Writings of the general word's body

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bola Ige remembered, 10 years on

Last night at the Muson Centre, Lagos - children and grandchildren of the late Bola Ige - slain Attorney General and Minister of Justice who justice has so far eluded - on stage with the cast of Odia Ofeimun's dance-drama 'Nigeria the Beautiful' after a performance to mark the 10th anniversary of Ige's death. With them onstage are some of Ige's loyalists: Segun Osoba, Chief Bisi Akande and Prof Adebayo Williams.

Bola Ige was killed on December 23, 2001 in Ibadan, the city from which he once ruled as Governor of the old, larger Oyo State.

Activities marking the 10th anniversary continue till December 23, as follows.

- Lecture today December 21 at 11am at Premier Hotel, Ibadan, to be delivered by Rauf Aregbesola, current governor of Osun State. Title: 'Political Violence and Assassination: Implications for the Future of Democracy in Nigeria'.

- Performance today December 21 at 7pm at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan - Bola Ige's play, 'Kaduna Boy'.

Thursday December 22

- Candle light procession at Ibadan, Osogbo and Esa-Oke.

- An evening of Poetry, Dance, Drama, Music & Documentary at the Ige Compound in his hometown, Esa-Oke, Osun State. 8.30pm.

Friday December 23

- Rememberance Church Service at St. Pauls, Esa-Oke.

- Reception & Party featuring Bola Ige's favourite musician, Lagbaja.

Writers choose their books of 2011

Igoni Barrett's compilation of writers' books of the year, published in the Lagos Guardian, here. And here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Life House Fundraiser & Benefit

This is Ugoma Adegoke of The Life House culture hub in Lagos, photographed while engrossed in Lola Shoneyin's reading last Saturday. She's also one of the few thoroughly modern women with whom I share an everyday iro-and-buba aesthetic.

Run by Ugoma with her husband Dayo, The Life House has provided sanctuary for many a culture vulture since its inception. The place is just lovely, and everything arty happens there, complete with delightful munchies and atmosphere. But like all great art initiatives, The Life House needs support, and is holding a fundraiser tonight. See the below, from Ugoma Adegoke.

Please accept this as a formal invitation to our fundraiser event taking place on Monday 19 December 2011 from 6pm.

We ask for your support and that of the wider c
ommunity as we have embarked on an enthusiastic fundraising effort which we are hopeful will succeed to enable us to sustain and improve our expansive programming —including quality theatre, dance, music, and film presentations, along with outstanding community and our planned education initiatives.

The Life House is a much-needed social enterprise and community concept and we need your support to enable us continuously deliver a unique programme of original contemporary visual art, independent film, performing arts, wellness, lifestyle, education and engagement activities, which has been enjoyed by more than 3,000 people in the last 22 months.

We shall be hosting a Benefit on Monday 19th December 2011 with a view to raising monies, support and further goodwill from the community at large and ask once aga
in for your usual and unwavering support to make this a success and join us in further developing a one-of-a-kind, culture, multi-arts, wellness and lifestyle centre in Nigeria.

Attached is an invitation (designed for free in support by Zahara Creations).

Please attend; keep us in your thoughts and do
invite your friends and other lovers of culture.

We look forward to welcoming you with your
usual open hearts and open minds!

Yours Truly,

Ugoma Adegoke


The Life House

Lola Shoneyin returns to The Life House

After the Unoma Azuah book launch on Saturday, it was a mad dash across Lagos to The Life House on Victoria Island for a set of readings by Lola Shoneyin. One session could be no more different from the one that followed, as the author engaged young ones first with her children's book, 'Mayowa and the Masquerades'. There were lots of whoops, dances and all sorts that kept the children interested as they interacted with the author. The real Mayowa, the author's firstborn after whom the protagonist is named, was also on hand to pull appropriate faces from the audience. It was a family affair as all her children were present and participated.

Then the session was over and the youngsters packed off home. Then commenced a more adult reading from Shoneyin's novel 'The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives'. A reading that gave new meaning to the word 'intimate' - as she read to a small audience from Iya Segi's same-sex desire scene and Baba Segi's masturbation one. The reading lead to an unusually frank discussion about sex, sexuality, Nigeria's Same Sex Bill ("14 years," someone in audience said jokingly at this point, referring to the jail sentence attached to the law), men, women and octogenarians wanting divorce. You don't even want to know. If some of the men could blush, they would have.

In the audience: Olajide Bello, scholar Doyin Teriba, Toyin Akinosho, Wana Udobang and Shoneyin's husband, Olaokun Soyinka. It was exactly a year since Lola Shoneyin's last Life House reading.

From the launch of 'Edible Bones'

Writer Unoma Azuah launched her second novel, 'Edible Bones' at the National Library, Yaba, Lagos on Saturday Decemer 17. The author of 'Sky High Flames' a novel, 'The Length of Light', a short story collection and earlier poetry collection 'Night Songs' - is over from the US for the publication of her latest book, published by Ogochukwu Promise's Oracle Books. In attendance were Azuah's fellow female writers Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Ronnie Uzoikwe and Onyinye Ihezukwu. It was my first proper meeting with Ihezukwu, who is fresh from last month's Femrite workshop in Uganda. She is shown below, having her copy of 'Edible Bones' autographed by the author.

Compering the event was Ropo Ewenla, Secretary of PEN Nigeria. The body's president, poet Tade Ipadeola, was the reviewer but he was stuck someplace and couldn't come, so the review was read on his behalf by Sylva Nze Ifedigbo. Music was provided by Edaoto and Awoko. When the launch finally started (potential audience probably halved by another event going on at Debonair also in Yaba), the publisher lamented the poor turnout. "We are celebrating a writer who lives abroad, who has done a lot to promote literature," Promise said. One of the goals of Oracle Books, she informed, is to get people "to read not just for utilitarian purpose but also for pleasure... Good books are a complement to good living."

'Edible Bones' which I'm yet to read, is about the travails of a Nigerian immigrant in the US, Kaito, who has gone there in search of a better life that may not be all for the better. Chair of the occasion was Mallam Abdullahi Yerwa who was absent but nonetheless had his address read on his behalf - a sort of review-before-the-review, complete with spoilers. He also said at some point, "Most bloggers, as far as I'm concerned, should be flogged" - I don't remember exactly what for. His address led Ewenla to declare that Azuah's novel "will generate a robust discussion (about the issue of Nigerian's flocking to foreign lands)."

The Chief Launcher, Yemi Adebiyi shared his own experience of America. "I was in America for 17 months. I graduated on May 8, I ran back to Nigeria on May 12." Why? "Because I saw so much suffering among Nigerians there and I didn't want to be part of it." Adebiyi said the problem with Nigerians is that "we don't read." He recalled a KLM flight to Amsterdam on which about 15 Nigerians fiddling with calculators, while the Europeans on board nourished their minds by reading magazines and books. He also called for book launches to hold on days other than Saturdays, because there's too much going on the city and books cannot compete favourably with wedding parties.

