Monday, December 24, 2007

Never fly United Airlines if you can help it

Christmas Eve. Sitting in my apartment on the phone with a computer that enjoys hanging up on me. Flight to Los Angeles has been cancelled now twice. They called me the first time at 6am this morning and rescheduled my flight for 10am tomorrow. I prided myself on being extra nice, since I knew that most customers on the cancelled flight were probably pretty irate. I didn't mind the extra day because most of my family is flying in tomorrow anyway.

The second cancellation they didn't call me. I just went to check online before going to bed so I could get some sleep before my 1am taxi to take the 2:20am bus to get to the airport I need to fly out of, and noticed that it said "cancelled" before my flight, and that the new time was 8pm tomorrow, to arrive at 10:30pm.... and the trip to the airport from where my brother and cousin live is at least an hour. Since then, I have talked to a variety of agents, one of whom kept giggling and sounded like he was on pot. Have been hung up on at least 10 times. The first person I talked to confirmed that this was a "crew" problem, not a weather problem. So, when I asked if there was some sort of compensation, she talked to her supervisor, and they told me I could get a $25 voucher on United. "For two days worth of cancellations!?" I ask her incredulously. "That's the best we can do, maam," she says. "All right," I say, "I know it's not your fault. Have a Merry Christmas...." My brother tells me I should call back and insist that they put me on another airline. My dad tells me that I should insist on talking to supervisors if they can't help me. And thus continues the saga (great swell of organ and piano on the staticky "hold" music)...

Now, if this last agent can't help me, I'll take it as a sign from God that I am supposed to spend Christmas studying for my prelims....


So, (and I type this live) I finally talk with this very nice agent, who tells me that THAT flight, apparently in the few minutes in which I had been trying to change to an earlier flight, has ALSO been cancelled due to "crew" problems (THIRD flight cancellation today), and that the only flight she can get me on is an American Airlines flight that will get into Los Angeles at 11:10pm. I take it, along with another $100 voucher. But, do I dare ever actually use the vouchers?

I look forward to American Airlines...

I don't think I shall ever fly United again if I can help it....

So, Christmas prelims studying... here I come...

At least I'm at home and not in the airport. We thank God for small blessings...

My conversations with the computer tonight (recorded from memory) at 1800-United1:

Welcome to United Airlines. Please listen carefully. Press 1 to make a reservation. Press 2 if you already have a reservation." If you need time, please say, "please wait," if you don't know it, say "I don't know" Please say the reservation number, since some numbers like B or V are hard to tell apart, please use them with common first names such as "M" as in "Mary."

I have a "v" in my confirmation, so try "v" as in "valentine." They don't get it. I think of names with "v." "Vera?" "Violet?" "Van Damme?"

Got it. What's the first and last name of the passenger. Would you like to confirm the trip, change it, request seats, request a wheel chair, or speak to an agent.

After the 10th time, I consider requesting a wheelchair.

Let me get a reservations agent for you. I'll make sure the agent gets the information you've already given me. Thank you for calling United Airlines, we apologize for the delay. Please stay on the line....

I am on hold for about two minutes and then I hear a polite canned voice (for the upteenth time)

I'm sorry for the difficulty. Rather than take up any more of your time, I'm going to go ahead and end your call....

So be it.... and so ends my relationship with United Airlines.

Photo Credits:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Global connections in Music Video objectification of Women: adhiambo sinda

Ok, so, as I'm studying linguistics today... watch for visual motifs in this Kenyan song alongside the Sean Paul and Dare Art Alade that I posted a few weeks ago. I must say this one and Dare Art Alade are "funner" than Sean Paul's.

And what the heck is Che doing in the background. Is that Bruce Lee beside him? Any swahilli speakers out there who could shed some light on this?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"In Defence of the Films We Have Made" by Odia Ofeimun

When I'm writing a paper, I have such a hard time stopping myself from reading and actually starting to write. There is just so much to read, and I love feeling my mind growing and expanding--of learning--devouring knowledge. Today, I sat down on my couch while the snow fell outside and hand wrote an extended outline, so as to keep myself from turning on my computer and getting distracted, and then instead of turning on the computer and starting to write, I had to read one more thing.

The thing I chose to re-read (having first read it about a year and a half ago) was "In Defence of the Films we have made" the keynote address given by Odia Ofeimun at the 2nd National Film Festival in Lagos on 27 November 2003. Both celebratory and thoughtful, It is simply the best essay I have ever read on the Nigerian film industry, both placing it within a historical context and theorizing towards the future. I have been reading it from issue 8 of Chimurenga (2005), which some friends of mine in South Africa sent me, but when I searched for it online, I see that it has also been published by West Africa Review Issue 5 (2004), so I'll cut and paste a few passages from that.

"In Defence of the Films We Have Made"
by Odia Ofeimun

Excerpt 1:

"Needless to say, the home-video has become the hegemonic means of defining the Nigerian film sense. Whatever is said about any other way of making stories on screen, it is the video film that will necessarily for the foreseeable future dominate the Nigerian film festival. For every day of the year, three new video films are unloaded upon the Nigerian market. Every year in the past half decade, about 200,000 to 300,000 new hands have been lifted from the throes of unemployment and underemployment by the gloss and glitter of the small screen. Conjointly, they generate about five billion Naira annually. Stranded artists, areas boys and area fathers, authors, dramatists, actors and closet fabulists have found their niche in the pack. Actors who had run away from the penury that haunted the stage have been brought back to life! Though they were dead now they are a vibrant part of a community that literally bubbles. Devotees of the stage who had been reduced to breaching their talents, and living near derelict lives, wondering what kind of society leaves her artists to suffer in so many distracting sectors, have acquired the gravitas of an established community. No longer are they among the artists who are sneered at by other moneyed professionals who are no better than what used to be called agbero bourgeoisie because they merely load other people’s wagons. Now the home video artist is not lumped with other artists who are ritually blamed for not being business-oriented. Within the norm of the home video, it is enough to be a scriptwriter, actor, dramatist, cameraman, director or singer although professionalism is still far away.

If you look at our hunger-besotted slums and our beleaguered villages, you find that many, so many, are finding their feet because of a trade that removes the duller moments from the depression of our neglected, unmanaged and generally manager-less towns and cities. Authors displaced by the collapse of the publishing industry have made a detour from the usual haunts in favour of the home-video turf. One look at any home video film, and the gushy life that it carries, brings a sense of how much of our society was dead and dying without finding a time to bloom. As such, gratitude must well up in the hearts of those enamoured of artistes who had given so much to the arts and are only just being saved for a season of eternity in the company of a vibrant younger generation by the home video films. This is to say that what appeared in the beginning as merely making do has opened floodgates to the peculiar Nigerian genius for creativity and enterprise. The burst of social energy that it has unleashed has very few parallels in any other areas of our national life except perhaps in the parallel growth of Pentecostal churches which it has serviced in many cities and which in an uncanny way services it."


