Monday, October 23, 2006

The Actor



Recently, in an interview with Lai Ashadele for National Mirror, I got first hand experience of how good an actor, he is. I had only arrived at his place when he positioned me before a camera. He soon joined me and was already acting a script written in his head, when the camera went off. The actor says he his still in the industry. The reason we don’t see much of him is because they price him too cheap. “Why should I be making myself poor while making a young man richer?” he asked. I wonder oh!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Africa Jamfest

There is something brewing in far away Kingston Jamaica that most of us might not know about. It is called the Africa Jamfest, which is set to bring the essence of African culture to Jamaica!

The five day unique festival is scheduled for November 1-5, 2006.
African heritage, music, art and crafts, fashion will be showcased to the fullest.
For more info on this, visit
www.jamaicahomecoming.com

From here at home, Nkem Gallery is representing, and something called video film and censor board have offered to sponsor. I hope I got that right.
Dupe Ahmed, though won’t be there, her beads will represent her big time.

BOOK REVIEW


Everybody can tell a story from a book read, which is why I gave my neighbours daughter this novel to read. She read it, and she reviewed it. You wouldn't believe how young she is.



Ironic: A Mild Voice, Singing Tough and Bloody

Title : No Sense of Limits
Author : Araceli Aipoh
Published : 2005
Publisher : Magic Word Limited
Reviewer : Ekwus Maryann

And one would begin to ponder, would the cause of literature in our country and indeed continent, divert any soon? Would we continue to tow the straight line of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, very long list … Writers of thunderbolt personality that stroll the world of literature, clad in celestial garments and packaged for heaven.
We witnessed revolution in several fields of endevour in the word. We even saw acting transcend legendary folklore like ‘Gods Are Not To Blame,’ to pleasure rousing blockbusters like ‘State of Emergency’. Then Nigerians began to lust after teasers and thriller dished out by foreigners, both as books and as films. Most of us were indeed tired of the
tales by moonlight style with which literature was served us. Even though the heavy diction and venerable show of wisdom and deep meditation, made our hairs stand on end, from both excitement and total astonishment.
Our hairs are now relaxed and need the energy of youth and modern accomplishment, where literature is concerned.

No Sense of Limits written by Araceli Aipoh, a Philippine by birth, who has lived 18 years in Nigeria is a clear confirmation, that the modern age, with all its technology can nurture literary minds whose outputs are explosive.
The first starter here is the ingenuity with which the author paints a picture of the day activities of typical Lagosians. It becomes folly to thread the line of thoughts that idolizes the ancestral style of description, as the ticket to paradise.

‘Lagosians were the millions of blood cells that made the city, vibrate and be whatever it was… More than ten million people called this city home’. Pg 126.

A fact presented in intelligible and simple language, but altogether mind raking, at the realization of its depth and meaning.

‘Real Lagosians always had a reason to smile. Whoever heard of a rich psychotherapist in Lagos? Lagosians never have a time or cause to think they were going crazy’. Pg 127.

Once again she wittingly depicts the usual way of life of Lagosians which is void of tranquility but leaves them with no choice. While reading the preceding chapters, one would definitely be drawn to the subtle manner in which facts and events are described. Situations worthy of heavy diction are skillfully put down, sparing us the honour of euphemism, without losing it’s meaning, giving the reader no cause to accuse her of being prosaic.

‘Soon very soon, the lagoon will disappear and a mountain of garbage will rise from it. That’s what our grandchildren will inherit from us. Dirtiness. And ugliness. A mountain of garbage to flee from’. Pg 30.

With droplets of humour trickling from each sloppy side, Araceli describes Lagosians, using her words as ‘having an incredible passion to assert their freedom’.
No Sense of Limits
is an enchanting novel, with vignettes well deserving plaudit. The book tells the story of several lives that interweave, and finally revolve around one family. It’s about the rich, their quest for insurmountable wealth, the less privileged, driven by lust for luxury, the vengeful overcome with a germless desperation for glory. The insecure obsessed with the thought of love and marriage and the cravings of all women, to love and be loved, without limits though.
What makes it stunningly idyllic is the fact that all these people are Lagosians. The plot indeed reeks of the hustle and bustle of the notorious city. It is with an enviable sense of creativity that Araceli drew the picture of an extremely wealthy family, ‘The Gabriel Crokers’ and then brought the whole characters to intertwine with this one family.
Gabriel Croker, an extremely wealthy banker is a widower with twin daughters. Extremely beautiful. Victoria and Elizabeth, who are two entirely different personalities, become women and fall in love. The twist begins as each find out bitter truths and blindly race on the fast wheels of vengeance. This quest later destroys the lives of others. Here we witness in soul trapping words, how humans would ignore all limits in order to create a mark like none has ever seen.