An old school mate of Azuah's who was seeing her on Saturday for the first time in 24 years, spoke movingly of their secondary school days, clearly proud of what the author has made of herself. A lawyer, the old friend recalled that, "Unoma's uniform was the only one with two pockets" stuffed with poems. Also in attendance was Sister Ify, the Administrator of Holy Child College. You see, the friend went to HCC to enrol her daughter, looked in the school bulletin and saw to her astonishment, a piece about the author Unoma Azuah - her schoolfriend from 24 years before.

Photos: M.Wood.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

'World Of Our Own'

There's a new short story anthology out by FEMRITE the Uganda Women Writers' Association. Hilda Twongyeirwe, coordinator of Femrite, is the editor of the new book, titled 'World Of Our Own' afte:r one of the stories therein.

The editor's intro to the anthology begins: "FEMRITE presents herein African Women's voices, resulting from the second African Regional Women Writers' Residency held in January 2011 in Jinja, one of Uganda's most popular tourist attraction towns. The residency was attended by writers from six country; Mamle Kabu: Ghana, Ketina Muringaniza: Zimbabwe, Wame Molefhe: Botswana, Maliya Mzyece Sililo: Zambia, Elieshi Lema: Tanzania, and from Uganda: Beatrice Lamwaka, Lilian Tindyebwa, Constance Obonyo, Elizabeth Namakula Lenana and Linda Lilian. In addition to the residency stories, the anthology includes submissions from other African women writers."

And that's how come my short story, 'Leaving Oxford Street' makes it into the anthology, as I wasn't actually at the residency. Philo Ikonya is another non-participant whose work is featured. I now have my contributor's copies and I'm very pleased with the published piece. Here's a review of the anthology; and Mamle Kabu's story is singled out for praise here.

"One of the aims of the annual regional residency is to get women writers on the continent to come together, compare experiences, share solutions and encourage one another to sustain longer writing projects," according to the editor. Femrite has just completed its 3rd residency, held last month, and another anthology will be coming out of that sometime soon.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Unoma Azuah launches 'Edible Bones' today

Yaba is staking its claim as another hub of literary activity in Lagos, on the Mainland as opposed to the island arts-monopoly to boot. There's the monthly Book N Gauge for a start. There are 2 events in Yaba this after and here's the one I will be attending. One has to attend of course, it's Unoma Azuah's launch event for her second novel, 'Edible Bones'. The launch is many months in the planning and I can't wait to lay my hands on a copy of the book.

Here's an interview of I did with Unoma Azuah, published last year - Writing as a way of relating to others.

Today's reading/launch starts at 2pm.

Venue: National Library, Yaba, Lagos.

Chistopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Above, the Christopher Hitchens memorial page by Vanity Fair, which announced his death from oesophegeal cancer yesterday. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was quoted by the BBC as saying, "Christopher Hitchens was everything a great essayist should be: infuriating, brilliant, highly provocative and yet intensely serious."

My longish tweet, posted yesterday

Yes, Christopher Hitchens could be infuriating. I was a major Dianaphile. Yet, no more than about a year after her death, Hitchens had a programme on British television that ran against the mood of the time.

Unlike Camille Paglia's reverential, icon-making 'Diana Unclothed' aired before the death of the Princess of Wales - Hitchens tore Diana to shreds. He didn't stop there; he poo-pooed the outpouring of grief of the British public over the late princess as one of the embarrassments of the age, a new low in the culture.

Here I was watching this while still wearing my cloak of mourning for Diana. I couldn't believe it. I saw Hitchens' programme as one of the first strikes in the Diana Demystification project that held sway in British society in the years to follow, a not entirely unsuccessful one.

We were subjected to the revisionism that would have Diana's adoring millions believe that their affection for her was grossly misplaced. Dianaphiles became muted voices, the way was paved for the grudging acceptance, or indifference to Camilla Parker-Bowles. Diana had gone to her tragic grave. The world moved on.

But watching Christopher Hitchens marshall his argument all those years ago, I was astonished at the gall of the man. He even had the Bee Gees' song 'I Started A Joke' play in one segment. Diana started the world laughing, then crying; oh if only she knew that the joke was on her - was the point. What about respect for the dead? I kept wanting to ask.

Oh but the brilliance with which he argued his case. I hated Christopher Hitchens' argument, but I loved the way he argued it; and watched, riveted, to the end.

It's impossible to get round to reading all the worthy material that's been published on Hitchens in the last 24 hours alone. Of the few that I've read, I loved Ian McEwan's the most.

Christopher Hitchens: 'the consummate writer, the brilliant friend'

The next morning, at Christopher's request, Alexander and I set up a desk for him under a window. We helped him and his pole with its feed-lines across the room, arranged pillows on his chair, adjusted the height of his laptop. Talking and dozing were all very well, but Christopher had only a few days to produce 3,000 words on Ian Ker's biography of Chesterton. Whenever people talk of Christopher's journalism, I will always think of this moment.

Consider the mix. Chronic pain, weak as a kitten, morphine dragging him down, then the tangle of Reformation theology and politics, Chesterton's romantic, imagined England suffused with the kind of Catholicism that mediated his brush with fascism, and his taste for paradox, which Christopher wanted to debunk. At intervals, his head would droop, his eyes close, then with superhuman effort he would drag himself awake to type another line. His long memory served him well, for he didn't have the usual books on hand for this kind of thing. When it's available, read the review.

I shall.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2nd AWW Symposium continues

The 2nd African Women Writers' Symposium continues today and tomorrow. Programme for the 2 days, below.

The Second African Women Writers’ Symposium 2011

9am -5pm

Venue: Windybrow Theatre , Cnr Nugget and Pietersen Street, Hillbrow, Joburg

DAY 2: Saturday 19th November 2011

9 – 10.30am

OPENING PANEL: Women writing and the women’s movement: “Speaking out, Sisterhood, solidarity and the worldliness of words”

Chair: Pumla Gqola

Panellists: Kadija George, Ekbal Baraka, Lola Shoneyin, Shaida Kazie Ali

11.00 – 12.30 pm

PANEL: From Africa with love: rewriting narratives of nation

Chair: Lizzy Attree

Panellists: Farah Abusheshwa, Abena Koomson, Leloba Molema, Doreen Baingana, Ellen Ndeshi Namhila

12.30 to 13.30 Lunch

13.30 to 15.00 pm

PANEL: Africa dreaming: the power of the poetic voice

Chair: Diane Ferrus

Panellists: Michelle McGrane, Samira Negrouche, Myesha Jenkins, Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunva,

15.00 to 16.00 pm

PANEL: Reading between the lines: new ways of reading, writing and networking

Chair: Maureen Isaacson

Panellists: Karabo Kgoleng, Molara Wood, Desiree Lewis, Monica Seeber, Farah Abusheshwa.