Excerpt 2
"The avalanche of issues that films have covered bear testimony to unparalleled creativity which should make and have been making Hollywood buffs take notice. The sheer volume is unprecedented even if repetitious and not always obedient to the laws of professional decorum or excellence. For this reason, I would concede that the video films run the danger of merely supplying Hollywood with the raw materials to re-claim our shores in the not too distant future. But for now, in spite of a ritualistic slapdashness, there is so much energy and creativity that older motion picture industries have something to learn from. From boardroom struggles to political power play, military adventurism and godfatherism in politics, ritual murder, drug abuse and the rehabilitation of drug abusers, witchcraft and churchcraft, high living and low life, prostitution and AIDS, the home videos are brashly, even if self-consciously, seductive. They are turning out the Nigerian story in a no-holds-barred fashion which leaves no room for anybody to hide. In this, they recall the sass of junk journalism and, in a sense, what was called guerilla journalism under the military. Undeniably, they reveal an enormous lot about us and our society that is not beautiful. Not infrequently, they themselves are not beautiful or passable. But why judge an artistic culture by its commercial pulp rather than its outstanding performances. It is like the misbegotten booboo in literary criticism which takes the motley of self-published, poorly edited works, as basis for judging the vibrancy of Nigerian literature. In such situations, it is the judges who, inadvertently, are judging themselves."

To read the whole essay, see West Africa Review.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Global connections in Music Video objectification of Women: Dare Art Alade's "Fuji Music"

YES, I'm studying....

Note the visual connections between Dare Art Alade's music video "Fuji Music" and Sean Paul's "Ever Blazing," which should appear below this post.

Both songs feature obsessively catchy rhythms and "obscenely" shaking booty...

There is another paper waiting to be written here...

Global connections in Music Video objectification of Women: Sean Paul's "Ever Blazing"

Gidan Iko: House of Power

Em, so, I'm in the midst of studying for prelims.... and preparing for a film paper...

One of these days, I'm going to write a paper on the genre of the Hausa film trailer (and perhaps its use on YouTube), which becomes in itself a mini-film, woven together by the chorus of one of the film's catchiest songs and dances. Note here framing and composition (especially in that opening shot), use of colour, the rhythmic graphic matching in the editing. Through the use of the song to weave together significant moments of the film, we see a concern with the power structures of the nation, alongside the crowd pleasing rhymes about love.

And to make this relevant to my prelims studying, note the magnificent examples of linguistic code switching. I love being a scholar of popular culture! {-;

And to link this to my other research, here is a very bad video I took on my digital camera in Kano last year in an open-air theatre of Abbas Sadiq and Zainab Idris (the dancers seen in the video here) dancing to the playback version of this song "Gidan Iko." (I have heard that this open air theatre may have since been destroyed.
Apparently the lyrics of this song are by Adam Zango (Usher), the artist and musician currently imprisoned for trying to market his music video "BaHaushiya", that had not been censored, during the film ban in Kano. (According to his critics, he was defaming Hausa women by calling a song where a woman dances provocatively "BaHaushiya" (Hausa woman).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Warm Fuzzy teaching moments

So, one wouldn't think, after my post of a couple of days ago, that I would write something like this. But after having taken a couple of days break from grading (too much other stuff to do) I'm back at it, and this time getting warm fuzzies. What is exciting (now that I've gotten past the initial bad papers--I'm sure there are more to come) is to see students learning and writing about things that interest them. We gave them a variety of paper topics and the option to do what they are interested in rather than the "formula" paper, and, although I'm nervous about grading our "creative options" (I've set those aside for last), it's such a joy to read those few stellar papers that are almost perfect: well written, well-researched, intelligently thought out, engaging.... I just wrote on one paper, "I've been reading dozens of papers tonight, and it's so pleasurable to come across a paper that I not only enjoy reading but from which I learn something. You write very well..." On another (a student I know was just accepted into grad school), I wrote "You already sound like a graduate student!"

This is why we teach, I suppose, for those brief moments of joy when we see students synthesizing and connecting with what they are learning. You see all those sources in their works cited, and you think, "They know this now." This is now a part of their knowledge. Perhaps they will bring up the points they've cited in this paper in conversation with family and friends in related conversations.... And in the exceptional papers, you think "I just learned something new." And that is exciting.

I also have students post a comment or question on the readings or lectures to an email listserve once a week, and, despite a few mid-semester evaluation grumbles (most like it; a few don't), it always gets progressively better throughout the semester. I love seeing them think through things and using the tools they've learned to better analyze what they are reading and hearing.

So, even though I have about 50 more papers to grade and even though I'm stressed out of my mind because my prelims dates have been set for January 16 and 18 (sooner than I was planning--I'm not at all ready), I'm happy, sitting here at my kitchen table with papers all around me--sorted into various grades. I'm happy because I have 70+ students, who I really like even if I do still forget their names sometimes, most of whom are smart and interested in Africa. And if some of them still use the word "tribe" and "native," well, hopefully they'll remember my comments on their papers.... WWWD.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


so... i'm trying to prepare for a short lecture on African popular culture tomorrow before showing Djibril Diop Mambety's film...and...

Monday, November 26, 2007

WWWD: What would Wainaina do....

So, I'm in the midst of grading some 70+ papers and finding myself making loud growling noises--I SWEAR if I see "native Africans" or "tribal" or "nation" (for the continent of Africa) used one more time after I sent an explicit email to my students outlining my peeviest of pet peeves.... And after one dear child ends her otherwise insightful paper about the mis-uses of humanitarian aid in Africa with the phrase "we will start to see a country coming out of the darkness and into the light," I find myself writing: "What would Binyavanga Wainaina say?"

Because, you see, they had to read that Binyavanga Wainaina essay "How to Write About Africa" at the beginning of the semester, and he is my reference point whenever I think the dang textbook Understanding Contemporary Africa (a rather bad textbook trying to condense "understanding" all of Africa [politics, economics, religion, literature, history, etc] to about 200 pages) is over-generalizing, which is most of the time--or we see an old cliched documentary in lecture.... or someone asks in class how "we" can "save" Africa....

"What would Wainaina say?" I ask... WWWS

So, I FINALLY get to teach a film (Mambety) this week and Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions next week--back to African voices--thank GOD! After a semester teaching an African Studies introductory survey course, I am grateful that I chose to follow literature and film and spend the rest of my life teaching what African writers have had to say for themselves rather than what other people have to say for them.... I open each discussion section with a poem by an African writer--whether we are studying economics or politics, and whether it totally relates or not... Just my own little way of trying to remind the students that those voices do exist...

