, author of the authorised biography of Fela, Fela: This Bitch of a Life, published in Nigeria by Cassava Republic.  

For more background on the case, read here.  

With all his oil money and corporate leverage, its hard to imagine he is going to be able to successfully defend his claim that the musical was a work of independent inspiration.  You can fool some people some times, but you can't fool all the people all the time.  At some point in the near future, Jay-Z, Jada Pinkett Smith and Bill T. Jones may have to eat humble pie and realise that they tried to write another black man out of history, and failed.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

North and South



















The graphic of the results of the Presidential elections on Saturday on Nigeriaelections.org provokes much thought.  In a way, it reminds immediately one of the two Nigerias of colonial times - the north ruled on the QT via the convenience of the native authorities, the south heavily focused on Lagos as the commercial hub, with a completely different kind of colonial officer in each place.   In the north, enthusiastic slightly waify Oxbridge-types, keen to learn hausa and wander around their domain on horseback.  In the south, altogether more mercantile brutal deal-cutting types.

At least in the early to mid twentieth century, there was a balanced fiscal framework for Nigeria, with taxes from groundnuts, cocoa and palm oil going directly to the North, South-West and South-East respectively.  The heavy reliance on oil revenues and the resulting resource curse since the 1970s has eroded all other sectors of the economy.    The heavy CPC vote can be explained in many different ways - as a vote against abandoning zoning and a vote for a northern leader. On another level however, its a cry of pain from millions of wasted lives.  The North desperately needs a viable development solution. It probably also needs fresh blood and fresh leadership.  Where will the northern version of Fashola come from and when?

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Recorded in Kaduna today

Kaduna Youths by ifejika

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Determined to vote, Mararaba

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Sheltering from the rain, Mararaba.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

A celebrant, Mpape


A celebrant, Mpape, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

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Watching the count, Mpape


Watching the count, Mpape, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

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Watching the counting, Mpape

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A young citizen, Kubwa


A young citizen, Kubwa, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

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Diasporic observers, Kubwa


Diasporic observers, Kubwa, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

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Deciding who to vote for, Kubwa

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Waiting to vote, Karo


Waiting to vote, Karo, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

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Election technology, at Mararaba yesterday


Election technology, originally uploaded by Jeremy Weate.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sexual slavery in Edo State

This woman is almost certainly Nigerian, and just as certainly, she is likely to be from Edo State.  She was photographed having sex just off the Ramblas in Barcelona.  To most tourists who visit, the Ramblas is perhaps the most beautiful shopping street in Europe.  To her, it is degrading servitude.  As we know from the Channel 4 documentary Unreported World (see the previous post), she was probably forced to take a juju oath, which ensures she spends years and years as a prostitute in Europe paying off 50,000 Euros or more, in utter fear of the consequences of running away.

It seems there is a conspiracy of silence around this contemporary form of slavery in Edo State.  Its not hard to imagine why: the remittances keep flowing in, with 40,000 or more Bini prostitutes in Mali and perhaps the same number (or a lot more) again in Europe.  We know this is going on.  We know it is causing enormous suffering.  A lot of the girls imagine that they will only have to be prostitutes for a few months, and persuade themselves that they will find other work as a hairdresser etc.  It is only when they arrive in Europe and their Madam tells them the terms of the job that they realise their life is effectively over. 

Its long since time that a full-on campaign to challenge sex trafficking in Edo State began with civil society groups joining forces with the Edo State government and NAPTIP.  Their may need to be punitive state-specific legislation passed. 

We are all allowing this to happen, by looking the other way and dismissing Benin women as promiscuous and enthusiastic to do the work anyway.  We were in denial in Germany, 70 years ago, just as we are in denial today.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Unreported World

Desperately sad to watch. You must watch it.  Here.

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Homage to Ulli Beier

"I do not need much convincing from this detribalised, white Yoruba man in Germany wearing a traditional tie-and-dye shirt. The proof is in his life spread out before me like an Ifa divination chain. Through honest, pagan vigour he founds the Mbari-Mbayo Literary and Arts Movements, without which there will be little of modern Nigerian culture to speak of. It is an occasion for rejoicing because Ulli Beier is not dead but has merely joined his pagan Yoruba ancestors..."

By Amatoritsero Ede here.

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Star Bottle, by Polly Eaton


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