16.00 to 17.30 pm

Readings and performances

DAY 3: 10am – 2pm
Venue: Wits University, New Science Building , West Campus, (Yale Rd Entrance)

Sunday 20th November 2011
10am to 12.00.

PANEL: Writing Freedom: Reclaiming the future

Chair and Master of Ceremonies: Gcina Mhlophe

Panellists: Nawal El Saadawi, Margie Orford, Tsitsi Dangaremba, , Ingrid Winterbach, Angela Makholwa

12 noon to 13.00pm

Closing and Tributes to Nadine Gordimer on the occasion of her 88th birthday

Readings and Performances

Free Entrance / Refreshments will be served.
All welcome but R.S.V.P to: bookings@awwn.co.za
Or zodwa@windybrowarts.co.za
Enquiries: 011 720-7009 / More info: www.awwn.co.za
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/africanwomenwritersnetwork

Friday, November 18, 2011

2nd African Women Writers' Forum

The 2nd African Women Writers' Symposium kicked off today in Johannesburg. The theme of the symposium is 'Dream, Speak, Read, Reclaim - Being African in the World'.

South Africa's
Mail & Guardian newspaper marked the 3-day event with an 8-page special supplement on the symposium. At the opening event today, M&G's Arts Editor said the newspaper sees as part of its role "some sort of participation in the literary life of the country."

Perhaps the best introduction to the symposium in convener Lisa Combrinck's introduction and overview, reproduced below and also published in the M&G as 'African in Heart and Soul'.


Forty writers in 3 days gather in in one city, Johannesburg, in honour of
Nadine Gordimer as she celebrates her 88th birthday and to interrogate what it means to be African in the world.

Of these writers, the vast majority are women who have also come to Johannesburg at the invitation of the Department of Arts and Culture to participate in the Second African Women Writers’ Symposium. The first one held in August last year brought women writers together under the theme of “Women’s Words: African worlds: Renewing a dialogue between African women writers and women of African descent. The first symposium brought African women’s writing to a South African audience and provided a platform in which African women writers could highlight the challenges faced by women on the continent and form a network of African women writers.

This year the event is more ambitious as writers gather under the theme: “Dream, speak, read, reclaim: being African in the world”. This year sees a more concerted focus on North African women’s writing. Most well-known of these is the Egyptian author and medical doctor, Nawal El Saadawi whose writing has as its central theme the oppression of women and women’s assertion of their freedom. A medical doctor by profession, Nawal El Saadawi, was imprisoned for her beliefs. She was placed on a death list; and she describes this time of her life in “Walking through Fire”, in the most factual yet chilling manner: “Almost every day the bodyguard would ring the bell and tell us that they had caught a stranger trying to come up to my flat. Every time the door-bell rang, I imagined the assassin standing outside. I could not write with the fear of death hanging over my head. I tried to chase it away but it kept coming back…. It used to spread its wings over my head as I sat writing. I would stop in the middle of a line or a word, the pen arrested in its movement.”

Nawal El Saadawi is also joined by a fellow writer from Egypt, Ekbal Baraka, who is President of Egypt PEN and the author of numerous books that show the plight of women and their attempts to address these women’s movements. From Algeria hails another medical doctor, Samira Negrouche, whose work is profound and poetic and gives life to the landscape of the north of Africa. She writes of the African desert where “furrows forge their shapes,” and “caravans can’t make their way down into the black earth.” The desert, she says “needs freedom”. Elsewhere she takes on the persona of a slave: “I am in the south of life with my slave’s memory reddened by the imbibed blood of our fears, there is no nation that claims me. Night will come to take me at the hour of these shores, lit by futile passions.” They are also joined by the writer and film producer, Farah Abusheshwa, who is of both Irish and Lybian descent, and whose innovative efforts in Britain have produced partnerships between producers, script writers and agencies. She is also proud to be among those raising their voices for the rights of Lybian women under the transitional government.

From the west hails Lola Shoneyin, a Nigerian poet and novelist, whose latest offering, ‘The Secrets of Baba Segi’s Wives’, takes a look a polygamy and how this affects women. Molara Wood, a story writer, also hails from Nigeria and she has also devoted herself to writing a blog that has gained widespread popularity in her motherland. From East Africa comes the inimitable Doreen Baingana whose rise to fame came as the result of the publication of her book, Tropical Fish. Through this book, Baingana brought to fiction writing a world of childhood with which others could identify and see their lives through her words. Her fellow Ugandan, is the poet, Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunva, based in Kampala, whose poetry is vivid and playful and who has founded an annual poetry award for Ugandan

From the African Diaspora comes Kadija George, who is based in the United Kingdom but is a Sierra Leonean, who is a poet and short story writer and an editor of literary journals and anthologies focused on women of African descent. Her poems speak of a cosmopolitan reality where migration is the result of economic dependency and where an African boy can earn his living selling “flashing Eiffel towers” and she ironically titled this poem “Living the African dream in Paris”. Also based in the United Kingdom is Lizzy Attree, current administrator of the
Caine Prize and an academic of note. Abena Koomson, a Ghanaian based in the United States, and well-known for her acting work, will be holding creative writing workshops with young writers in Durban, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. Those who have attended the workshops facilitated by her describe it as a moving experience.

Zimbabwean writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, will also be participating in this symposium; and she is known as a filmmaker and the author of the famous novel, Nervous Conditions, as well as, more recently, The Book of Not. Leloba Molema, a Botswana academic, brings her vast knowledge and experience to the Symposium having been one of the editors of the mammoth work, Women Writing Africa, Volume One. From Namibia comes Ellen Ndeshi Namhila, a writer who was part of the Namibian liberation struggle and who spent fifteen years as a refugee. Notable among her books is The Price of Freedom, her autobiography.

South African writers participating include of course Nadine Gordimer, Africa’s only woman Nobel literary Laureate, whose many novels and short stories have captured the times that we live in. The 2011 symposium pays tribute to her role in South African literature and as a firm supporter of writers’ organizations over the years as she turns eighty-eight on the 20th November this year.