Photo Credit: Creative Writing @ EMU

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Heroism of Ordinary People: An Interview with Helon Habila

Thanksgiving day in America... a cornbread dressing in the tradition of my Louisiana grandmother is in the oven and a pumpkin pie is done and cooling on the counter. I'm going to my advisor's house later for dinner to celebrate with some other African students. My interview with Helon Habila was published this week. I am thankful:

This is the 1000 word (ie. gutted) version of an interview with Helon Habila I conducted via telephone last Tuesday before he left for his book tour in Nigeria. (The easy part was transcribing. I spent hours cutting it to get it to 1000 words... ughh...) The story of the interview itself is a longer one, which perhaps I will post about sometime, but Habila was one of the most gracious people I have met via telephone.... The following was published in Leadership this past Monday, 19 November 2007. Unfortunately, the link is no longer up, but this is how it appeared in the newspaper. (In an interesting aside, my dad met him today after the reading at the University of Jos.) Perhaps I'll post the entire interview on my other blog when I have a chance to edit it properly; it will be published in the journal Abiku early next year. But here is the short version:

"The Heroism of Ordinary People: An Interview with Helon Habila"

Award winning novelist Helon Habila grew up in Gombe State. After earning his BA in English at the University of Jos in 1995, he taught at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi. Moving to Lagos in 1999, he became the arts editor at the Vanguard and wrote a novel, published as Waiting for An Angel in 2002, which won the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2001 and the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003. Habila has published stories, articles, and poems in journals world-wide and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia. After a stint as the first Chinua Achebe fellow at Bard College in New York, Habila took a position at George Mason University where he teaches creative writing. He is in Nigeria from November 17 to November 24 to promote his second novel Measuring Time. In this interview on behalf of LEADERSHIP, he speaks with Talatu-Carmen [my real name used in the publication; i suppose i should stop this ridiculous attempt to protect my identity--pretty much everybody who reads this blog knows who I am], a PhD student at a university in the USA, about his writing.

Talatu-Carmen: I was wondering what your creative process is like. Where do your stories come from?

HABILA: I really cannot say exactly, but I am really inspired by books. Sometimes I write in reaction to books I have read. Then there is also my experience: Measuring Time has a lot of that—my experiences as a child growing up. There was a time when I realised that I wanted to write about my hometown. From that moment whatever I did I viewed it through the eyes of fiction, thinking of how to represent the people I met, the things I did, the places I saw. I was thinking of them as already a part of my book that I was going to write. I was going to write Measuring Time even before I started writing Waiting for an Angel.

In both of your novels the act of writing itself seems to take on a political significance. What, to you, is the political responsibility of the writer?

Well, quite a lot, especially as an African writer. I think there is that tradition which started from the first generation of African writers. They were writing against the whole colonial system, which was very repressive, very racist, very dictatorial. They actually used to have congresses where they would discuss the best way to write fiction in a way that would address the political issues of the day. Even before that, in traditional African society, from the folk tales, there’s always a kind of moral lesson, a kind of didacticism that is seen as an aesthetic part of that story. So politics more or less becomes an aesthetic in African fiction. There are no boundaries between what is purely political and what is art. Art becomes politics and politics becomes art. So I think people like me who find themselves in that tradition, and have that temperament, that awareness of what is going on, who feel that things shouldn’t be the way they are, have a duty to speak out. It is tradition and it’s also a matter of temperament, because there are definitely writers in Africa who don’t write about politics. They write art for art’s sake, or whatever you want to call it.

Could you say more about the influences of Hausa literature on your writing?

Definitely. I grew up reading the translation of One Thousand and One Nights in Hausa and the works of Abubakar Imam, Magana Jari Ce, Ruwan Bagaja, etc. So there is that magical or folkloric representation of reality, which is very different from pure realism. I was definitely influenced by that. And before that I was also influenced by folktales told to me by women in the compound. So, these Hausa books I discovered later were almost a continuation of that story tradition with the magical elements, spirit figures and things like that.

Both of your novels deal with history. In Measuring Time, the character Mamo wants to write a biographical history. Is this one of your own goals?

Definitely, I think so. Because so much that we have is fast fading away and being taken over by the modern, I see writing itself as cultural conservation. That is exactly what Mamo’s project is, conserving the history of people…, because they were misrepresented by the [missionary] Reverend Drinkwater. If you represent what has been misrepresented, you are putting the records right. And that is what history is supposed be. Taking moments of glory, and also ordinary moments—moments of humanity, of value to the community, and putting it down in books. It doesn’t have to be about generals, it doesn’t have to be about chiefs, it could be about ordinary people, their heroism. That is the whole point of the book, that lives should be celebrated, regardless of what office or what lack of office that person has.

Newton Aduaka, the winner of the Golden Yennenga Stallion at the FESPACO film festival, is making a film based on Waiting for an Angel. How involved have you been with this?

I’m not really involved. I’m just the author of the novel. I see film as being totally different from literature. They are both narrative art forms, but they have different ways of representing their story, their subject. I trust him as an artist. I think my novel is strong enough to stand on its own, even if the movie is a bit different in some of its portrayals.

Have you ever thought of writing a screenplay or becoming involved in film?

I really want to do that some day. Some people approached me to write a movie script. I started writing it and then it became a novel! I’m really enjoying the experience. I don’t know how far it’s going to go, but I’m definitely going to go into movies one of these days. To write, or even direct, if I have the chance. The movie industry is just incredible, and I think this is the moment to get involved.

All right, thank you so much.

Thank you, you’re welcome.

Photo credit: Helon Habila with Jeremiah Gyang and Ola Soyinka. Kudus to amazing middlebelt artists! From Naijablog

Saturday, November 10, 2007

African Film Conference

Having just returned from an absolutely amazing conference on African film at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, I thought I'd share a few photos. In addition to my academic heros, there were representative filmmakers from the continent. Among the academics I was excited to have a chance to talk with further: Abdalla Uba Adamu, Brian Larkin, Matthias Krings, Onookome Okome, Jonathan Haynes, Birgit Meyer, Kenneth Harrow, and many more. "Nollywood" reps: Joke Silva, Madu Chikwendu, Francis Onwochei, Ghanian filmmaker Socrate Safo, and Cameroonian filmmaker Joyce Ashuntantang. Photo 1: Onookome Okome and Abdalla Uba Adamu; Photo 2: Ghanian filmmaker Socrate Safo was passionate about his craft and was a delight to watch "in action" as he grounded the often flighty academic theorizing with practical examples of current issues of technology and practice in the Ghanian film industry; Photo 3: Brian Larkin and Abdalla Uba Adamu on a panel; 4) Socrate Safo presents clips from three of his films; 5) Cameroonian filmmaker and actress Joyce Ashuntantang shows a clip from her film, Potent Secrets, and speaks about her feminist motivations.

