ASUU would strike him till his sorrow grows a beard.
He would be a Yahoo boy or a pimp or a drug dealer or an innocent girl in the cold & dark streets of Italy tendering white men’s amorous dreams or all of the above.
He would be a potbellied politician that swallowed (y)our children’s future, or a snake that swallows dollars or a rat that chases the big man out of his office.
They would have slaughtered him, like Ramadan rams, in Benue or bandaged him with bombs in Borno.
His children’s life expectancy in the Niger Delta would be around 9 or 10 (that’s a conservative statistic) —all they would ever have are: a bowl of oil spills for breakfast, a plate of greenhouse emissions for dinner & grief sandwiched between.
Policemen would f**k him using pure water satchels as condoms & afterwards ask for a bribe.
He would drown crossing the Mediterranean or sold for peanuts in Libya.
He would yelp & complain on the mad streets of twitter but will never come out to vote out oppression.
The sun would die in his mouth in Kirikiri or other eyeless places where those who try to sing new songs are stripped, chained & tortured.
He would not be in school but on the sidewalk, holding a blue plastic bowl for your damn pity or under the leprous stare of the sun cleaning your windshield at a red light.
SARS would shoot him & the government hospital they will rush him to will not have electricity.
He would be a broke ass poet like me.
IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN
by Othuke Umukoro | POEMS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Othuke Umukoro is a poet & playwright. His demons have appeared, or are forthcoming in The Sunlight Press, Brittle Paper, AfricanWriter, Eunoia Review & elsewhere. His debut play Mortuary Encounters (Swift publishers, 2019) is available here.
When bored, he watches Everybody Hates Chris. He is on Twitter: @othukeumukoro19
Rabbi was a young girl of five, and she watched men with knives drawn cut down her Father and mother like meat on the butcher’s slab. Sinzu was on his way home to tell his parents about his new job with Microsoft Technologies when he ran into a band of murderous crusaders. With a clean sweep of his dagger, one of them separated Sinzu’s limbs from his body, while laughing out loud…
These are a few of the ordeals of the many dying in Jos, Benue and the rest of the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
The sight was gory, stark and insanely cold
Strewn all around were pieces of flesh and bone untold
Blood like raindrops in a jarring thunderstorm
Blast up and beyond into a non-existent form
The gruesome remains of something, hitherto someone
How it seems life has abruptly lost all significance
Inhuman mortals, sociopaths lost in a trance
Calculated insanity and destructive rage
A brazen decimation, a rapacious soul ravage
A surge of terror at ground zero
Pillaged houses and broken homes
Burnt country side and earth devoid of loam
Killers with no conscience, martyrs for a vain cause
Devil incarnates on a killing spree with no pause
Amputated limbs, a compulsory price survivors pay
Are we at war, many seem to ask in pain
Innocent lives lost forever to no gain
When will the reign of terror end?
When shall we grieve and to our wounds tend
If our foe’s ire is unremitting, and our dead innumerable
Shall the impeccant suffer for another’s grudge?
Or the unlucky traveller partakes of a dish he must purge.
Who then shall come to the rescue?
If the helmsman can’t, who will in lieu-?
Save our lives, b’cos death is on a dance rampage
Our brave ‘men’ are on the frontline
The lily-livered in the government at the baseline
Our young have become hostages to treasure
The old of their death so cocksure
And we, though long dead in our hearts live each day
Shall we look up to the Creator?
Or shall our liberty remain with the captor?
Should we stand by helpless and vie?
Watching and waiting our turns to die
Or we cry till the tears are gone from our eyes?
Never! No! Not yet! It is not over I say!
There is not much hope, not even to keep terror at bay
But! We will sit and watch no more
We all must stand to fight even with our sores
This we will do till death’s cold hands withdraw
This we won’t stop till the rage of terror cease.
In tribute to the many dead, countless bleeding and others suffering the crime of being born in the Nigerian middle-belt and the Northeast. We are in solidarity with you, we are praying for you!