We see Greg, a less privileged young boy, who rises against all odds to amass heaps of wealth beyond his dreams.
Elizabeth who gets all out to get even with her twin sister.
Kate who in the midst of poverty teethes her way to success.
Jide. Handsome, married to a stunningly beautiful woman and privileged with a happy home, ignores all sense of limits to have an affair with his sister-in-law.
Greg falls in love with Elizabeth. He is also aware of a secret that would destroy her life.
Kate on the other hand becomes obsessed with the idea of marring Greg, that she would do anything to get him, and that includes killing whoever stands in her way.
Victoria, would go as far as killing her twin sister, avenge her betrayal.

The plot gets tense, as Laura finds out she’s the illegitimate daughter of Gabriel Croker, from his affair with her mother after he lost his wife, she’s torn between confronting her father and becoming a member of the Croker dynasty, or staying aloof and remaining the close friend of the Croker daughters.

In a cool and composed mode, the writer tells of bloodshed, suffering, and pain.
I agree that dynamism is an untiring traveller, it’s also welcome in the world of literature. Araceli Aipoh ‘No Sense of Limits’ is a modern day thriller. I do not regard her as anything les of a Nigerian. With careful choice of words, she draws the line between modesty and taking strides away from limits.

“Well behaved women rarely make history … the only time you succeed is when you have no sense of limits.’ Pg 224.

It all falls in line with the storyline, showing a huge sense of direction on the part of the writer. How ever my only grouse, is that the shacks of downtown parts of Lagos weren’t quite represented, it’s up and downs are actually worth a couple of pages in a book that portrays life in a city.
Araceli Aipoh, sure did a lot of homework. This piece says well for literature in Nigeria. As our mouths water for more … hope fans our embers.

The World Of Art



Photography is also art, and since discovering the stories that a single picture can tell, I have picked up an interest in it.

The first is a picture of creative art in progress.
Dupe Ahmed is an artist. An actress, designer etc. she does beautiful beads and here, she is captured doing what she knows how to do best.









The second is a picture of a child that I captured playfully. It is titled ‘Innocence’

The third is a picture I took of a moving vehicle. It is titled ‘Four Wheels’






A visit to the Nkem Gallery drew me closer to the world of artworks, and I am beginning to contemplate trying my hands on painting. The gallery is owned by Chief Frank Okonta and it is located at Lekki, Lagos. Nigeria. Beautiful paintings by different talented artists were displayed, and I couldn’t get a fill.


POETRY

A NEXT DAWN

After the treaty,
The truce settled in.
The auspices were conspicuous.

Soon the past became evaporated,
Lifting away veils,
Revealing newness
Of gifts celestial,
In a solitude palatial.

The past forever was gone.
It occurred in a way
So terrific
That the finding
Was prolific.
No more deciphering,
Neither precipitating.

The evaluation
Was the new crowned king.
It happened so fast.
It was unprecedented.
The invalidators were thrown
Into that confounded mist.

They behaved brusquely,
Moving around wriggling,
As if they felt prickly.
Yes! They felt prickly.

It was unbelievable.
‘not her!’
Their heads shook
Vigorously.
‘She has just been
Dragged out
From between the
Legs of her mother.’
They wouldn’t have her.
They wouldn’t have her.
Maturity and Experience
Flock together always.
Fingers of owners,
Different and different,
Have before
Lashed her away,
Because of age,
Because of age.
She wanted to say,
‘The juice is inside of me.’
but no ear was ready
to pay attention.
It wasn’t today.
It wasn’t yesterday.

The treaty will be signed
On a ‘morrow.
The truce will follow
Afterwards.
The wealth of visions of gifts
Will be conspicuous.
The past will be forgotten.
The invalidators will
Grumble and grumble.
And still,
To destiny they will submit.

©UZEZI EKERE. 11th FEBRUARY. 2003.

RECONCILIATION

Let us perform
Some simple ablutions.
In the act,
Let us pause,
And lock eyes.
Let us see
Our inner thoughts.
Let us realise
What we want.
We have grown
Beyond the age of derision.
We have seen
Beyond the eyes of a precognist.
Only we can determine
If forever we should be.
Let us gather
The dust of yesterday.
And hand in hand
Let us walk,
The stream towards.
Let us stand at the shores,
And the dust we sprinkle away
-As though the ashes
Of the corpse
Of a bad man-
Our bad memories,
Let it flow down the stream.
Let us perform
Some simple ablutions.
To welcome reconciliation.
You and I,
We fit together.
I could love you again,
I know I can.
And before that day comes,
We have to wash the dirt
Of yesterday.
Wash and wash.
But, a simple ablution?
I don’t see you and I
Performing it together.