One of the best parts of the conference was getting to interact with the filmmakers from Nollywood, Ghana, and Cameroon. Hearing them speak in conjunction with the academic papers, I was particularly struck by their passion and their professionality--the absolutely brilliant business that Nigerian (and Ghanaian) filmmaking has become. But while there were still a few academics who echoed the cliched critiques of "Nollywood" filmmaking being "only about making money," Socrate Safo, Joke Silva, Madu Chikwendu, and Francis Onwochei emphasized (and embodied) the intentionality of the craft. These filmmakers are not greedy amateurs out to just make money (although money is certainly a very practical concern in an artform that is also a business--films cannot be made without money), but artists and performers who love and are passionate about what they do. I was particularly impressed with the few clips I saw of Safo's films--lighting, camera angles, mise en scene, and wonderful use of an original music score.

The main impression I came away from the conference with was that the dichotomy between "African cinema" and the "video film" is a false one, and that while various histories, funding, and technologies must be taken into consideration, films on celluloid and video can and should be put side by side in analysis of African film. This is why (even before this conference) I have been calling Nollywood and Kannywood productions "films" rather than "video films." As digital technology becomes prevalent even among filmmakers coming out of a celluloid training (Jean Pierre Bekolo's Les Saignantes, for example), the technical differentiation between "video" and "film" seems to be a rather useless one. At the conference, the prevalent terms used were "Fespaco films" and "video films;" however, much of the discussion centered around the need to complicate the framework that has so far divided analysis of one from the other.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rest In Peace Cyprian Ekwensi

This is a little bit late, but a post in honour of the late Cyprian Ekwensi, author of Jagua Nana, Burning Grass, and others. He died at age 86.

Here is a 2006 interview that Basil Okafor conducted with him for the Daily Sun.

Illustration credit: Basil Okafor

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shari'a Court bans satirical play in Kaduna

Shehu Sani's satirical play on the political misuse of shari'a, The Phantom Crescent, has been banned from being performed or circulated by the Kaduna upper shari'a court. According to Shehu Sani the recent "Hiyana" scandal "became an excuse for a new onslaught against artists," spreading out from the ban on film and harsher restrictions on novels to the ban on his play in Kaduna. See the article here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

3:40am: Why I love Hausa films

It is 3:40am, and I am cutting, cutting, cutting extra words out of a fellowship proposal that is too verbose and too vague, and too BS-y, which is a shame because I know this stuff really well. It's just hard to say when you have to put all the details of research methods, background, argument in 10 pages, when you haven't quite ironed out your dissertation proposal yet.

So, this post is just to say why I love Hausa films. I love Hausa films because I can click on my you tube clips at 3:40am when I am stressed out of my mind and they make me smile. Yes, the editing is corny, and there are mispellings in the subtitles, and the melodrama is sometimes over the top, Yes, they make me laugh here in on my hard chair at 3:45am. But I also love them because there are beautiful compositions, and fast, obsessive, editing, and strong colour motifs that run through the trailers. I love them because the music is so obsessive that I listen to it minimized as I write, and the deep focus shots and the stop motion dances are so mesmerizing that I have to go back and watch the whole thing over again. At 3:46, when I'm stressed because I've overphilosophized my project, I go back to the concrete videos and know I have to keep on, because it is my opportunity to work with artists who make a living from their art. And no matter how denigrated they are, they'll figure out a way to make it work, insha Allah.

No, I don't like censorship, but in some ways, the adaptations people come up with because of censorship makes more creative products. I've been watching early Hollywood pictures that couldn't show violence so came up with creative off-screen sound. I think it will work the same for the Hausa films.

But, oh, I mourn those brilliant song and dances. I hope that the ban on those is lifted--because they encapsulate so much sheer creativity on so many different levels and are at the very heart of what I want to write about.

Because I love it. That's why I'm up at this time, and why I'm in this cold place, stressed out all the time. Because I love it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

cherish the day

Sade makes me lonely. I sit on a hard wooden chair in front of a blinking computer screen. I have been putting off this grant application all weekend. I have gone through half of the anthology of Hausa film essays. I have reread my own past grant applications and those my friends have sent me. I have brainstormed on paper. I have rethought my entire project 10 times. This morning, I went to a one hour mass at the Catholic Church down the street and then came back to lay in my bed, warm under a down comforter. The rain fell outside and the air from the open window was sharp on my face. The radiators clanked and creaked. I lay in bed making myself write the proposal in my head, dream the proposal. I wake to the phone ringing. It is my mother together with my brother, who is back in Nigeria on a preliminary documentary project. We chat until they are interrupted by a Skype from my Dad calling from Khartoum. I eat a quarter bag of chips and salsa at the kitchen table, trying to write down in a notebook the proposal I had dreamed. When I finally go to the other room and lift the screen and try to write, it is dark outside. I watch 20 minutes of the screensaver, my life in photos: weddings, other people’s children, my pregnant cousin, stills from Hausa films and an old black and white German vampire film, graduations, parties, conferences, famous African writers, unflattering close-ups of people I don’t know, and my own solitary self portraits in teapots and distant mirrors. Sade sings a mournful Hallelujah. I tap on the keyboard to face the march of words again.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Barka da sallah!!

To my Muslim Friends,

Barka da sallah! Happy Eid Al-Fitr!! Allah ya ba da albarka!


(and in other news I went to a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reading and panel discussion tonight, and RANDOMLY bumped into a woman who had been two years ahead of me in high school. She comes up to me and says... you look so familiar... and so we go quickly down fourteen years of life history, where we had overlapped in certain places but not met, till we got to high school in nigeria and that was where it was... what a lovely small world it is...)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Albashi 2 trailer

Today I called my friend Abbas Sadiq, the intense, one-of-a-kind-dressing Hausa actor and director, to see how he is doing during this suspension of the Hausa film industry. "Babu aiki, wallahi," he told me. "kawai muna jira..."

So, one of the things that upsets me so much about the Hausa film wahalla is that thousands of people are out of work. How exactly are they supposed to live now...? And when the suspension is finally lifted will anyone have any money left to make films?

And the dancing and singing has been banned as well (See Ba Haushe Mai Ban Haushi's post on the new censorship guidelines). Wallahi, ina so in kuka da na tunani a kansa."

Not being able to do anything about it really, other than write and rant, I spend the afternoon that I was supposed to be spending writing a grant application, uploading singing and dancing numbers to You Tube....

So, here's the trailer for Abbas Sadiq's Albashi 2, the sequel to Albashi (salary) that I wrote my big paper on that I've given at so many conferences. How can they ban this wonderfully creative dancing and singing? How? Kash! Wayyo! Kaico!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Media Fast


I'm sorry I have been so negligent of this blog lately. I have a million things going on, including fellowship applications, none of which I seem to be getting done. I find that the internet is one of my major downfalls--the repetitive, obsessive, meaningless checking of email, facebook, blogs, etc. So, as a part of a larger project to work on discipline and focus, I am taking a week long fast from non-essential internet and other media. I WILL be back.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Distant Hymns

Before the beginning of the football game, I sit near the window reading a book about Lagos. The late afternoon light slants through the trees making the leaves glow. Drumming and chanting wafts into the window from the stadium—distorted by loudspeakers and breezes and shouts and the salsa that dances low and tinny on my radio. I think I hear a familiar hymn, sung with fervour, a prayer meeting somewhere, the loudspeakers that will continue far into the night. My first night back in Jos, the voices drift in, struggling against the muezzin at first and then blending into the chant of the cicadas and barking of the dogs and the breezes of late May. All night long, I lie in bed listening to distant Amens..… Oh, I realize, It’s “Sweet Caroline,” and I’m here in the Midwestern United States, leaves rippling outside, green for a few weeks more. A yellow rose nods on the window sill, and photos from Jos, newly hung, peer down at me. A train moans. I have some more unpacking to do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A U.S. Military Base in the Gulf of Guinea??????!!!!!??????

Is this for real???

Gulf of Guinea - Govt Soft-Pedals On U.S. Military

This Day (Lagos)NEWS
17 September 2007 Posted to the web 17 September 2007
By Juliana TaiwoAbuja

A senior government official has given reasons why the Federal Government may soft-pedal on its moves to frustrate the plan by the United States to establish a military base in the Gulf of Guinea.

THISDAY had reported last week moves by the Nigerian government to checkmate the military adventure of the United States in the oil-rich region.

But the official told THISDAY yesterday in reaction to the story that Nigeria cannot ward off the US because Nigeria "has not shown enough commitment in securing the region".

He disclosed that Nigeria government was expected to have invested $1 billion from excess crude account into the coastal security and safety arrangement in the last two years but had failed.

"The point is this, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had seen the wisdom as a former military head of state to secure the area and immediately ordered strategic surveillance of the costal zone and the Niger Delta.

"But the Nigerian officials were not comfortable with the way he was going about it because it was supposed to be subjected to debate at the floor of the National Assembly. And Obasanjo knowing that anything on national defence and security issues cannot be subjected to debate went ahead to mobilise the Navy and the Air Force for what the US called minimum security requirement for that zone because oil is important to US," he disclosed.

The senior government official said the US government expected Nigeria to have minimum-security provisions but unfortunately in the last four months the US department discovered that the process was suddenly slowing down and the new government may not go at the speed it expected.

"The US government has completed all the ground work and has moved into the offshore of Sao Tome and Principe, Angola and Guinea to secure position for their submarines and other security facilities. Nigeria is the only country that has the minimum requirement and the financial capacity to provide those facilities (vessels for the Navy and satellite communication facilities amongst others for the Air Force) because these other African countries cannot afford to put down even one per cent of what is required.

"It is a challenge for the President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to quickly work within his own defence structure and pump the money as well as continue with that his predecessor was doing if indeed it is serious about security that area though I really doubt if they can match the US now," he said.

A senior military official had disclosed to THISDAY last week that the Federal Government had begun moves to frustrate the plan by the United States to establish a military base in the Gulf of Guinea.

Defence sources had further disclosed that the Federal Government was already discussing with heads of government of the African Union and leaders of the sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African State, on how to block any move by US to establish a base in the gulf.

"Nigeria is not taking the issue lightly at all and the government is not going to allow the US establish any military base anywhere in the ECOWAS region. The interest of the US government in the Gulf of Guinea has reinforced the commitment of the government to intensify its efforts at providing the needed security in the sub-region," the source had said.
The gulf's oil and gas deposit is put in the region of 10 billion barrels.

Copyright © 2007 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wedding number 3 this summer (at which I was the [drumroll]...photographer)

(And it rivalled number 1 for sheer FUNness. Groom at this wedding, if you still read this blog..., I'm planning to upload the rest of the photos to Flickr this wkd. Tried tonight and the programme kept freezing... probably because I STILL don't have my own internet... DAMNED AT&T....)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Xtend Foundation African Scholarship

A friend of mine, Tayo Oyedeji, has started a small scholarship fund for African undergraduate students. The $300 scholarship is for students whose familys' have an annual income of less than $5000 and who are enrolled in a sub-Saharan African university in a 4-5 year undergraduate programme. The online application can be found at Please pass this information on to any deserving students you know of.

Of his motivation for starting the foundation, Tayo says "My graduate studies in the United States have cost a total of about $150,000 and I have never had to pay a single dollar because someone or a group of people established foundations to offset the educational costs of scholars with potential.

"Scholarships and foundations have helped me, an African, attain the best education the United States has to offer and I believe that 'to whom much is given, much is expected'.

"Therefore, I am setting up a foundation (Xtend Foundation) to provide $300 scholarships to 10 students in Sub-Saharan African universities. All students currently enrolled in a university in Africa (apart from members of my immediate family) are eligible to apply. "

As part of the foundation is Project 100, the goal of which is to grant scholarships to 100 university students in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2010.

For more information, see the Foundation website.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

pet peeves

(written in the order that I think of them and not necessarily in the order of most annoying, although number 1 is one of my peeviest pet peeves.)

1) People walking on the sidewalk and smoking (or sitting in a crowded area and smoking as the case may be). Pisses me off. Especially in the winter when you are in a hurry to go somewhere and you have a cold and have to breathe through your mouth and these people walking in front of you are earnestly smoking their lungs to a crisp and you can't get away from the smoke. So, today i'm standing on a street corner with about 7 other people waiting for the light to turn, and this one guy is smoking. I see everyone's nose crinkle. One girl puts her notebook in front of her face. I begin to feel sorry for the smoker in his outcast aloneness. Even hours later, the smoke still lingers in my hair.

2) Little petite girls who self-referentially dwell on their daintyness and how they can't lift things and how small they are and how they need help with this or that and subtly make tall independent-minded women who lift large unwieldy things, whether they should or not, feel like giant uncouth amazons.

3) People who walk in the bike lane rather than in the walking lane of the bike path.

4) Young women are too tan and too blonde (and too made up) in the winter (you know what I mean...?). The same sort who wear pajamas with university logos across the butt to class... I think this is an American thing?

5) Drunken people who shout what they think are clever witticisms on my street at 2am.

6) AT&T.... Internet was supposed to be transferred three weeks ago, and I'm STILL have no wireless. I have been on the phone with them for at least 6 times, and was placed on hold for two and a half hours one night before the system hung up on me and an hour and a half another night. Tonight I JUST found a very weak wireless signal wafting in from somewhere (most networks in my building are secured), and I pray it sticks around for a few more days.

7) Overly flirty people....

8) Condescending/patronizing/smug people...

9) People who are just generally unhelpful...

10) People who start dating someone after a lapse of about five months of being out of a relationship and two days later are sighing about and saying things like "it's so wonderful to be in a relationship. i don't know how (you) single people do it. you really should try having a boyfriend sometime".... erm....

11) Married men or men in serious relationships who continue to hit on women

12) HUMMERS!!!! (the vehicle, not the people who hum. I like a little hum here and there, myself.)