South African authors will engage in this dialogue with their counterparts. Among them are also Ingrid Winterbach (Lettie Viljoen) based in Durban whose Afrikaans fiction has met with widespread acclaim and whose novel, To hell with Cronje, won the Hertzog Prize in 2004. Cape Town writer, Diane Ferrus, a storyteller and the author of poetry in both English and Afrikaans, will read from her new collection, “I have come to take you home”. Gender researcher and analyst, Nomboniso Gasa, will chair a roundtable discussion focusing on issues of gender, identity and culture. She is the editor of Women in South African History and has also focused her research on democracy in Nigeria. Myesha Jenkins is a performance poet who resides in Johannesburg and who was a founding member of the Feela Sistah Spoken Word Collective which launched many a woman poet into the centre-stage. Together with the dynamic writer and performance poet, Natalia Molebatsi, who will also be participating in this literary feast, she is currently co-editing a South African anthology of erotic poetry. They will also be joined by Michele McGrane, whose most recent collection, Suitable Girls, reveals an interesting series of poems entitled Lunar Postcards. Perhaps following from the self-styled Martian poets, she has produced a lunar landscape where “We season freeze-dried macaroni / with liquid salt and pepper” and where rather humorously, “after a week of granola bars, / nuts and bitter orange juice, /the commander’s arm / begins to look tasty.” Shaida Kazie Ali brings to this event a fresh approach to creative writing by making references to recipes and children’s stories in her debut fiction, Not a Fairytale, which takes a hard look at male-female relationships in a Muslim family.

Award-winning journalist, Margie Orford, will be sharing her insights with a Johannesburg audience. Her novels have paved a new and interesting path for South African women’s fiction with her Clare Hart series. Fellow novelist, Angela Makholwa, whose debut novel was a psychological crime thriller, will also be present. Her latest work is enigmatically titled The 30th Candle. Makholwa is also part of the READSA initiative. Western Cape academic, Desiree Lewis, will share her analysis of photography by women photographers by placing a gendered lens on the subject. The academic community is further represented by Libby Meintjes from Wits University: School of Language and Literature, who has also been involved in the organizing of this symposium. Monica Seeber will bring to this gathering her expertise on copyright and specifically the rights of authors.

Finally it would be a oversight if mention was not made of the male authors who will join their female counterparts in honour of Nadine Gordimer as they join the discussion on what it means to be African in the world from the vantage point of the author and the intellectual. Veteran writer, Oswald Mtshali, whose groundbreaking poetry collection, Sounds of a Cowhide Drum, was published forty years ago this year will bring his ideas to bear on this
question as too will Remi Raji-Oyelade, an award-winning poet and academic based at the University of Ibadan. Intellectual property lawyer, Tade Ipadeola, will read from his epic work in progress, Sahara Testaments, while Masoja Msiza will dazzle us with his memorable poems that get to the heart of the South African condition.

It is hoped that such an array of African authors will also speak and dream with each other and that through such a platform begin to speak to the African condition not only in a myriad of ways, but in order to lead to what Ali Mazrui calls “cultural coalescence”. As African authors gather in numbers, the notion of a cross border culture as labeled by Lewis Nkosi should also be interrogated. But mainly it is hoped that this will inspire younger generations of aspiring writers to follow their hearts and embark upon a career in the arts, as professional writers in the creative economy.

This symposium and tribute take place only a few days before the Department of Arts and Culture hosts a workshop on the African Renaissance Cultural Charter and also four days before South Africa hosts a meeting of the African World Heritage Fund. With the focus on Africa in the forthcoming week, this also bodes well for the COP17 United Nations Conference that South Africa hosts from the 26th November 2011 and for future gatherings that require all of Africa to work towards a common position.

By Lisa Combrinck
African Women Writers’Symposium convener

LABAF Programme

13 Lagos Book and Art Festival Programme

DATE: FRIDAY 18 - 20
TIME: 9am - 6pm daily

DAY 1:
FRIDAY (November 18)

(9 am, Hall 2)
My Encounter with the Book (Kiddies’ Segment) by Tunde Babawale, Director General CBAAC) -- a motivational talk to kids kicks open the kiddies’ segment of the festival.

Opening Glee -- Yoruba Ronu, by Crown Troupe

(11am-1pm, Hall 1)
The Festival Colloquium (I): Theme: Documenting The Governance Challenges: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other-I: Readings, Reviews, and discussions around (a) A Swamp Full Of Dollars by Michael Peel (b). Dinner With Mugabe by Heidi Holland; (c) A Continent For The Taking by Howard French,

(1pm-3pm, Hall 1)
The Festival Colloquium (II) Arrested Development: “Why Can’t ‘They’ Get It Right?: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other: Readings, Reviews, and discussions around (a) The State Of Africa by Martin Meredith, (b) Nigeria: Dancing On The Brink- by John Campbell, (c) It’s Our Turn To Eat by Michaela Wrong

How Familiar Is This Town? The City As A Key Character In the Fictional Narratives Of The Continent: Readings, Reviews, and discussions around(1) Good Morning Comrades (Luanda, Angola), by Ondjaki, (2) The Yacoubian Building (Cairo, Egypt) by Alaa Al Aswany; (3) The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives (Ibadan, Nigeria) by Lola Shoneyin; (4) Tropical Fish (Entebbe, Uganda) byDoreen Baigana; (5) Under The Brown Rusted Roofs (Ibadan, Nigeria) by Abimbola Adunni Adelakun.

SATURDAY, (November 19)

(10 am, Hall 2)
My Encounter with the Book (Kiddies’ Segment) by Austin Avuru (Petroleum Geologist and Author/Managing Director, Seplat Petroleum) -- a motivational talk to kids kicks open the kiddies’ segment of the festival.

3D & Animation; The Virtual Reality and You – a discussion to stimulate young people’s interest in the art, business and future of 3D and animation, put together by Positive Development Foundation and Dada Academy

(12noon to 1.30pm) (12noon to 2.30pm)
Town Talk1: Theme: Books as tools of The Knowledge Economy: Can a book make you rich? A top-notch panel of discussants review the role of books in the Knowledge Economy, using four books as take off points: Hot, Flat And Crowded by Tom Friedman; The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell; The Ascent Of Money by Niall Ferguson, The World Is Flat by Tom Friedman

(3pm-4pm, Hall 1)
Challenging The Present: African Authors And The Global Discourse On Governance: Readings, Reviews and Discussions around: Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And What Can Be Done About It, by Dambissa Moyo; When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and The Ogoni Struggle For Self Determination by Ike Okonta.

Musical Interlude/Live Performance: Naijazz Afrocentric led by Oyin Ogungbade

Mapping The Future: Four young authors and publishers under 35, discuss the changing landscape of the publishing industry and express, in detail, their dreams/plans in contributing to the revamp.NB: Inserted in this conversation is a 25 minute presentation byToni Kan with a working title: What happened to The Pace Setter Series -- and when will the new Nigerian thriller come?

SPECIAL EVENT:DANCE Presentation from the series of Contemporary Dance Workshops directed (in October) by visiting dancers/choreographers Francois Verhunes (France) and Vincent Mantsoe (South Africa); and in November by Isabelle Schad (Germany) and Samir Akika (Algeria/Germany). Participants were drawn from Nigeria, Togo and Republic of Benin. The workshop was jointly facilitated by Goethe Institut, Institut Francais, Abuja and Alliance Francaise Lagos with collaboration of Trufesta and Danse meets Danse.

FESTIVAL BIRTHDAY PARTYCombined birthday party for: Fatai Rolling Dollar @ 85; Chukwuemeka Ike @ 80; Benson Idonije @ 75; Taiwo Ajai-Lycett @ 70; Sunmi Smart Cole @ 70; Lindsay Barret @ 70; Ebun Clark @ 70; Charly Boy @ 60; Yeni Kuti @ 50; Richard Mofe-Damijo @ 50; Joke Silva @ 50; Tunde Babawale @ 50; Femi Akintunde-Johnson @ 50; Duke Asidere 2 50; Sola Olorunyomi @ 50; Remi Raji @ 50

Bandstand: Fatai Rolling Dollar and bandPoetry/Folklore: Akeem Lasisi, Adunni Nefertiti.

SUNDAY, November 20

Arthouse Forum: Art Of The Biography: Reviews and discussions of Femi Osofisan’s J. P. Clark: A Voyage and, Adewale Pearce’s A Peculiar Tragedy: J. P. Clark and the beginning of modern Nigerian literature

Art Stampede- The Nigerian Abroad: Fictional Accounts Of The Immigrant Experience… A panel discussion on the The Phoenix, by Chika Unigwe; Some Kind Of Black, by Diran Adebayo; 26A, by Diana Evans; A Squatter’s Tale, by Ike Oguine; Her Majesty’s Visit, by Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo; The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Adichie

Festival Play: Waiting Room by Wole Oguntokun: & the Renegade Theatre To Commemorate A Fresh Start Of Our Democracy

Screening of ADOPTED by Gundrun (being the November edition of the Monthly Film Screening of iREP Film Festival Forum & Goethe Institut, Lagos. NB: Filmmaker will be present from Germany for Q & A


MUSIC: Fatai Rolling Dollar and band Naijazz Afrocentric led by Oyin Ogungbade.

DANCE: Crown Troupe of Africa; Footprints of David P

OETRY/FOLKLORE: Adunni Nefertiti, Akeem Lasisi & Others

13th Lagos Book & Art Festival opens today

The 13th annual Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) opened today at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos. There was a Publisher's Forum, Publishing In The Age Of Microchip, yesterday at the Goethe Insitutute, Lagos, by way of a preamble. LABAF 2011 is on from today to Sunday 20th November. Futher info below:

Babawale To Open The Lagos Book Festival
Tunde Babawale, the professor of political economy who runs the Centre For Black And African Arts and Civilisation(CBAAC), will open the 13th Lagos Book And Art Festival (LABAF 2011) on November 18, at the Freedom Park on Broad Street, in Lagos. Babawale will be delivering a keynote address with the theme: The Book In My Life. The Festival opening session, at 9am, is largely for the young Nigerians (aged 11 to 18), at the Festival for whom the organizers have planned a robust segment. The first of the 10 panel sessions in the adult segment kicks in at 11am. Babawale will moderate that session with the theme: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other. Meanwhile, his opening address to the kids “is expected to be a summary of the journey of the life of a high achieving individual in society”, according to Ayo Arigbabu, the Festival’s Project Director, “with emphasis on how Books have helped him reach where he is today”. Previous such speakers have included Femi Osofisan, the country’s most distinguished professor of drama, who gave a moving speech, in 2006, on how he discovered literature via the Bible and how reading has enabled him to escape a childhood life of poverty. “LABAF is the one book event with a high children participation”, Arigbabu reports. “Last year, we hosted 1200 kids to workshops on paintings, readings, photography; a range of experiences and, most crucially, discussions around books”.

Rolling Dollar, Clark and Idonije To Headline CORA’s Birthday Party
The highlife musician Fatai Rolling Dollar is the oldest of the group of media and culture enthusiasts, artists and scholars who will be honoured at the Freedom Park on Broad Street in Lagos on November 19. And he will be performing with his band. November 19 is the second day of the 2011 edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. As a rule, the Committee For Relevant Art(CORA), organizers of the Festival, uses this day to celebrate those culture producers who have had a landmark birthday or the other in the course of the year. “Those who make the list are not just anybody”, says Deji Toye, chairman of the jury that decided on the honorees. “These are people who, in the course of the lives they’ve so far lived, have made significant contributions to the media and arts". The party, this year is for Fatai Rolling Dollar at 85, the novelist Chukwuemeka Ike at 80, the music critic Benson Idonije at 75; the actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett at 70; the culture scholar Ebun Clark at 70; the singer/entertainer Charly Boy at 60; the actor Richard Mofe-Damijo at 50; the dancer/choreographer Yeni Kuti at 50 the actress Joke Silva at 50; the music critic and publisher Femi Akintunde-Johnson at 50; and the culture scholars Tunde Babawale, Sola Olorunyomi and Remi Raji at 50. “We are having a big feast for them and their families”, Toye explains, “under a massive tent”. The Lagos Book and Art Festival is a comprehensive, three day programme of events featuring readings, conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and dance. It’s a festival of the arts with a high book content.

Oil Executives Debate: Can A Book Make You Rich?
Bayo Akinpelu, former Director at Chevron Nigeria, will moderate a conversation between Austin Avuru, Femi Aisida and Dayo Adegoke around the theme: The Book as The Key To The Knowledge Economy at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Saturday November 20, 2011. Mr Avuru is the Chief Executive of Seplat Petroleum, the Nigerian E&P company which produces 37,000Barrels of oil a day; Aisida oversees Energy and Mineral Resources(EMR) and Adegoke is Managing Director of Mosenergy. Both companies are hydrocarbon consulting firms. The conversation involves reading, reviews and discussions around four books, including Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent Of Money: A Financial History Of The World, and Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat as well as Hot. Flat and Crowded. The discussions are taking place as part of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, a three day festival of the written word, now in its 12th year. The Festival involves drama skits, music, 10 panel sessions around 26 books, and a lavish party for icons of Nigerian culture landscape headlined by Fatai Rolling Dollar.

Toni Kan, Jideonwo and Nwulue On The Thriller Tradition
Toni Kan is an alumnus of Hints, the Romance magazine and perhaps the closest thing in the country (currently) to an incubator of thriller fiction. At 40, his is the generation that grew up reading the Pace Setter series. He’s always believed “there’s a market for fiction, if you write something that grabs people by the collar of the shirt”. Kan’s best selling collection of short stories, Nights Of The Creaking Bed, is a work of literary fiction, but a lot of the stories have the “thriller element”. On Saturday, November 19, 2011, he will be making a 25 minute presentation What happened to The Pace Setter Series- and when will the new Nigerian thriller come?. Mr Kan’s talk will preface a panel session with the theme: Mapping The Future , involving four young authors and publishers under 35, discussing the changing landscape of the publishing industry and express, in detail, their dreams/plans in contributing to the revamp. The programme is being put together by Chude Jideonwo and The Future Award group a well as Onyeka Nwulue’s Blues and Hills Literary consultancy.