©UZEZI EKERE. 11th FEBRUARY. 2003.

BOOK REVIEW


Publication: Orita Meta
Author: Peju Alatise
Reviewer: Uzezi Ekere


IT is an on going thing for parents to search for names that best describe the ambience or situations that precedes the coming of a child. Oluwaremilekum, is one of such names; “Today you are without tears, Oluwa ti re e le kun. Yes, he has wiped your tears. Oluwaremilekun, it is true that the Lord has put a rest to my tears.”
Oluwaremilekun is the child that stayed alive, unlike the six others before her. She is the lead character of the book Orita Meta, a novel that tells a story of three particular women in different journeys, who ended up at the same destination : An understanding of life’s challenges and self-discovery as a woman.
Oluwaremilekun the lead character, is a child with an interesting future. An intelligent girl who showed interest at a very early age, in handcraft, at the age of self-discovery and the understanding of love, her pride got stolen from her.
The story of Orita Meta – The Crossroads, is a mixture of poetry and prose, blended with wise saying and beliefs of the Yoruba land.
Written in a clear and concise pattern, Alatise takes the reader through pages that reveals the elements of Oluwaremilekun, as she struggles with her secret and marries her heartthrob. And just like the prologue tries to prepare the reader early enough, she bears sons, whose existence is necessary for the introduction of the two other lead characters, Cecilia, and Omolabake.
In as much as the book is an easy read, the reader encounters a little puzzle that helps to keep the page turning, after the war that tears Oluwaremilekun, and her village; a war that leaves her a widow, forces her to sell one of her sons into slavery, for the existence of the others.
This little puzzle sets in just at a time when the first part of the book comes to an end. In beginning the second part of the book, the reader is forced to question if the book is that with three different stories, for the first part, was all about Oluwaremilekun.
The second part of the book introduces the reader to Cecilia. A child born and abandoned by her parents, because she is born with a cleft palette. Raised by the doctor who birthed her, an older Cecilia soon will become the subject of a fight between the doctor, her foster mother, and her parents.
Cecilia did not have an easy childhood because of her condition. Tongues wagged behind her, and no man would marry her, even when she was at the right age. Ordinarily, Cecilia would not have bothered, because she was loved by one, whom she loved in return. But he was far away and her mother tried to make her see why she couldn’t wait. Her mother tried to make her accept the position of a second wife, just because she and her husband wanted to enrich themselves with the bride price. But true love, regardless of her cleft palette, saved the day.
At the end of the second part of this book, the reader, who has almost forgotten about Oluwaremilekun, meets her again, as gradually her lost issues begin to fill the empty spaces that had been left open in the first part.
Now the book gets more interesting, as the writer takes the reader through a world of anticipation that ends in a perfect climax, as the answer the reader carried from the beginning of the book, gets answered, at last.
With Orita Meta, Peju Alatise has accomplished what most writers, wouldn’t have easily. Her ability to weave three parts of the story, and yet hold the reader spellbound, is what transforms into a bestseller.
In all the brilliance of Orita Meta, there are several unanswered questions in the 208-page long book. Not once, but twice, a narrator was introduced. In the first part of the book, the narrator was introduced at the end. The narrator was a female, who got to meet Oluwaremilekun, through a visit to the market place to weave her hair. The narrator returned again, almost at the end of the second part, this time as a journalist, sex unknown, and disappeared from the book. What then was the narrator’s role in telling the reader a story that is already known?
Furthermore, the question of the narrator aside, Peju Alatise’s ability to even join the third part of the book, that told a story of Omolabake, to the other two, was done with expertise, because the readers never really would have foreseen the turn of events, because the mother in-law Omolabake paints to the reader, is entirely different from the woman the reader knows, and had come to love.
There was no better way to end the story. No writer would have done it different, and succeeded. As the book comes to an end, the reader wishes it would continue. Peju Alatise, with her strong sense of imagination knew when to give back to Oluwaremilekun, what she took from her in the beginning. The writer knew how to tickle the reader’s imagination, because eventually, the reader understands that at some point in Oluwaremilekun’s life, the other two characters, began to exist, in different backgrounds, but the same time frame.