And what am I doing these days of no internet and no time? Teaching, preparing for teaching, and here and there trying to get a bit of reading done. Will try to be back when I have some more interesting things to say, when my computer that is in the shop is fixed, or when I think of some more of my pet peeves

Photo credit:

Friday, August 24, 2007

"The Hotel Malogo" by Helon Habila and other literary stuff

CW, since it has been two weeks since I have posted on HH.... {-;

Helon Habila has published a rather suspenseful short story set in Lagos "The Hotel Malogo" in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2007 issue. The end reminds me a bit of the ending of the chapter "Angel" in Waiting for an Angel. I LOVE his use of language.

At the moment, I'm preparing a study guide for Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, for use in the interdisciplinary "Introduction to Africa" course I will be TA-ing for this semester, and I remembered the review I had written of the sequel The Book of Not. Since it is buried in the archives of this blog and I could no longer link to it, I've re-posted it on my "literary blog." It was interesting to re-read Nervous Conditions last night with the developments of The Book of Not in mind.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This is Kannywood

In light of the recent brouhaha, this series of photos is in honour of Kannywood and the many hardworking and talented actors, directors, script writers, cameramen, makeup artists, costumiers, welfare folks, producers, editors, songwriters, singers, dancers, etc. who have, with very little high tech equipment or funding aside from the mostly Kano market to which they sell, created a thriving film industry.
It was July 2006. We were on the set of Abbas Sadiq's film Albashi 3 in a garden/park in Kano commonly used as a film set. There were three other movies being shot there that day. At one point there was a loud uproar and every one left their scenes and rushed over to a corner of the garden where there was much shouting and trading of insults. What had happened, I was told later, was that some "politicians" had come into the garden trying to "pick up" some of the actresses, who would have nothing to do with them. The "politicians" then started shouting at the male actors and saying that they were all homosexuals--look at how they were shaped like women. One of the older actors, who had been praying in a small mosque in the garden, came out and gave the men a piece of his mind, and then the rest of the actors came rushing over in a mass of solidarity--insulting the "politicians" with great zest. Everyone came back to do the next scene gleefully laughing at particularly sweet insults that had been traded and ranting about hypocrisy and sleazy big men.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The latest Kannywood scandal

I have refrained from writing about this incident until now because I figured Kannywood was getting enough bad press right now, without me adding to it. But since Hausa video film and gender is my area of research, here is a brief synopsis of the situation.

A popular Kannywood actress Maryam Hiyana (screen name taken, as seems to be the custom, from a popular film she acted in... Hiyana) has recently been implicated in a sex video made on a mobile phone camera by her boyfriend, a Lagos-based Hausa businessman. The video, created sometime last year, lasts about eight minutes and apparently shows the two of them having sex. The video was somehow leaked about a week ago and has "gone viral" via email and cell phone. Since then, the actress and her fiance have gone into hiding and could face stoning under sharia law. Seventeen other very popular actors from the Hausa film industry have also been banned from making films. According to This Day, they "were not connected to the phone clip, but were involved in immoral acts like homosexuality, fornification and drunkeness, contrary to Islamic law. Islamic clerics in the state has already urged their supporters to shun the film industry." According to the Tribune, there has been a call to close production of Hausa films for the rest of the year in order to "sanitize" the industry.

This follows on the heels of a related scandal in which four actresses from the Kano film industry were accused of being involved in a polygamous lesbian wedding. The women involved denied the allegations, claiming that the celebration was a fundraiser (which sounds much more credible to me than a polygamous lesbian wedding in Kano....). A minor actress was also found guilty of murdering her politician boyfriend a few years ago.

My own take on this is that, of course, there is some "misbehaviour" going on, but that unfortunately individual scandals are taken by the public to represent the whole industry and to confirm pre-existing stereotypes that associate the film industry with the world of karuwanci (prostitution) and iskanci (immorality, drinking, etc.--unIslamic behaviour). This makes it almost impossible for a woman to become an actress and still be considered "respectable." She could be a saint in real life and still be labled as a karuwa because of her involvement with the film industry.

Kaico! C'est dommage. It's a shame, and it has been the one thing that has been making me sad this week (in a week when I am otherwise very happy).

I thought of posting a video clip with the said actress but have decided against it.

For more information Ibrahim Sheme has posted the details, in English and Hausa, on his blog Bahaushe Mai Ban Haushi! Here are other articles at Nigeria Exchange, This Day, Leadership, the Tribune [and another article from the Tribune], Reuters, and Gateway Pundit. Also see

Saturday, August 18, 2007

garage saling in the rain

I was set and determined to go to garage/yard sales today to find things to replace household items that belonged to my former roommate and which I no longer have, so when the rain slowed today, I ventured forth on my worthy steed (read: newly basketed bike) to seek those items on my list.

Items bought in the light (and then heavy) rain from those hardcore garage sale merchants who didn't close down in the rain:

1. cookbook: Practical Thai Cooking (50 cents)
2. ceramic soapdish (75 cents)
3. small handmade pottery jar to hold toothbrush (75 cents)
4. green glass candle holder from Pier 1 Imports (50 cents)
5. red leather gloves with cashmere interiors ($3)
6. small 8 1/2 by 11 inch television to use with the VCR I bought at a garage sale last year ($7)
7. Brita filter (50 cents)
8. computer speakers ($7.50)
9. Japanese teapot ($1)
10. small plastic dustbin (75 cents)
11. large no stick frying pan ($1)
12. homemade cookie (25 cents)
13. homemade muffin (25 cents)

Total = $23.55
Items on my actual "need" list: 3

Thus I add more crap to my possessions which I will have to deal with in February when I move again.... but, at the same time, it's a lot easier to get rid of things that I got for 50 cents than things I paid $10 for new at a store.

What I love about garage saling (even in the rain) is the human contact, the neighborly feeling, the idea that you are getting something from someone near you (at greatly reduced prices) rather than an impersonal store. And I like having things that have been used before--the idea that there is a history behind them. Unlike my grandmother, who goes out at 6am every Saturday buying junk to give to people... (it runs in the family...), I'm not very good at bargaining, though I did get the speakers down from $10, but that's ok. The people who sold me the television, the computer speakers and the baked goods were nice enough to bring my things by later in their car. I love that.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thrilled and Happy... be in my own apartment. I am so sore and bruised from moving (and cleaning two apartments--the old and the new) that I can't walk straight, but so happy about having my own beautiful space. Will write more when I've gotten more unpacked.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The juice of life

Moving tomorrow, I have spent hours in my room today filing papers, receipts, letters--and in the midst of filing new letters in an old letter file, I come across a letter written to a boy I had loved in college. This was post-college when he was (at that time, briefly) engaged to someone else, but we were still exchanging letters. Rereading them now, I am struck with nostalgia, by that bright young girl I was--just out of college, living in New York with my best friend, in love with everything. Reading over those letters and feeling the warmth in them, I wonder why we parted in anger in 2001. Six years later, I no longer resent him. I am free of him, free of the need for him, and therefore can appreciate again the beauty in those words we once wrote to each other. And I wonder--should I try to contact him again (he is sitting there on Facebook... [damned Facebook]), for the sake of the friendship we once had, or let it lie?

