All posts filed under: Africa

On Permanently Temporary Lives: Reflections on Somolu/Bariga – Lagos

In the first quarter of 2016, I made an off-handed decision to find some semblance of coordination in the otherwise chaotic over-the-place kind of life I have led for a long time. This decision could easily have been inspired by the sheer weariness from answering questions like “where are you based?” that often serve as openers to conversations. Not that it mattered much what image people had of me, but at some point, I began asking the same question to myself – “where are you based?”. It was not in a bid to find a fixed answer. As a matter of fact, just as nature abhors a vacuum, I abhor anything that attempts to permanently occupy a vacuum. I can invariably say that all my life, I have been hopping from one box to another in order to escape the very notion of finality. I am not wired to think of life in any way order than a perpetual journey of which all who are born will die on the road. The question of where …

Africa: A new game of “Scrabble”

We are in Amsterdam. We have been invited in the context of the 5th edition of the Unseen Photo Fair/Festival which takes places every year. We are African artists, curators and cultural operators. I have been scheduled alongside these proactive African cultural CEOs and Artistic Directors to speak in a panel. The panel in question is called ‘Platforms in Africa’. A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by a writer from Volkskrant, a very popular newspaper in The Netherlands with a readership of about 270,000. The content of this interview revolved around the most sensational perception: the sudden attention and renewed fixation on ‘Africa’ So here we are to discuss our various initiatives. We are set to go. After rounds of gruellingly long introductions by the moderator which made the whole affair seem like a live performative reading of the “About” page of websites and artists bios, we run out of time. I was disappointed to say the least. I have been invited one time too many to this kind of panel discussions, that …

Lagos to Accra on ABC Transport

Where will I begin this one? It’s a few days after Christmas and the days are rushing towards the new year with lesser activities than before Christmas. I am in Lagos. Christmas for me has been sort of a laid-back one, more of reflections about life and its twists and curves. Naturally I was on the other side of things when it comes to all the high-sounding celebrations. But then an opportunity came, an idea struck. I could go to Accra for a few days rather than get stuck in the monotones of Christmas here. What is it like in Accra now? As a Trans-African being, a border-being so to speak, it was not at all an unwelcome thought, one that is likely to see the light of the day in action. Besides, Ghana has always been the much contested neighbor of Nigeria, and events constantly affirm that.

Once upon a cold Berlin – Part 1

I traveled out of Nigeria for the first time in 2003, and since then I have not stopped. I am one of many Nigerians who are usually harassed and humiliated even before there was a reason for it – and usually for no reason other than my “green passport”. I have had the opportunity to live in the so-called first world, to integrate as much as becoming one of them through opting for nationality, but my mindset has always been simple: “I am a Nigerian by birth and by lineage, whatever comes after that is secondary and I can do without”. I consider myself a traveller and not an immigrant. So I carry my Nigerian passport everywhere I go, bracing myself for the worst at every checkpoint. In February 2010, one of my trips within Europe was brutally cut short and I was forced out of the continent. What did I do? I exceeded my visa for a period of eight days! I was stopped at the Schonefeld airport in Berlin by the Polizei (German …

Exchange In Changing Times

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Killing Two Birds with A Stone (NGOs in Maputo)

When I arrived in Maputo, I was thrown off balance by the amount of “non-governmental organisations” otherwise briefly known as NGOs scattered, not only all over the city, but throughout the country as a whole. Like a friend once put it: “Mozambique is like a lab where these people come to try out all sought of things before they take it elsewhere”. Well, it sure gives the impression that Maputo keeps a lot of people busy. These organisations actually claim to be of service to the indigenes of Mozambique, they have come all the way to make life better. As I write now, I am still overwhelmed by the enormousness of these organisations. They are everywhere and in every sector! NGOs for HIV AIDS, Maleria, Women, Children, Agriculture, Economy, Health, Food, Water, Housing, Clothing, Education, Culture etc. They consist mainly of Western “voluntary and non-voluntary” workers whose sole aim is to be the saviour of these deprived and poor people! To put it in another form, they are strong sympathisers and identifies with the plight …