An outcry to reveal the hopeless helplessness of a people being subjected to such horrific ordeals without anything being done about it. Its as though their lives are not worth more than cows.
The debate largely and strangely has been on how to appease the killers, while the death toll has continued to rise. We say a brazen NO to this…
TERROR TALES AND THE BLOOD BATH
by Israel-Triumph Olaniyan | POEMS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am Israel-Triumph Olaniyan. I hail from Ondo State and I am a lawyer who currently resides in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. I am a writer, a Poet and a song writer. I am a trained Development Knowledge Facilitator with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Community Development Service of the NYSC. I am currently undergoing the one year compulsory National Youth Service at The Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Awka. I enjoy reading, playing the guitar, singing and eating. I am a staunch believer in Jesus and a stickler for sound moral values and ethics.
Perhaps the most celebrated African writer on the continent today, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a woman whose wealth of talent has not gone unnoticed. From her success in the publishing industry to her strides in the field of public speaking, she has made a name for herself. She is known all over the world for her unmatched achievements. However, not many can claim much knowledge about the woman behind all the acclaim. Hence, the need for us to shine a spotlight on the parts of her life which some might not be too familiar with.
Born on the 15th of September in Enugu, Nigeria as the fifth of six children, Adichie was raised by two high-ranking members of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Growing up in a family which held literacy in such high esteem, she was easily drawn to the allure of books. However, this did not necessarily translate to a desire for a career in writing as she opted to study Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria. This did not last for long though; at age 19, after less than two years of study, she moved to the United States, where she enrolled in Drexel University, Philadelphia for a degree in communications. She graduated summa cum laude in 2001. During this time, she had published two little-known books: a play and a poetry collection. She also got nominated for the Caine Prize which was still in its nascent years.
Photo accessed via Daily Time NG
Adichie’s Rise to Fame
After bagging a master’s degree in creative writing from the John Hopkins University in 2003, her literary pursuit was kicked into high gear. That year, her debut novel, Purple Hibiscus was released to overwhelmingly positive acclaim, bagging numerous international awards. This was followed by the two novels which are often points of debate as to which is her magnum opus – Half of A Yellow Sun and Americanah.
Half of A Yellow Sun is a painful recollection of the events of the Biafran War, humanized by the simple stories of everyday characters whose lives are complicated by the senseless genocides and displacement rampant during such wars. The novel was hailed by many as the modern equivalent of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for its eloquent prose and immersive storytelling. It was made into a movie starring Oscar nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Americanah came seven years later in 2013 as the bold, fierce meditation on race and class relations in post-9/11 America. Its unwavering voice and deft technique earned it a global attention. It was recently chosen by book readers all over New York and Maryland as their favourite book to be recommended for all readers, from a long list of several internationally-acclaimed books from numerous nationalities. The novel is being made into a movie by Brad Pitt, with Oscar-winner, Lupita Nyong’o set to play the lead role.
“The Danger of a Single Story”
In less than three years after Adiche published her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, she had a grand entrance into global relevance with an engaging speech at TED. She exposed the precariousness associated with believing a single story about a person, a country, and a continent. The talk went viral in 2009 and has raked over 3 million views on YouTube as at the time of publishing this piece. She told the story of how she found her authentic voice while reading the works of other great writers. Adichie made the world see Africa in a new light and shattered the partition of misunderstanding existing between African literature and the Western world.
“We Should All Be Feminists”
In 2012, Adichie gave a talk at a TEDx event, discussing gender and appropriation in the African cultural landscape. The speech was a reverberating discourse on the way society easily pigeonholes individuals based on predefined gender constraints. The speech gained additional attention after multi-Grammy-winning American pop star, Beyoncé used samples of the speech in her feminist song, Flawless. The speech is considered today to be a starting-point for many discussions on feminism.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Photograph accessed via Flickr
The speech gained additional attention after multi-Grammy-winning American pop star, Beyoncé used samples of the speech in her feminist song, Flawless.
Adichie’s international relevance elevates her to the point of almost being unequalled in the past few years. But she does have a number of contemporaries whose work exist within the same calibre as hers: Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, Camara Laye and so on.