In honour of my recent birthday, I'll quote the P.S.S.S. from the letter I had written him in March 2000 (i have the fault of never being able to throw away anything I've written, and thus I [used to] photocopy my letters.) I was twenty-two.

"It's a bit scary how time seems to race (sorry for the cliche) more and more these years, where the twenties blur past. Soon, we'll be thirty and wonder where it all went. But no, there will be years then. There is so much juice in life--so much sun and wind to gulp in. Sometimes, I just have to pause in the middle of these flurried sidewalks and look past all the buildings at the spring sky. This morning, I didn't jaywalk like usual but stopped and waited for the Walk sign. The sun came down and touched me. I was still for all of thirty seconds. That occasional stillness--that is what makes life worth it--those brief moments of God.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Na Ba ka - Jeremiah Gyang

FINALLY on Youtube!! The video is a little hmmmm, but the beauty of the voice and lyrics remains. Welcome to my current favourite song....

(And to order the cd, check out

The "Resume" Remix

And this is the remix of Jeremiah Gyang's "Na Ba Ka," in which the much deserved fame seems to have gone a bit to his head.

Kasi Tala - Jeremiah Gyang

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Achille Mbembe's response to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Dakar speech

I recieved the following message on a listserve I belong to: calling attention to the controversial speech given by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar and the response of Cameroonian scholar, Achille Mbembe on I plowed through both texts in French and then found the English translation here. Well worth the read.


From: Olivier Barlet,

Date: 08 Aug 2007

The new french President Nicolas Sarkozy went to Dakar and, on the 26th of July 2007, held a very controversial speech at the University.

As part of his speech in Dakar, Sarkozy had said: "The African peasant only knows the eternal renewal of time, rhythmed by the endless repetition of the same gestures and the same words."

"In this imaginary world where everything starts over and over again, there is no place for human adventure or for the idea of progress," the French president said.

Achille Mbembe wrote a thorough and important answer published in partnership in the newspaper "Le Messager" (Douala, Cameroun) and the Africultures Website, that we let translate into english:

Text of the speech of President Nicolas Sarkozy (in french):

Text of the answer of Achille Mbembe in french :

Please let this information circulate.

Olivier Barlet
président d'Africultures
contact : Grande rue
F - 26110 Les Pilles
Tél : +33 (0)4 75 27 74 80
rédaction Africultures/Afriscope :
123, av. Jean-Jaurès
75019 Paris
Tél : +33 (0)1 40 40 14 65

Lomba's plaigerism

Ok, at the risk of being accused of more stalkerish behaviour ({-;), I've posted on my "literary blog" an excerpt from my MA thesis, where I talk about the imprisoned Lomba's purposeful "plaigerism" of poetry in Helon Habila's Waiting for an Angel.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Helon Habila's latest line

"Often he goes to the window to stare at the footpath that runs through a cut in the wire fence to meet the road, but only dead leaves wash on the hard brown earth, back and forth, lazy, aimless, as if mocking the manic scream that lay curled in his chest, spring-tight, a tiger waiting to leap." This is the last line Helon Habila has written, according to Esquire. The line is followed by an interesting little explanation by Helon Habila on his latest writing project: a noir story for Chris Abani's collection.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Young passions

I'm packing up my apartment right now for an impending move to my very own one bedroom next week. Right now I'm in the unpleasant stage of going through all the papers that I had neatly (or not so neatly) stacked and stuck at random into my bookcases along with the books. I come across an old folder of stories, and what seems to have been the beginning brainstorm for a poem, written in the margin of some torn manuscript printout I had been editing. I used to write so much--and so much like this. Why don't I write like this anymore? Even if it was a bit flowery and occasionally cliched, it had more passion in it than I can muster up these days. I wonder if all my passion has gone into academic texts... sad thought. In my notes, I see I had intended to work on it and turn it into a sonnet. (I wrote... 'A sonnet?'') In actual fact, I have only written one sonnet in my life--and that is a very loose and sad excuse for a sonnet... Anyway, I'm typing up the brainstorm here with the line breaks (and a bit of tweaking here and there) as they were in the ms margin, minus a few way too over the top phrases. (ok, I keep coming back and editing this... so it is not as rough as it was when I first wrote this post...):

Look down
as you slant into the sky
and see the slow fall
of the hills, the red ants
of cars travelling black
trails through hazy hills.
The earth becomes vague
as if seen through silk.
And above, the sky arcs
blue, edges hemmed in white.

Once they looked up
longing, into that blue, where
hawks flew--trapped onto
the brown earth, hemmed in
by boulders and clustered clay
walls. Only dreamers thought
to fly. And perhaps for them
it was better than this sealed smooth air,
those who dared to melt at the sun
feel the ocean spray on their feet
before sinking into the sea
that was, for a while, endless.

Image credit: Roger Dean, "Flights of Icarus," in the Guardian

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Une histoire amusant, dont j'ai fait traduction

It is raining and I have been stuck in various coffee shops and library computer labs today. I did a schmucky thing this afternoon. Biking (in the rain) to my French exam, I realized (well, previous to biking, actually) that I was extremely unprepared for this translation/reading knowledge exam, and could quite possibly fail it, despite having spent my entire summer translating an article. Having spent the past two days going back over the textbook, I had found that although I had spent a lot of time translating a specific text, I hadn't spent that much time actually studying my textbook. It's been at least four years since I've taken an exam, so I had not prepared so well. When I got to the exam, I asked the instructor (a super nice lady) if it was too late to take this on another day (there are multiple exam dates), and she said that of course I could if I felt more comfortable taking it next week. (I repeat... a super nice lady). So, despite really hating to do things like this and prolonging the agony, I decided to spend a few more days doing a more comprehensive review.

Sitting at a coffee shop where I spent four hours downing pots of tea and translating various passages from my textbook, I came across this little story that so delighted me, I decided to post it on the blog. Voici un histoire que j'aime. (And this is a French -> English class, not the other way, so pardon my French... hehehe.)

A Quick Wit

Once upon a time there was a king who was superstitious but did not want to admit it. He learned that in his kingdom lived a certain man who pretended that he could read the future in the stars and predict what would was going to happen.

The king believed himself very talented, and he grew angry at this astrologer who did that which he, the king, could not do. He summoned him to come to the royal palace, having resolved to put him to death and, at the same time, to show the courtiers that his pretences were false.

Following the orders of their master, two soldiers stood ready, when the king gave them the signal, to throw the astrologer out the window. Turning round toward the poor man who had just entered the great hall of the palace, the monarch said to him:

"You pretend to know that which will come in the future. Well then, can you predict when you will die?"

