Art Festival Goes Live for Goethe@50years In Nigeria



A scene from Segun Adefila's IPINYA, one of the performances that will feature during the celebrations
 

The next big event on Nigeria’s art scene is definitely celebrations of Goethe Nigeria 50years anniversary. The art community and the general public will come together for the best ever art and culture entertainment and interactions, which will take place at the Freedom Park, Lagos, from December 6-9.
Jude Anogwih speaking during a press chat for the forth-coming event

Daily within this period,  the audience will be treated to the best of  live performances put together by highly creative artists drawn from various art sections including  dances, theatre, photography, video  art  and installation works.

The event is set to establish a shift from traditional art forms of expressing messages prominently through painting or theatre, to physical bodily expressions that are rich with entertainment packed full with content  to serve the purpose of history.

Goethe Institut has enjoyed a remarkable cultural inter-play relationship with Nigeria for this past half of a century, developing up and coming Nigerian artists. There had been a wealth of cultural benefits through workshops, art exhibitions, concerts and diverse performances.  No doubt about their introduction of fresh perspectives to how arts and culture can in fact sustain the essence of a people.

Mac-Andre Schmachtel, director of the Institut, says they have continued to work within their mission of creating a common platform for Nigerian and German artists to exchange ideas and foster a common cooperation for the continued growth of the arts.

My most memorable book...sharing experiences



 Mufu  Onifade  is  a dramatic painter. His sense of style is  unique when he handles his brush on canvas. An author of books and producer of several short plays, Onifade shares his experience of the memories of a book, Olowolaiyemo  by Femi Jeboda, which he read  while in his second year in high school.  

 

Olowolaiyemo  is a book written in Yoruba language, with core values  found in African societies. I dare to say that it remains the most memorable book that I have read. As elementary as it may have seemed, it was written with loads of moral lessons embedded in it for people to gain from, besides the entertainment that it shares.

The story is centred on a  young man who  was continuously looking for shortcuts to success in life, and he did quite a lot of things in his race to succeed. At some point, he became an apprentice to somebody.

 The young man went ahead to do so many other things that could make him achieve success but, when he did not see his desire of becoming wealthy materialize, he joined a group of magicians who would make their performances by using a knife to cut around themselves  but would still not be hurt.

The young man in question was the one who usually held the knives that were used for the group’s magical arts, and he particularly held the special knife (a blunt knife) that was used by the head of the magicians.

 However, on this day that the unfortunate incident happened, the young man gave the lead magician a  knife that was  not  the special knife  he was used to. When the magician used the sharp knife, of-course there was trouble as he succeeded in ripping open his stomach.

Mothers, Mothers-in-Law and 'Omugwo' Palaver



Omugwo  is  an Igbo word, meaning the care given to a woman who has just had a baby.
In the Nigerian society when a woman puts to bed a baby, it is traditional that family members from the couple come around to help out with nursing the new mom. At this early stage, the baby is also taken care of by any of the grandmother or aunt that is around; they bath for the baby, change the diapers and ensure the baby is comfortable, while the new mom’s only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed.
There are situations where both mothers would be around to play their respective roles as grandmas to the new-born baby.  Each grandmother would usually give care advice as it worked for her during her child-bearing years and any move to indicate that her style is ‘old school’ is not a welcome idea.

Depending on what tribe the woman is from, the kind of care differs.  But generally, the woman is served specially prepared food made spicy with hot pepper and other local condiments.  It is important to know that some of the care rules that apply include:

Public Molestation of A Woman

By Oyindamola Thomas
 

 

A dirty drama played out during a bus ride to Victoria Island on Thursday. I noticed how a lady who sat at the extreme on the same seat as me, got so uncomfortable by what I didn’t initially know that she kept adjusting her sitting position. At some point, with stern looks on her face, she sounded a note of warning  to a man who sat directly behind her on the last seat. "Please stop making me uncomfortable with your hand coming so close," she said.

As the bus continued in the ‘bumper to bumper’ traffic situation, the lady who couldn’t bear what was happening to her just shouted “Please keep your hand to yourself. I wonder why you have decided to rest your hand on my buttocks!”

Acting as if nothing had happened the man looked away and pretended to be on his phone. But that was not going to be the last of his try. Next step, he placed  his head on the backrest of the seat in front and tried his luck again without knowing that I had fixed my eyes on the direction of his hand, just as did the other passengers who occupied the last seat with him.

Again, the man moved his hand quietly and rested it on the lady’s buttocks attempting to make a squeeze when thunderous voices descended on him,” Eh! So this was why you entered this bus, just to come and squeeze women on their backsides?” But before he could utter a word, the lady landed him a dirty slap on the face. “Let us drag him down and serve him good beating” suggested one of the passengers. “But that could result to another killing from a mob action”, said another passenger.

Uli: Eastern Nigeria Heritage (By C. Krydz Ikwuemesi)

 


Uli craft designs on display at the cultural development centre, Enugu
 


Ikwuemesi


The history and development of Africa, especially since so-called independence, are littered with the effacement of identity through a rejection of the past. In that scenario, autochthonous ideas and phenomena have been jettisoned in favour of extraneous ones in a reckless propensity towards Westernization. Of course, there are no pure cultures in today’s world. But there is no doubt that in the hybrids that constitute the cultural bazaar called Africa, the African content is at the mercy of the outsider component, namely Western and Asian influences which resulted from slavery, colonization, neo-colonization, globalization and inter(net)nationalism.

In the bid to leap before they walk, most peoples of Africa have created gaps in their history and experience. The dangerous and corrosive aspiration to become Westernized at all costs makes Africa a land of fancy where anything can happen, a hierophantic zone where the past and future stand in opposition, as the people have denied them the necessary conversation that connect generations gone by to those yet to come.

In the neo-colonial era in which we live, Africa is not a hybrid. Hybrids are more clearly defined. It is not even a hydra-headed entity. An entity without a past is not sure of its future, because the past is the major foundation on which the future will be consolidated. The dissonance is a protracted one and has taken its toll on all aspects of human endeavour. For art practitioners and cultural actors who are culture-carriers and who are directly confronted with the dilemma arising from this situation, the dangers loom even larger. It is this feeling that has driven many artists in Africa over the years to return to history in search of new vistas where the past complements the present for a more dignified and fructifying future.

Cancer Care and Support by Sebeccly


  

Sebeccly Breast help lines: 08102056467 and   08103288756

DR Salako giving Partnership-Support Award to Century Group


Sidikat Gbadamosi, a  beneficiary of  Sebeccly  support for breast cancer survivors
 

 
Many cancer patients especially in this part of the world, suffer due to lack of information about the kind of cancer they suffer from and how they can get help.  But many thanks to Sebecccly Cancer Care and Support Centre that is taking on a radical campaign strategy to raise help for cancer sufferers.

 At the heart of this charity cause is Dr Omolola Salako  who  works together with a group of other medical doctors, taking the campaign pan Nigeria. Sebeccly  has, through its various sub-groups, been partnering with different public and private organizations to ensure that there is adequate helpful information about cancers to people.   

Sebeccly,  a not –for- profit organization, works to promote the prevention, early detection and effective treatment of cancers in Nigeria. The organization is the founder and host of  such groups as: Access to Cancer Care: Through the ‘Adopt a Cancer Patient Scheme, Subsidized Drug Funds, 1K4Cancer and Copayment Schemes, breast cancer patients are able to  access cancer care free or at a reduced cost, in partnership with pharmaceutical and donor organizations.

                                             Appolonia Adeyemi(middle) gets Health Correpondent Award
                                          
 
Cancer Workshop for Media Professionals: Every year, the workshop brings health correspondents of media organizations to train them on the cancer control. This workshop explores ways of improving information dissemination and channeling the combined energy of the media and health care professionals towards cancer control.

                                              Participants at Sebeccly Cervical Cancer Workshop in Lagos

Other group programmes undertaken by Sebeccly are: Patience E Support and Advocacy Group, for capacity building to empower breast cancer survivors; Stamp Out Cancer Campaign for information and screening service that drives the message of prevention and early detection; Cancer Information Service; Home Based Care; Breast Help Lines; Best Reporter on Cancer Awareness and Advocacy Awards; Pink Ribbon Campaign, and Early Career Cancer Research Grant.

Many cancer patients have received help through these different channels and Sebeccly continues to work within its mission of promoting  early  cancer detection, support for treatment and information dissemination to help cancer survivors.  Know more about Sebeccly Suppport for Cancer Patients!

 

 

 

 

 

An American Navy Man’s Experience of Africa’s Sights and Sounds

Cole Adam, who is serving with the American Navy, shares his experience of Africa when he had the opportunity of being on the continent, working for three months and visiting seven countries.

Cole Adam
Elmina beach Ghana, a former slavery outpost
Africa has been faced with challenges of civil wars and poverty .The African continent is considered as a place still ‘developing’ and where most of the nations are the mark of widespread colonialism.
Even with its tragic past and current struggles, it is a place of beauty and enchantment.  I was blessed with the opportunity to spend three months on the continent, in seven countries. My time was spent mostly engaging with other navies, but I also got the chance to travel to beaches, hike through a gorge, and venture to other out-of the way spots that displayed the wonder of this continent.
I admire Africa for its environmental splendour and the people’s resilience in striving for something better despite the inherent challenges. Below are my observations and best attempt to capture the combined heartbeat of a multitude of countries on the West African coast.

There is a rhythm here. A flow that seems contrary to the normal order of patterned society. It is as if people are carrying out life to the beat of tribal drums; everything just going, going, with no linear direction, yet still music.
Africa is a continent that beats with that tribal sound; a continent where order emerges out of chaos; that chaos, which often can be a thorn to systematic progress, is its own artistic symphony.
A few interesting nuances of Africa: traffic flows without an overabundance of signage and lights; time is never of the essence; and services are usually acquired through a handshake and verbal means.
 I came to Africa’s West Coast on a partnership building effort with seven different nations, most of which directly bordered the Gulf of Guinea. The journey began in French-speaking Gabon, and then went further south to another French country, Republic of Congo. Next was a group of Gulf of Guinea countries, Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin. The Gambia, our final stop, was a silver of a country inside of Senegal, bordering a river that bares its name.


             Weird MC supports Delta State Flood Victims


L-R; Lambogini, Weird MC, and Onokpise, the Liaison Officer


Over the weekend, Nigerian female rapper Adesola Idowu, popularly known as Weird MC, showed up at the Delta State Liaison office on Vistoria Island, Lagos, with some relief materials for victims of the recent floods, which left many Delta State communities submerged under the water.

The State Liaison office had set up a relief materials point to enable people who want to give such support to come in and be a part of charity for those who have suffered losses as a result of the floods.
Good-spirited Nigerians who are not necessarily indigenes of the state, have continued to flock the office with clothing, foodstuffs and other household wares for onward transfer to Delta State for people who need them.
The Liaison officer, Mrs Augustina Onokpise, on behalf of the state expresses gratitude to all who have come to support this humanitarian cause to help give some relief to the flood victims.

 

 

    ‘We had a ‘Campfire Night‘without a spark of matchstick’  by  Nnamdi
Receiving a gift from Alhaji Kachaco
With my friends in camp

On receiving my NYSC posting letter, I headed for the ancient city of Kano. This was not the best of times for people to want to go to the northern part of Nigeria for the Youth Service because of the incessant crisis that did not spare Corpers. But at this time (2008), there was relative calm.
I was among the earliest Corpers who arrived at the ‘Karaye  Kusala Dam’ camp. Believe me, the heat was intense!  Heat or no heat, the mission to serve fatherland must be completed. How good it felt to come in contact with some of my school mates from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.  We kept one another company throughout the registration and camp period.

For me, camp was just like school days except for the different environment.  I choose to remember our colourless ‘Campfire Night’. The campfire which was supposed to be the key element of the event was ‘missing’.  “The villagers would not accept a campfire”, we were told.  And since every man wanted peace, we obeyed and had a quiet ‘Night vigil’ instead.

Camp over, I embarked on the second phase of travel to Government Secondary School, Daho, my place of primary assignment.  Daho was a remote town in Abasu local government area of Kano State; a journey that took almost five hours from the camp. We were lucky to have two female Corpers  go with us so that they could take care of cooking, but am sure that they would have rejected the posting to Daho if they had a choice.
                                                    Group photogragh with the students 

      
                                                                       The corpers' Lodge
On arrival to the all-boys school, we met with the teachers who received us well. The Corpers’ Lodge was just a place to manage because their houses are not like ours down south. I became friends with Mallam Hadi, my neighbour who was kind enough to give a piece of land for planting some food crops.  Water was not a problem because our residence was just beside a dam.

Before long, I noticed that it was the men who did all the outdoor chores; going to market and  going to farm.  The very old women and little girls could also be seen going about some work, but never the young girls.  Theirs was an entirely different culture from where I was coming from, so I observed and learned to live with them.
                                                   Mode  of transporting farm produce

 
There were no places of relaxation, but for the engaging football sessions we had with the Policemen serving there.  At other times, I visited my fellow  Corpers  in Kano town or attended my computer lessons.  On days when we collected our ‘alawi’ we preferred to go to the bank in Dutse, the capital city of Jigawa State, since it was closer to us than going to Kano city.
Communicating to the boys in English Language at school was not easy, but I remember Zaharadeen and his friend.  Both boys were very brilliant and homely. I hope they continued in that light. Generally, the community had large families and a number of them were poor because they engaged in subsistence farming.
I however was shocked when after six months of  peaceful  stay in Kano, the city was trying to experience an overflow of a crisis that originally started in Bauchi State. The best we could do was to keep in contact through our mobile phones.  It was dangerous for Corpers to move about even as we planned a mass movement to our colleagues who were residing inside the Army barracks.
When the crisis continued the following day, I decided to do a ‘litmus’ test with Mallam Hadi. I wanted to know if he could guarantee our safety with him should we be caught in the crisis.  My eyes widened when he answered in Pidgin English Language that “Em, em, you see, me I go join my buroda  to fight o if trouble come.”  He did not pretend about rising up against us should it get to that, for the fact that we had been ‘friends’.  Thank God that the crisis stopped and we didn’t have to look for a way of escape.  But the remaining time of our service year meant staying closer and knowing where each person was.
Alhaji Megida kachako! Nice man. He was the school’s principal. He was glad to have the Corpers teach the children, and on passing out of the programme he gave me a clock, a certificate and an envelope.  But the content of the envelope is entirely my business!

My Most Memorable Book... Sharing Experiences


                                                
                                                         Just Before Dawn by Kole Omotoso
Eng. Shyllon

Engineer Yemisi Shyllon is a foremost art collector who also by passion, trained and practiced as a Lawyer. His professional careers made him  to read quite wide over the years. But as an enthusiast of the arts, Shyllon continues to read very wide collection of books much as he collects choice works of art. Engineer Shyllon’s love for art led him to establish the Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF), which is primarily concerned with academic and practice activities for the development of arts and artists. Keeping a beautiful garden of art works and plants also tells a lot about Shyllon’s fancy for nature. It will not be inappropriate to describe him as an advocate for environmental care since he has been sharing his vision of a green earth with students and tourists from across different places of the world. He shares memories of a book he has read, ‘just before dawn’. It is a book he considers very important for reasons that it addressed principal issues in the Nigerian society that require sensitivity for change to a better human society.

A section of Eng. Shyllon's garden with works of art

  Memories of Kole Omotoso’s Just before dawn come alive for me every time I look at the Nigerian society. The book just resonates with the things that happen around us as a people. Though it has some characteristics of fiction, it is one book that has presented facts about so many activities that have shaped present day Nigeria, coming from the recent past.

My appreciation of the book lies in the fact that in subtle narrative it takes you back to remember a phase in the life of the nation when chaos presented itself  raw on the streets. They came in form of protests and riots, a weapon people used to address challenges of society.
Importantly however, the book tasks Nigerians to look at the present situation and see if there has been any significant change, or if the same challenges have rather taken new shapes, while national development remains threatened.
Reading Just before dawn simply means everyone who thinks change for good is what we need as a nation must dedicate themselves to the responsibility of moving for change and accepting one if and when it is proposed.
The book will serve as good reference for students of contemporary history, based on its wealth of information about events of the recent past  that have portrayed the truth concerning what Nigerians faced then, and are still facing up till date.

                         
                            Fresh hope from contemporary street dance

Israel in performance  with co-dancer
 
Arts in all its forms give entertainment and engage people effortlessly. Sometimes, it is enjoyment and satisfaction to the soul and at other times, it is crafted to purposely address issues of societal concerns.
In the case of street dancing, it was an art never considered anything beyond the cheers, pushes and shoving that came with it.  Taking street dancing for the mere expression of what it used to be has changed significantly today, considering the new hopes and inspirations that have emerged from street dance.

The art of street dance was given new meaning when  Akpan Israel, a contemporary street dancer, created his dance stage in Orile, a suburb of Lagos. The highest preparation for the show was just the several hours of rehearsals.

Though there were no special stages mounted and no special costumes prepared but, children  who are resident within the area had high expectations. They longed to partake in the dance of the moment. Their anxiety for the street dance was not because they had not danced before, but because there were promises seen in the street dance.
The children wanted to be like Israel, the organiser of the street dance who danced his way from the streets of Lagos, to the seats of nobles in Europe. Israel had left lasting impressions of dance in the hearts of his fans while he was still in Nigeria, and he has carried on with it at his several performances in Europe.
It is simply appreciated that Israel worked his way to greener pastures throughdedication to a good course he believed in. See why the children want to dance like Israel. For many of the children, Israel has come back home with a bag full of hope and promises of a better life. He deemed it fit to give back to a society that gave him hope where there did not seem to be any.  
A number of the children now appreciate the fact that dedication to a good course helps people  achieve the biggest dreams of their hearts to become great in life.

 


  ‘I hope to perform for Presidents  Jonathan, Obama,’ says  Tobi Saxmistress

Tobi Saxmistress
Oluwatobi Befo,14, is living her dreams. She plays the Saxophone with a deep-rooted passion that keeps her audience enthralled. In an interview with her, she told me how she got fascinated to the Saxophone, how she was groomed and started playing the Sax at age 9.

Although the Saxmistress has displayed her talent performing at different occasions, her ‘big dream’ is to have a grand performance for the Nigerian president, and that of the United States of America. “I wish that someday soon, I will play for President Goodluck Jonathan and the American President, Barack Obama.”


My Most Memorable Book... Sharing Experiences


 

                                                     

                                               Animal Farm by George Orwell

          

Jimoh, Ganiyu  a.k.a Jimga is an artist/scholar. He holds a B.A Graphic Design and M.A Art History from the University of Lagos. Jimga is a protest artist who uses the tool of cartoon and installation art as a conduit of campaigning against the injustices in the society. He won NUC award in 2010 in arts and humanities. He is currently a Graduate Fellow in the Department of Creative Arts , University of Lagos where he teaches and studies as a Ph.D. research candidate.

JIMGA
  


Going back the memory lane, I will be forever grateful to George Orwell for the book ‘Animal Farm’.

I read this book when I was in JSS one, some twenty years back. A very long time indeed, but the memory still remains fresh as its influence on me is so enormous that it has become part of me, part of my philosophy and ideology.

The novel is about the animal rebellion against human domination. After the death of their leader who actually saw the dream of animals uniting together in a free world, the rest were able to carry out the revolution and got their freedom from their autocratic boss Mr Jones. Before long, greed sets in and the ruling class, the pigs started the government of domination, marginalisation and oppression. These eventually culminated into the collapse of the ideology of their ‘Martin Luther King Jr’ Old Major who had the dream of a United States of Animals called Animal Farm. The ultimate pun in the book is that the ruling class, ‘the pigs’ headed by Napoleon refined themselves to the level that the oppressed members of the Animal kingdom like the Donkey, Sheep, Hen etc. couldn’t differentiate between the pigs, their kind who were  ruling them and the humans, their colonial masters.

As I wrote earlier, I read the book when I was very young and my imagination was inconceivably innocent which made me enjoy the book better. Being someone that is artistically inclined, I usually visualise all the narratives in my mind and it did not take long for me to be nurturing the idea that the kingdom actually existed somewhere on this earth. ