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Friday, February 4, 2011

The African Storyteller - a poem

I wrote this poem today.

The African Storyteller

It is tonight that we tell stories

Stories of a million people, with glories

For all the stories we tell, we build from our past

A past bleached in the blue rays of sunlight

From afar, the rains come down on us

Bubbles, bubbles, just like a bundle of curse

But those are blessings, cuddling us

Wrapping us in the arms of a crux

I am an African, so I’m a storyteller

From Bamako to Nairobi, there is a storyteller

With millions of stories in his mouth to tell in a night

And if he sits there in Lagos, we will squint

By the stream in that village in Mombasa

A drummer drums a story, through Kinshasa

Hopping along the streets of Kumasi, he rocks and listens to crickets sing

Singing of a village belle in love with a king

I sing of Africa like a singer

Just like Miriam Makeba told stories, I am also as a storyteller like Fela!

With my mind set on the beauties of the continent

For only here in Africa does the desert matter in art

I am an African, so I’m a storyteller

I tell tales to eat. Don’t be sober.

I tell tales and you laugh, I laugh, you cry, I cry, you shiver, I shiver

I’m an African. I am a storyteller. I am a filmmaker.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Images from my past book tours...

When The Abyssinian Boy came out two years ago in 2009, I had a lovely book tour. It was well organised and I had fun travelling around Nigeria, reading to people, talking about the book and meeting people I've always dreamed of meeting. At one of my readings in Abuja, at Transcorp Hilton, ace broadcaster Eugenia Abu was sitting behind me. At Regent School, former Information Minister, Chukwuemeka Chikelu gave me a gift. At another one, actor Jide Attah told me how he was transported to India after reading my book.

As I get ready to travel to Delhi to launch the Indian version of the same book, coming out from Serene Woods, I upload some of the pictures at my colourful reading sessions.

Eugenia Abu sits just right behind me. And publisher of Cassava Republic, Bibi Bakare was there that night and also asked me questions during the Q & A session.

The Indian community too was well represented as they followed me up on each successful reading I had.

Oh yes, Mr. Jerry Adesewo was of help. He's one of the most amazing writers you will ever come across too.

It was the Abuja Literary Society that played host to me and they make you feel like a star!

It is always fun signing out your books!

I will upload more pictures from the Indian Language School in Lagos when I have time.

Jude Dibia and new book

Jude Dibia, one of the most celebrated authors in Nigeria is coming out with a third book. He has written Walking with Shadows and Unbridled. Two novels I enjoyed, but I will always go for Walking with Shadows, simply because it opened channels of debate over humanity. For those who know Unbridled, we all think it was written by a woman. The voice is convincingly drawn out and it irritates me when the author goes out to read from it. Ha, ha ha. Yes o, because that is a woman's voice he's trying to read from.

His new book, Blackbird is out in April. I can't wait to read it. Personally, Jude is one author I admire a lot. Not only is he kind, he is very supportive of other talents and has done a lot for a lot of young people. Infact, we had a writing group which he facilitated and ran. He was busy, but he spared a lot of time with members of the group and most of us learned to write well through him.

You must get your copy of Jude's new book, please. He doesn't fall the hands of his fans and readers. Even the critics tend to find new ways to tackle his works, because they are daringly unsentimental. He writes about life as though he created it. He knows it well. Like a philosopher.

Studio Runs...

Sometimes I feel like I should not blog. Sometimes, I feel like I should. Most of the times I want to blog, I have nothing REALLY interesting to blog about. Some of the times, nothing particularly fascinating, but the thing is that I will always blog when time permits me.

I went to a studio somewhere at Adeniyi Jones today with my cousin, a drummer-on-a-dream-run. My musician friend, J.O.E (Joseph Iseli), who I also work for as publicist was recording and I needed to see how it would go. The tune has been done and it was time to voice and he went in and did it, while the producer kept track of what he was doing on the computer. For me, it was an amazing experience. I have actually recorded a song myself long time ago, which I deleted from my laptop because it was crappy to my ears. I said to myself, 'You will never be a musician. Stick to writing.'

The thing about me is that I try all art mediums and each one that I fail totally in and I think I can't handle the failure, I walk away. Writing I know I can stand, because it seems to me the perfect way of not showing my laziness. Filmmaking I dabbled into, because it is one form of art that requires all your energy and it's amazingly engaging. Then songwriting, I've done, but it still feels like I'm doing poetry and can only write songs people like Asa can sing...

While I was on my way back home, I saw beautiful Adaora Mbelu, driving home. I was hanging on the okada, with my helmet in my head, thinking of when man go buy im own car, dey drive around town. Time will tell, sha.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

AMAA in Nairobi

Veteran actress, Joke Jacobs at the Africa Film Fund Gala, initiated by the Africa Film Academy.

I am sure everyone agrees with me that the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) is the biggest film and cinema event in the continent of Africa. Even for all that we know event organisers face in the continent, the organisers still pull through all the time and this is really amazing.
Yours truly, with actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Naija Sings' debut winner, Jon Ogah at the event.

With CEO of AMAA, Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe.

With Joke Jacobs at the event.


Here is the deal:

Nairobi will dazzle with stars, glitz and glam from February 25-26, as the biggest stars and practitioners in the African movie industry storm Kenya for this year edition of Africa Movie Academy Awards nominations party. Practitioners from all the participating countries of the awards scheme are expected to converge on the East Africa nation for the announcement who gets nominated for what.

The event which will take place on Friday Night at the Laico Regency Hotel will be attended by Joke Silva and her husband Olu Jacobs alongside Rita Dominic, Mercy Johnson, Ini Edo, Mike Monsuruye, Jackie Appiah, Lynda Forson, Kate Henshaw Nuttal and Mike Ezeronye among others who have signified their intention to attend the event.

In a statement released by the Director of Administration of the award body, Mr. Tony Anih the Nairobi event is being planned to connect with the East Africa block that comprised about eight countries which include Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, and others. He comments: “East Africa has made very strong showing and presence in AMAA since we started particularly in the last three editions. Apart from submitting films for the awards film makers and allied practitioners from these countries have come to Nigeria to attend the awards.”

“The AMAA secretariat felt it is time to make them have a feel of the award by taking the Nomination Night to them and thereby increasing the AMAA brand visibility in that region of Africa. Nairobi is central to East Africa and it is the economic hub of the region. It will be easy for people in East Africa to come to Nairobi. It will be a great Night,” he added.

Another feature of this year’s nomination Night is a concert that will follow it on Saturday February 26 at Carnivore Gardens in Nairobi featuring P-Square, J. Martins and other top artistes from Kenya and South Africa. According to Mr. Anih the concert will be an icing on the cake for the nomination adding that the footprint of AMAA will be so visible in East Africa after the two-legged events that participation in the award from the region will double in subsequent years.

Culled from:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Day with Nneka

People say this about celebrities they meet. Or celebrities they know. This one is humble, this one is arrogant and all sorts of stuff.

I think Nneka is the regular lady that has no airs around her. She is a star, she knows. Everyone stares at her as soon as she walks into Bogobiri and I'm sitting with my girlfriend at a corner of the restaurant and she smiles up at me. I go to greet her. Warm hugs. She asks how I'm doing and I tell her we are all looking up to her. She smiles and all that. I excuse her, so she can get back to the meeting she is having with a guy who has been waiting for her. They talk and I go back to my table.

I've known Nneka through a friend and the first day we chatted, I just couldn't get it off my head. This was Nneka I was chatting with and she was sitting on a plastic chair with an umbrella, beaming and gushing out her Igbo and Pidgin English. Infact, so down-to-earth I felt something was wrong. Yes, we talked about racism, about India and Germany and she told me how she has always wanted to come to India, that she has a bike that she calls Delhi or something. Not sure, but I think I got part of that gist.

Finally, she calls me to find out how my film project was shaping up. I tell her what I am going through. She looks very concerned and feels she could do something. I then tell her how much I like the Starcomms billboard and wonder if she can talk about the benefits. Gladly, she does and feels proud to say that it is not all about money. I look at her and cringe. Not about money? Funny. But that is Nneka for you. She is not concerned about material things. Look at her and you will know. She is different. Very very.

Once again, I leave her so she can get done with the young man who is getting worried that I am getting pissed off. Yes, I know how elated I always feel when I'm talking to Nneka. I feel there is something portruding in my stomach, something positive. I wait impatiently till he's done and I go back, after I've seen my girlfriend off and I have a friend who is there. For the most part now, I talk about having to wait at Afrikan Shrine last year during Felabration till around 3 in the morning to watch her perform. She happened to be the last to perform that day. And I waited. So, she talks about the shrine and we laugh over it. She is careful with words and chooses them wisely. Truth is, I understand that she doesn't like the idea of there being called a shrine and it being another Babylon.

Again, we exchange numbers. I have hers in my phone already, so there is no need. She promises to send me the song she recorded with Nas and I call it a day.

Thank you, Nneka. You are sweet.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I turned 23 today.

The day started a bit disheartening. Eromo knows why. I was already freaking out. But everything got sorted out later, so I was off with the BRT to Ikoyi to meet up with J.O.E and Suranu, who were waiting for me at Bogobiri. We were supposed to go to the SoundCity office in Lekki.

I came late and I was really apologetic.

We had issues with the ATMs and later we were off to Lekki.

It was easy to get to see who went to see at the SoundCity office. The guys at the company are real nice guys with hearts of gold. I had a nice conversation with them and later we went to Inspiration FM to meet Wana Udobang. Lovely lady. Wish I had known her earlier on, before anything could happen, because I'm sure a lot of men have developed deep interest in her. She is classy and brilliant. You can't mess around with such woman, see?

When we left Inspiration FM, we headed for E-Centre at Sabo. We got stuck in the traffic and I slept off and I really hate sleeping in cars, especially public cars, but I still do it and I embarrass myself with the thoughts that race through my head because of me.

We had a blast at Griller's Bar inside the E-Centre premises and had lots of debate, and yes, on RELIGION. The hot topic and it ended well. The night went well.

However, the good news that came in the morning is this: I'm the Writer-in-Residence at the Centre for Research in Art of Film & TV, Delhi. I will be teaching creative writing and film direction there for 2 weeks. It will be a great honour for me, really. It will.

Thank you India for making me feel good.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Future Award

I was nominated for The Future Awards 2011.

I didn't make it to The Finalist...

But getting nominated is a good thing.

I got to the venue in the afternoon and I was impressed with the arrangement. Then, when I came back later with young artiste, Suranu and friend, Uzo Okonkwo (a guy who is madly in love with Asa and in his own words, could do anything to have her in his bed) I found out that time was an issue. People loitered around, screamed around, moved on the red carpet. The beautiful ones did this, really. And there was no doubt that only the showy paraded themselves so well. I thought about the people who had spent hours infront of their mirrors getting prepared and prayed that nothing ruined their night for them.

Before coming to the event, I had spent chunk of time with Joseph Iseli and Obinna Odenigbo and the other guys at Bogobiri, where the discussion centred on religion, really. I had gone to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ikotun and had left some hours later, after sitting in the VIP section, which was very close to the podium where TB Joshua preached from. He would walk round the entire place, but what grappled me more about his personality was his simplicity. The question is: an atheist in the church? Well, yes. To see more, to disbelief more. And don't tell me I went to the wrong place. Please don't.

My birthday is tomorrow, 31st January and I don't know how to celebrate it.