Tunde Babawale, Keith Richards To Moderate Two Colloquies
Tunde Babawale, former Professor of Political economy at the University of Lagos and current Director General of CBAAC, and Keith Richards, author of Outsider Inside and Managing Director of Promasidor, have agreed to moderate the different colloquies of the forthcoming Lagos Book and Art Festival , holding at the Freedom Park on Broad Street from November 18-20. Babawale will chair/moderate the first colloquium, entitled Documenting The Governance Challenges: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other-I: He is expected to bring to bear his understanding of the continent’s political economy on reviews, and discussions around three books written by Europeans and Americans on Africa: (a)A Swamp Full Of Dollars- Michael Peel (b). Dinner With Mugabe-Heidi Holland; (c)A Continent For The Taking- Howard French. On his part, Mr Richards, a Briton who has spent 26 years working here will moderate the colloquium entitled Arrested Development: “Why Can’t ‘They’ Get It Right?: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other . The discussion will involve readings, reviews, and discussions around (a)The State Of Africa-Martin Meredith, (b)Nigeria: Dancing On The Brink-John Campbell, (c) It’s Our Turn To Eat- Michaela Wrong.

The City As Character In African Fiction
Asked if she had read The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives, Lola Shoneyin’s witty novel about polygamy, the novelist Abimbola Adelakun responds matter of factly: “I had to, people kept drawing similarities” (to her novel). Still, while it’s so clear that Adelakun’s well received Under The Brown Rusted Roofs is located in Ibadan, with the city’s character sketched out so vividly in the minutae of daily living in those “Agboles”, the plot in Secret Lives is played out in a way that it could have happened anywhere. Or could it? Plus, how comparable is Rusted Roofs with The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany, Egypt’s notable successor to Naguib Mahfouz, given that both books are episodic in nature and treat readers to witty and entertaining foibles of residents in each “household”, in a neighbourhood? These are some of several arguments expected to be explored in a panel session on the opening day of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, on November 18, 2011. Titled: How Familiar Is This Town? The City In Fictional Narratives Of The Continent, the conversation involves readings, reviews, and discussions around several novels produced by African writers including (1) Good Morning Comrades (Luanda, Angola)-, by Ondjaki, (2)The Yacoubian Building(Cairo, Egypt) by Alaa Al Aswany, 3 Tropical Fish (Entebbe, Uganda)-Doreen Baigana; (4) The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives (Ibadan)-Lola Shoneyin and Under The Brown Rusted Roofs (Ibadan) - Abimbola Adelakun. This session continues from the series Lagos In The Imagination, focused on Lagos as the primary site of plot narratives in Nigerian fiction, which began at the 2005 edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. A number of panelists are currently reading these several books well in advance to ensure a healthy debate.

Where’s Ike Okonta’s REVOLT?
Organisers of the Lagos Book And Art Festival(LABAF) have commenced a massive hunt for Ike Okonta’s When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and The Ogoni Struggle For Self Determination. It is one of the two books selected for a panel discussion around the theme: Challenging The Present: African Authors And The Global Discourse On Governance, scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2011, the second of the three day feast of the written word. “We wrote Ofirima Publishing House, (the book’s Port Harcourt based publishers) three months ago, requesting for details of how to buy the book and get it delivered to us”, laments LABAF spokesperson Ropo Ewenla.” There has been no response either in terms of acknowledgement of the mail or in respect of the possibilities of our request”. Ewenla explains that Ofirima doesn’t list a phone number on the book, itself a significant, well researched narrative on the National Question, written in elegant prose. “The book has an email address,
ofirimabooks@gmail.com, which we used in reaching out without any luck”, Ewenla complains. “The publishing house is on 13 Agudama Avenue D-Line Port Harcourt, Nigeria”. The event, expected to run between the hours of 3pm and 4pm inside Hall 1 of Freedom Park, Lagos, is meant to be chaired by Dr. Sola Olorunyomi of the institute of African Studies , University of Ibadan. The other book on the panel is Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And What Can Be Done About It, by Dambissa Moyo. Mr Ewenla is anxious: “Time is running out as we hope to have all those on the panel who have not read the book do so. We have deliberately refrained from being enticed by the possibility of making photo copies of the only copy of the book that we have. But then how do we get close to twenty people to read one copy of this book in less than a month?”

Monday, October 10, 2011

Relive Fela at Glastonbury 1984

Joy on YouTube. Over an hour of vintage Fela at Glastonbury in 1984. Lots of hypnotic Afrobeat classics to nod and sing along religiously to as though no greater truth was ever told in the lines of a song. No greater truth, period. 'Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense' 'Confusion'... I have a strong feeling I saw this film on Betamax in the 80s (only it wasn't titled 'Fela at Glastonbury' then), and when Fela and the Egypt 80 started to sing 'Deadi bodi geeti aksident, yeepa!' this time round, I was already anticipating his tight-trousered body wiggle across the Glastonbury stage - eat your heart out, Mick Jagger!

Fela at the peak of his powers, and you can catch a still apprenticed Femi Kuti playing the sax on film too. I remember the Fela, Black President exhibition at the Barbican in London, 2004; there was a piece of video art titled, 'Guidelines in Advanced Nyanshology' - on how to shake it like a Fela dancer - and there's plenty of nyanshology in this video. Excellently filmed.

The man is extravagantly introduced, on behalf of 'The Organisation of African Sovereignty', onto the stage by none other than his bandleader, Baba Ani a.k.a Lekan Animashaun.

It's Felabration time (annual posthumous celebration of the Chief Priest's birthday) and this Glastonbury film will be shown on Thursday (13 October, 7pm) - along with 2 other Fela films including the documentary 'Music is the Weapon' - as part of the weeklong programme, Shakara: Felabration at The Life House (33 Sinari Daranijo, Off Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island, Lagos).

Featuring a variety of performers and speakers including Fatai Rolling Dollar, Ayetoro, Wana and Salvador Sango, as well as a reading of Carlos Moore's book, 'This Bitch of a Life', Felabration opens at The Life House tomorrow and is on till Sunday 16 October.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Joyce Carol Vincent - a life in fragments

Nothing I've read recently has moved me more than this story of a woman who died in her bedsit in London, undiscovered for three years. The window remained open, plates sat in the sink, mail piled up at the door, Chritsmas presents unopened and the TV on - while she faded into skeletal remains on the sofa.