The astrologer suspected the king's intentions and after reflecting for a few seconds, he responded:

"Sire, I am not able to predict the day of my death, but I know very well that I will die exactly three days before Your Majesty."

The two soldiers waited in vain for the signal. The king quickly changed his mind, and instead of killing the astrologer, he asked him to stay in the palace, to take care of himself and to run from no danger. It was necessary to take the greatest care with a life so precious.

ma traduction de "Un Esprit vif" au livre: Reading French in the Arts and Sciences. Fourth Edition. Ed. Edward M. Stack. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. p. 73

Image credit: Hans Holbein, Les simulacres de la Mort

Friday, August 03, 2007

4am calls

My dearly beloved brothers and sisters, friends, and acquaintances, who reside in Nigeria,

I am always delighted to hear from you. I am touched and honoured when one of you spends your money to telephone me in the U.S., and I really appreciate your efforts to stay in touch. However, a request, if any of you happen to be reading this. PLEASE look at your watches when you call. The Central Time Zone in the U.S., where I live, is currently six hours behind the time in Nigeria. That means that when it is 10am in Kano, it is 4am in my city. In a few months, our time zone will switch back another hour meaning that Nigeria will be 7 hours ahead of us, which means that when it is 10am in Nigeria it will be 3am here. While I am delighted to hear from people, I am usually not delighted to be woken from a sweet sleep at 2, 3, or 4am etc, especially when I have been struggling with insomnia. Additionally, it, quite rightly, pisses off my roommate, especially since this has happened at least 10 or 12 times in the last year. This is a landline, not a cell phone; therefore, a call at 3 or 4am wakes up not only myself but everyone in the house.

Therefore, while I love to hear from people, please, don Allah, don Annabi, look at your clock before you call and only call me between the hours of 9am-11pm Central Standard American time.

Thank you. Na gode.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hotunan bikin auren Sani Danja da Mansura Isah

Na ji murna in ga hotunan bikin auren Sani Danja da Mansura Isah a Ga su nan.

Photos of the Sani Danja's and Mansura Isah's wedding at Check them out here.

The following photo is of the couple with Sani Danja's 2Effects Empire partner (and prolific song writer and composer) Yakubu Muhammed.

Here are links to a couple of tabloidish articles about the wedding/relationship: Daily Triumph; Weekly Trust;

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

OD-ing on Airborn

Ok, this will be quick and filled with typos because I have to catch a bus in approximately twenty-three minutes. I'm terrified that I'm getting a summer cold/flu because my friend came to class on Monday coughing and sneezing. Normally, I'm laid back about that sort of thing. I don't want to get sick, but things happen. But because of this upcoming trip, I DO NOT want to get sick, so every time she would blow her nose I would wince and then feel terrible for wincing. So, I immediately went to a drug store and bought two things of generic Airborn, and ever since then I have been OD-ing on Airborn and multivitamins trying to fight it off. I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and voice, and I am praying, in the name of Jesus, that he will bind that demon of summer cold. Bind it, Jesus! Amen. I'm starting to become paranoid and have been washing my hands more often than usual. Anyway, I now have twenty minutes before my bus leaves and I need to go find some water so I can take some more Airborn. Adieu to my twenties. Alas, Adieu.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Congratulations to Sani Danja and Mansura Isah

Congratulations ot Sani Danja and Mansura Isah on their recent marraige. I know I already posted this video a few months ago, but it is my favourite with the two of them (out of many to choose from).

2Shotz : Carry am go

My parents got back home from their trip to the U.S. to the news that armed robbers (seemingly the same two who held my mother at gunpoint last year) attempted to enter the house again, while they were gone. The dogs seem to have scared them off this time, so then they went down to the university chapel, where according to my dad "they shot up the chaplain's car and shot one woman in the hand after taking their money and cell phones." Thank God no one was killed, but it still makes me angry.

So, on that note, here is one of my favourites... May God punish them, and 2Shotz carry am go... {-;

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dearest One

There is a distinct sense of Victorian melodrama or perhaps more... Nigerian video-film about this. The orphaned child (alternately girl and boy: a symbolic Esu perhaps?). The evil betraying uncle. The prescient father who knows his business associates will poison him... Rena should try his/her hand at a screenplay....


Dearest one,

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I am quite aware that my message will come to you as a surprise because it is indeed very strange for someone you have not met before to contact you in this regard.

I am Rena konan the only son of late Frederick Konan. [T-C: NOTE IT'S A BOY]

It is sad to say that my father passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips Abroad year 12th.Feb. 2004.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been master-minded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at that time.But God knows the truth!

My mother died when I was just 4 years old,and since then my father took me so special.Before his death on Febuary 12 2004 he called the secretary who accompanied him to the hospital and told her that he had a sum of this money is USD 9.5 million American Dollars and the money is in a bank here in Abidjan the capital city. left in fixed / suspense account in one of the prime banks here in Abidjan,that he used my name as his only daughter [T-C: NOTE IT'S A GIRL] for the Next of Kin in depositing of the fund.

He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned by his business associates. That I should seek for a foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose such as real estate or hotel management.

I want you to assist me in clearing this fund into your account overseas as a beneficiary of the fund,and also use it for an ivestment purpose.

I am just 20years old and high school certificate holder,really don't know what to do.Now I want an account overseas where I can transfer this funds. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast.The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life.

Dearest one,I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded,so that I will know I'm going to come over to your country since the bank made me to understand that they can be able to make the transfer to any country of my choice.

Now permit me to ask these few questions:-

1. Can you honestly help me as your son [T-C: NOTE IT'S A BOY!]
2. Can I completely trust you?
3.To serve as a guardian of this fund since I am only 20years.
4. What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you after the money is in your account?
5.To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and also to secure a resident permit in your country.

Besides, I'm corresponding with you from my country here in Cote D'Ivoire, West Africa and moreso there is great political war going on here in my country, that is the main reason why I contacted you to help me in getting me and my only inheritance out of this country so that I may not lose my life and the inheritance to war in this country, infact I'm facing difficulty at the moment in this country.

Furthermore, please indicate your options towards assisting me as I believe that this transaction would be concluded within seven (7)days you signify your interest to assist me. Anticipating to hear from you urgently.

Please,consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.

Thanks and God bless.

My sincere regards,Rena

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My name is Ikechukwu

Ok, I'm posting this to post something. When I first saw this I thought it was the most annoying song ever. Now, I can't get enough of it. So funny. Prepare to get it stuck in your head... (And I really will try to post something more serious later). I'm in the middle of a never-ending translation of the chapter "Din, Dawla, Dunya" from Mohammed Arkoun's Islam, morale et politique, as well as preparing an article for publication... (Yay!) So very little blogging time these days. But I will post soon.