Nigeriaa vielä - mustan naisrunoilijan edesottamukset

Me olemme edenneet vaiheeseen, jossa kirjailijoiden ei tarvitse miettiä, mille tai kenelle kirjoittavat - ja tämä pätee myös sukupuolikysymyksiin. Esimerkiksi Nigeriassa toivotaan vielä, että naisten pitäisi kirjoittaa ennemmin toisille naisille kuin miehille.

Tässä katsannossa haluan julistautua genderittömäksi kirjailijaksi, jonka tavoitteena on muuttaa kansallisuuttaan joka kerta kansallisia rajoja ylittäessäni, niin ettei lopulta ole tietoa, mikä maa, mikä valuutta on kyseessä. Ei pitäisi olla merkitystä sillä kuka kirjoittaa, ja kenelle. Vain sillä, että teksti toimii tai ei.

Löysin muuten nimelläni yhden linkin sivulle otsikolla "black female poet". Valitettavasti en osannut navigoida perille asti.. Mutta pidin - haluan ehdottomasti olla valkoinen neekeri, mulatti valkoisten maassa.

Taidan palata ensi vuonna shokeeramaan Lagokseen, ehkä muuallekin. Suomalaisethan olivat shokeeraajia Petroskoissakin, valitettavasti, koska heidän alustuksissaan oli sitä kaivattua ja puuttunutta sisältöä. Moni paikallinen kirjailija keskittyi vaatimaan lisäresursseja joko itselleen tai suuremmalle kokonaisuudelle, kuten lastenkirjallisuudelle.

Lagoksen Book & Art -festivaalia sivuava Artikkeli Business Daystä:

September 22nd, 2006
CORA fetes Nigerian culture community, tasked on documentation

Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), a Lagos-based art and culture organization, has, at the 8th edition of the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival, feted the Nigerian culture community in line with its objective of creating an enabling environment for the flourishing of the Nigerian contemporary arts.
Enam Obiosio and Obinna Emelike

The three-day festival held at the National Museum, Onikan and Goethe Institut, Victoria Island, Lagos, was a gathering of both local and international arts enthusiast, stakeholders, practitioners, writers and children who deliberated on issues that have directly or indirectly shaped the cultural landscape of Nigeria.

In his keynote address at the opening ceremony, Rasheed Gbadamosi, economist and playwright, described the interest in both books and arts as the positive endeavour which should be encouraged because of its overall contribution to human capacity building and national development.

He commended CORA for their educational value and cultural renaissance activities and urged indigenous writers to emphasize more on good value system, hardwork and positive attitudes towards books as a way of redressing social vices and its multiple effects in the society.

In his welcome address, Jahman Anikulapo, programme chairman, said the festival was CORA’s means of contributing to building a virile book industry by encouraging public engagement in literary pursuits. He said the ‘Book’ remains the key ingredient in the growth of the country’s human resources, noting that all the talk about "abundant human resources", when half of the people can neither read nor write, need to be addressed.

Toyin Akinosho, secretary-general, CORA, in his remarks, said the focus of the event was to highlight the importance of book in the development of human capital. He stated that the festival, which was an open-air market for books and art, was the most important event in their annual calendar.

He noted that the festival was located around the National Creativity Day "to emphasize the fact that the quality of Nigerians and collective creative productions are measured by the quality of documents in which they are recorded and the number of people that access them".

On CORA’s achievements since 15 years of its existence, Akinosho disclosed that the organization has convened 59 Art Stampedes, four monthly Arthouse Forums, six editions of City Art Guide, seven editions of Lagos Book and Art Festival, an international stampede in Cape Town, South Africa and was recently honoured with a prestigious award for excellence in facilitation of culture education and debate by Prince Claus Fund in Netherlands.

The second day of the festival featured exciting events prominent among which was a lecture on the theme Book In My Life by Pat Utomi, director, Lagos Business School.

In the lecture, which was targeted at children, Utomi had a time out with the children, teaching, interacting and answering their questions. He urged the children to read good books and work hard even at tender age in order to be great in life, noting that there are no shortcuts to greatness in life.

He called on publishers to publish more children literature, and encouraged effective reading among children. He disclosed: "because of the importance of books to human capital development, Bank PHB has made it a point of duty to encourage reading by its plans to establish libraries our schools".

Gerd Meuer, a German journalist and writer, among a team of other discussants, also lend their experiences and skills at a roundtable discussion on the theme: Is African literature more at home in abroad than in Africa? Meuer was of the view that literature was more at home abroad because of their interest, economic and historic background, which buttressed the point made by Tchicaya U Tam’si, a Congolese writer, who once claimed that "German publishers have done more for African literature than their French and English counterparts".