What is more desperately sad, that someone could die this kind of lonely death in the otherwise highly frequented shopping precint of Wood Green; that no neighbours, friends or family noticed her disappearance; or the elegiac detail of the television set that kept an unexpected vigil, staying on and warm for three years?

My heart has broken many times today over this story. I was in London when the shocking find made the news in 2006, yet I don't recall ever hearing of it. But now I'll never forget, thanks to the painstaking and loving efforts of filmmaker Carol Warner who spent several years trying to piece together the fragile details of the late Joyce Vincent's life.
She writes in today's UK Observer about her efforts to memorialise the tragic Joyce, which has now resulted in a film, 'Dreams of a Life'.

"The point is, Joyce Vincent is dead, no one murdered her, and no one seems to care that much. I gather she was very beautiful, which for reasons totally spurious makes it more poignant because we always think beautiful people have everything go their way." - Lynne Featherstone, MP.

"There were a lot of exciting things happening to me and her arrival coincided with a lot of that change, so I used to call her my lucky charm. She was always immaculately attired down to the bows on her underwear. But she wasn't just physically beautiful, she had an aura about her."

Alistair explained that Joyce never really talked about her life before she met him. "Have you ever seen the movie The Man with No Name? That's how she was – she came with no past."

A portrait emerges of an upwardly mobile young woman with good jobs and good pay that moved in appropriate circles, but who may have sought to slough off the vestiges of her background. Even now, it appears friends rather than family, helped piece together what is now known. They cannot reconcile the beautiful young woman they had known with the down and out 38-year-old that died unmourned. They say she looked like Whitney Houston, had dinner with Stevie Wonder, knew Betty Wright, Issac Hayes, Jimmy Cliff and Gil Scott-Heron. She was at the Mandela Tribute Concert at Wembley in 1990 and met the Madiba. Millions may have seen her in the live telecast; and the filmmaker tracks down footage of the moment, in an almost heroic ode to transience.

Carol Morley's
'Dreams of a Life' will be shown at the BFI London Film Festival this month. It's already been shortlisted in the Best Documentary category for London Film Festival and will go on general release next year. I'm making a note to self now, that I must watch this film.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rushdie's got us all a-twitter

OK. What could be more amazing than finding Ben Okri on Twitter and learning that "Ben will be here from time to time to share his poetry and writing, but otherwise this page is maintained by Rider Books"?

It's finding Salman Rushdie. The author of 'Midnight's Children' is on Twitter and rearing to go.

It began when @SalmanRushdie1 wrote on his twitter account, "With some trepidation, I am beginning to tweet. If you want to hear what sort of noise I end up making, please follow me."

Why 'SalmanRushdie1'? Well, because, there was already a 'SalmanRushdie' on Twitter, and Sir Salman said as much on his first profile, revealing that Twitter was refusing to verify that this indeed was him. One of his first tweets was to stare down at his own shadow, so to speak, to confront the man, woman or thing masquerading as 'Salman Rushdie': "Who are you? Why are you pretending to be me? Release this username. You are a phoney. All followers please note." [Update: Rushdie has since dropped the '1' from his handle, having reclaimed 'SalmanRushdie' from the imposter]

Twitter may have been refusing to verify, but readers recognised an original voice straightaway. Thousands signed up to follow Rushdie between yesterday and today alone. And they were amply rewarded. For where else will you have a great author chatting on tweeter with Kylie Minogue, Patrick French, Mia Farrow, Stephen Fry and Margaret Attwood ("Hi Peggy, I just joined the madhouse...")? Or refraining from going into the details of Christopher Hitchens' illness in public ("Allow me to not say more, please...")?

Rushdie racked up the excitement further by declaring that he was going produce a whole new short story, titled A Globe of Heaven, starting today, entirely on Twitter. Shrewd negotiator, the author noted this morning that he'd pulled in nearly 10,000 followers, and promised that once the magic number was reached, he would start tweeting the story. In minutes, 10,000 followers were in the bag, and the story began.

A thousand retweets, two profile images later, and Twitter verification almost almost a certainty, Rushdie posted his third bio in less than 24 hours: "...As Popeye the Sailor Man said, I yam what I yam and that's what I yam."

We know. We know.

This is going to be so much fun, and Rushdie no doubt is enjoying himself. No doubt whose fingers are tapping out those tweets, definitely not some publishing rep. It's the real article.

But for any writer tempted to stay glued to Rushdie's twitter account permanently, a note of caution from the man himself. As he said in one tweet to another author, "I've just handed in revised MS of my memoir, so I have time to waste here."

--Follow Rushdie on Twitter

--Update The Guardian: Salman Rushdie's Twitter debut

Teju Cole on twitter

"Of what import are brief, nameless lives to Galactus?" Teju Cole has the answer. The author of Open City, currently working on a non-fiction book on Lagos, has been reading Nigerian newspapers and found himself drawn to the little stories, the big and small tragedies of ordinary people. So, he started recasting the stories on twitter in the tradition of the fait divers, a project he has augmented with the tag: Teju Cole Small Fates.

Here he is on TCSF
"The stories I tell in the small fates are more tightly compressed than most fait divers (thanks to the limitation of length Twitter imposes) and often more laconic... Each tells a truth, a whole truth, but never the whole truth (but this is true of all storytelling). Details are suppressed, secondary characters vanish, sometimes the “important” aspect of the story is sidestepped in order to highlight a poignant detail."

The New Yorker took notice
"To a contemporary reader like Cole, fait divers also have another characteristic: they are eminently tweetable. As he began to compose his own versions, which he calls “small fates” to differentiate them from the French, Cole realized they’d do well on Twitter. He’s been at it for a few months, and the results are riveting, providing a snapshot of life in Nigeria that invites and repels at once:

With a razor blade, Sikiru, of Ijebu Ode, who was tired of life,

separated himself from his male organ. But death eluded him."

One of the many Small Fates that make you either go Yeepa! or Ouch!

I love this recent one below about rogue trader Kweku Adoboli, for drawing attention to the racism of Western media reports; a Black Briton is 'British' until they fall foul of the law, then comes overt, repeated referencing of their origin.

Almost always, as in the Abdullahi Ibrahim one above, there is an artful missing-of-the-point in order to tease out that "poignant detail."

According to Cole: "These pieces are generally not events of the kind that alter a nation’s course. They are not about movie stars or, with exceptions, famous politicians. They are about the small fates of ordinary people. The idea is not to show that Lagos, or Abuja, or Owerri, are worse than New York, or worse than Paris. Rather, it’s a modest goal: to show that what happens in the rest of the world happens in Nigeria too, with a little craziness all our own mixed in. In this odd sort of way, bad news is good news because these instances of bad news reveal a whole world of ongoing human experience that is often ignored or oversimplified."