Adichie has won over 20 international literary prizes; including the Henry O. Prize, Commonwealth Writers Award: First Book, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, American National Book Critics Circle Award and so on.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Photograph accessed via Flickr
Purple Hibiscus – 2003
Half of A Yellow Sun – 2006
Americanah – 2013
Checking Out – 2013
Apollo – 2015
Arrangers of Marriage – 2016
We Should All Be Feminists – 2014
Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
As we conclude, it is worthy to note that Adichie recently turned 40 in September but her excellent strides on and off the page within 15 years of active writing speaks volume. Her gigantic profile cannot be fully captured in this article but this is a summary of her unique sojourn in the world of letters.
Now, it’s your turn to share your thoughts. What is it that inspires you about the Adichie? Let us know in the comments section below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist and writer of fiction. He is the Managing Editor of Kreative Diadem. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. His writings border on the themes of unease, racism, colonialism, terror and all things familiar to the black folk. He describes his art as that specialized literary alchemy which aims to extract beauty from the frail commonplaceness of words.
His experimental works have appeared or are forthcoming on such platforms as Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Bombay Review, Lunaris Review, African Writer, Sprinng.org, Authorpedia, Kreative Diadem, Parousia Magazine and Sampad International Journal. He was the 2016 recipient of the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize.
Journeying through Abeokuta one morning, a fleet of motorists sped out of the jam and soaked the air in reckless dust. An hour later, I came across a suicide scene: a silent woman wavering on the bridge.
A dawn of dim feathers; the road spat
Loud, a new mist of robot chaos
Where limbs were groves of lust, rouse
Beneath throngs of screech and curse
A faint dark in the wind, not voice-froths
Whom the morning had made all one with the soft
Receding shadow, stale shafts of night
The highway split is rounded by dwarfs, double-tiered
And strange procession on the flick of time
Offers a brown-rimed brew—of a lone sheath freed
From presences nocturnal, brown-eyed, brows brown
Shaped by the saddened hour. The light awaited harvest
Of the winding breeds when air was brown,
Brown as furrowed bricklayer beard shrivelled off
The brown-wings of the sun
Brown season it was—nostril
Draws breath in dew-wet ash, eternal to the soul…
Eternal to me comes the brush of feet
In sweet sprint of gore-shone death,
Sepia Photo credit – Pelumi Kayode
But it arose—
A strange image, when yet I saw
Sudden form at the haze
Of death’s brown consul, slouched
Despair of moth-plagued fur at embrace
Of the lingering guardian trough, silent as the world
And in that moment broke her tear of libation,
The brown suds of her heart. A racing cloud
Sunk her chin, for death she had known
First reaper of the dust to time’s scorn,
Pale-eyed of the blurry dome… yet such
Startled pause at the hem she knew
Now the trench teems with grief,
Joyful rite from the vicious deep
Brown was I, then, witness though
I spied the world through her eyes,
A human will indifferent to the hour’s passion
Shrunk in my ears, rose rueful
The imprecations of all humanity…
Woman, you must stretch out
Like the sky. And shred your soul
Against the brown belly of the morning river
Postscript: a poem which illustrates the tragic and fragile paradox of human survival in the spectacle of a suicide scene.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oyin Oludipe lives and writes in Nigeria. He is the recipient of the 2013 WRR Poetry Beacon Prize. His poetry, essays, and reviews have been featured or are forthcoming in Radar Poetry Journal, The Guardian, Afrikana.ng, Africanwriter.com, Arts and Africa, Akewi Arts House, The Provo Canyon Review, The Bombay Review, Image Magazine of the University of Ibadan, and others. In 2015, he was a judge for the Green Author Prize, a literary award for young unpublished poets in Nigeria.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a bibliophile who believes in the power of literature as a burning sword to tear through the curtains of darkness which becloud the society. He has been published on several sites and anthologies. He has had the priviledge of clinching a few literary awards in his quest to influence the world through the might of his pen. He is the brain behind the SPRINNG Literary Movement.