Meuer noted that because Germans saw culture as a tool for socio-economic development, they started investing a lot of interest, energy and money in translating works of notable African writers such as Soyinka, Achebe, Armah, Aidoo, Neto and others into German language. He called on Nigerian capitalists to take culture seriously because of the role it plays in the survival of a nation. "Understanding of the basic cultural aspirations helped Germany to build up after the devastating effects of the Second World War". He said.

While Rita Dahl, a poet and journalist from Finland, in her remarks, said African literature has wide readership in her country despite its small population and language barrier, Sola Olorunyomi, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan and contributor in the discussion, was of the view that "our present generation has neither a grasp of our indigenous nor English language". He noted that literature may be said to be at home in abroad than here because the structures in the developed world encourage better reading public unlike in Nigeria where a lot are struggling to survive with little or no attention to books.

In another event on the third day, Odia Ofeimun, a poet and writer, appraised the 15 years existence of CORA and its contributions to the development of art, literature and culture in the Nigeria. He noted that CORA has provided a platform for institutionalizing literature and arts in the Nigeria but needed to improve in the area of documentation of their activities to enable easy accessibility to vital information and statistics needed for further development of the literature and arts in the country.

Toinen Book & Art -festivaalia koskeva juttu nuorten toimittajien ja kirjailijoiden yhdistyksen Universal Journalista:

CORA: Opening Ceremony

By Ayanda Abeke

Few years ago, two vibrant gentlemen, who were also arts enthusiasts and cultural activists, came together with passion and created a platform whereby concerned individuals met intermittently to discuss issues hindering the development of arts and culture in Nigeria. They met under the umbrella of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA). Since its inception, the two founders of this reliable organization have remained upright, applying passion to even the tedious tasks that resulted. When one’s passion tilts toward a specific aim, it is like having an enormous crucifix hung on one’s shoulder, which must be carried accordingly.

The Annual Lagos Book and Art Festival, was declared open on Friday, September 15th by the formal chairman of NIDB, Rasheed Gadamosi, who delivered his keynote address at the National Museum Courtyard, Onikan. This International event is one of the award winning organisation’ s numerous interesting and educative events scheduled through the year. LABAF, to use the acronym of the festival, usually draws participants and audiences from all over the world. Reading workshops for teenagers, panel discussions on the contents of selected books, book sales and exhibitions, art and craft sales and exhibitions, are the main focus of the festival.

Almost immediately, after the keynote address and the opening declaration of the festival, different activities commenced. Seyi Sholagbade and his Black Face Band enlivened the festival ground atmosphere with his exciting afro-beat music. Despite the uncontrolled drizzling of rain, children enjoyed themselves with Anty Noma’s “story time” section, a special children programme from the Lighthouse School; and there were bead-making/ jewelry workshops with Peju Layiwola from the WYART Foundation.

The Panel’s Discussion on Content of the Selected Books remained the most interesting segment to the literati section, with journalists and writers at the opening ceremony. This year’s selected books and panelists were: Crossroads by Peju Alatise; Splendid by Mobolaji Adenubi; No Sense of Limits by Araceli Aipoh and Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi. Deji Toye, a writer and literary activist moderated this segment in the absence of Omowunmi Segun, the supposed moderator. Panels consisted of authors of the selected books and themes overflowed: What Women Write: (The Female Narrative Voice in Nigeria Fiction) was a really complex one.

Well, everybody had her own view, Peju Alatise, author of Orita Meta (The Crossroads) was of the opinion that whatever men can do, woman can do it better and gender should not be a determiner of events. Whilst expounding on this, she mentioned that her advocacy of women started right with her primary school days. Araceli Aipoh, the Filipino woman who wrote No Sense of Limits, started her view that she wrote what suited her, although from a woman’s point of view. Furthermore, she buttressed her points with poetically rendered clauses:
I write what I like,
I also write about what I hate;
I write what I know,
I also write about what I do not know;
I write about existence,
I also write about death;
I write about places,
I also write about money;

But fantasy she detested vehemently. And her reaction against fairy-tales and fantasy was expanded upon by Mobolaji Adenubi who categorized Icarus Girl, 26a, Famished Roads and Harry potter as stories that dealt with the unconsciousness of human endeavours. This she broadened with vivid explanations.

Afterwards, the moderator, who navigated the panelists with utmost wisdom, declared the mic open. The majority of the audience, which consisted of renowned and aspiring writers, journalists, literati and arts lovers, admitted that female writers do better writing for their gender than writing for their counter gender, vis-à-vis male writers. Odia Ofeimum suggested: if men refused to write, women were pleased take over the rein.

Rita Dahl, the Finnish poetess and journalist rounded the discussion segment up with a sonorously rendered poem, in her mother tongue, whilst Jumoke Verissimo recited the English translation of the poem.

Ayanda Abeke
Rumour Networks


Ayanda Abeke said…
I have just read my article on CORA on your blog. I like the idea but you never asked me for permission before use. Please make sure you always take permission from copyright owner(s).

Ayanda Abeke

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