Occasionally in square brackets, the author will 'come out of character' to break TCSF down some more, like when responding to complaints he referred to a man awaiting trial as a 'murderer'. "Feel free to google Arowolo. Is there a reasonable doubt?" he asked. The Small Fates, though drawn from reality, are far from straight news, legal transcripts or policy papers, he maintained. And in any case, "we poets, you know, are bastards, and will continue to be."

TCSF has been so successful that many have been getting in on the act, and Cole indulged them, by posting assignments: links to newspaper stories his followers could try their hands at turning into Small Fates, tagged '#tcsf' on twitter. The very best would be retweeted by Cole to his 2000-plus followers. Many tweeted their own Small Fates, but few got the distinction of being retweeted by the author, inspiring this priceless tweet below by
Ebuka Obi-Uchendu. So good, even Teju Cole retweeted it.

Teju Cole's tweets

Friday, September 16, 2011

Viva Riva! in Lagos tomorrow

VIVA RIVA! the stylish Congolese film that scooped 6 AMAA statuettes earlier this year, kicks off a new monthly screening collaborative project between iREP Film Forum and the Goethe Institut Lagos.

Set in Kinshasa, Viva Riva! was directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga and stars Patsha Bay Mukuna, Manie Malone and award winning Marlene Longage. Violent and explicit, the film tells the story of Viva, a charming criminal who intercepts a lucrative cache of petrol in a fuel crisis; and a ruthless Angolan gang hot on his tail. The film has wowed audiences at festivals around the world.

Screening is on tomorrow at the Nigeria Film Corporation Office, Old Film Unit, by Radio Nigeria, Obalende-Ikoyi, Lagos. Time is 3pm.

Info from the organisers, below:


On Saturday September 17, the iREPRESENT Documentary Film Forum (iREP) and the Goethe Institut Lagos will formally begin a comprehensive relationship that will see the two organisations collaborating on a number of projects in the area of films. The projects will include a Monthly Film Screening session; Training and Capacity Building programmes; Festivals and others.

The core objective of the collaboration is to facilitate relationship between the German and the Nigerian film Industries through sharing of ideas and products; networking of personnel as well as exposure to the intricacies of each of the film cultures. The overall objective of the collaboration, however, is to help quicken the development of the nascent Nigerian film industry.

Monthly Film Screening

In particular, the Monthly Screening and Discussion session is conceptualized to facilitate elevation of film language and understanding of the artistic narratives of cinema in a way that empowers storytellers to explore more their intrinsic artistic voices. The screenings are being curated to push the boundaries of the Nigeria film industry’s appreciation for narratives that underscore the interconnectivity of the human experience even in a globalised culture.
The film screening which will consist of short and long films will be introduced by experts and the public will get the chance to discuss with film professionals after each session. Thesession will encourage a discussion on the film screened between professionals and the public.

The choice film for the September 17 edition, is VIVA RIVA!, (98 min, DR Congo), directed by Djo Munga, with Patsha Bay, Manie Malone. It tells the story of Riva, an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure who resides in Kinshasa. With petrol in short supply in DRC's capital, Riva and his sidekick pursue a plot to get hold of a secret cache — barrels of fuel they can sell for a huge profit. Of course they're not the only ones who want the stuff…

Screening starts at 3pm, and will be followed by Discussions among fil experts and the general audience. There will also be refreshment and light entrtainment.

OCTOBER: The monthly screening continues on the theme of Music and Freedom in the spirit of the yearly FELABRATION, designed to celebrate the life and times of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. It will hold on October 15 as part of the finale of In-Short, the international Short Film Festival of the Goethe Institut with the International Film and Broadcast Academy, Lagos. Venue remains the old Film Unit, NFC office, ikoyi, Lagos.

NOVEMBER: The film ADOPTED will be feature, but screening and discussion session will have an international dimension with the possible presence of the filmmaker. This edition is designed to coincide with the 2011 Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) November 17th-20th, the yearly art feast organized by the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA. Venue remains the Old Film Unit.

DECEMBER: The collaboration takes up an even keener ambition with the scheduled African premiere of the award winning film PINA, directed by renowned German film maker, Wim Wenders. The venue for this event is proposed to be one of the Cinema houses in Lagos. There is also plan to make provision for a 3D viewing of the film by the audience.

· Also in December the iREP and the GOETHE will be collaborating to participate in the British Council’s Creativity Fair, scheduled for the theme art centre, Freedom Park, on Broad Street, Lagos.

JANUARY: The 2nd iREP International Documentary Film Festival begins with a Pre-Festival Conference on January 17 – 18 on the theme: Is Nollywood Documentary? The Keynote is proposed to be delivered by Dorothee Wenner, producer of Peace Mission, the famed documentary on the fortunes and fate of the Nigeria film industry. The session will also have a panel of eminent Producers, Actors, Directors and Critics as discussants. Venue is Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, VI Lagos

FEBRUARY: Monthly Film screening and Discussion continues at the NFC Lagos office, Old Film Unit, Ikoyi Lagos.

MARCH: The second edition of the yearly iREP International Documentary Film Festival, holds March 21-24 with possible collaboration with MOKOLO, the film platform developed by Goethe and international partners. There is also plan to bring home Nigerian filmmakers working in Germany such as Bramwen Okpako and Adama Ulrich; and with popular German filmmaker, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet to be facilitated by Goethe Institut.

Jahman Anikulapo
For iREP

Christy Essien-Igbokwe goes home

Tony Okoroji holds a burial programme with the late Christy Essien-Igbokwe's image at the singer's funeral on Saturday September 10. Next to him is talk show host Bisi Olatilo.

Nigeria's 'First Lady of songs was buried with much pomp on Saturday September 10, after a week of commemorative activities including celebrity football match, a divas concert and a lying-in-state at the National Theatre. A funeral service was held the day before the burial, at the Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church in GRA Ikeja, Lagos, attended by the great and the good. She was laid to rest in Awka, Anambra State on Saturday September 10, and among those in attendance was the state governor Peter Obi, Akwa Ibom governor Godswill Akpabio and Senator Chris Ngige.

Some images from the 2 days below, courtesy of the Christy Burial Committee.

Funeral cortege for the 'Seun Rere' singer on the streets of Lagos, Friday September 9.

The widower Edwin Igbokwe in pensive mood as his late wife's coffin is brought into the Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church in Lagos.

Singer Onyeka Onwenu, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi (wife of Ekiti State Governor) and Orelope Adefulire, Deputy-Governor of Lagos State at the Lagos funeral service.

Flautist Tee Mac, actress Clarion Chukwurah and singer Stella Monye in the church.

Fela's children: Femi and Yeni Kuti attended the service.

Saturday September 10: a young boy and his gong in Awka, as he prepares to sing for the late Christy.

Pomp and ceremony: procession in Awka, Anambra State, ahead of the burial.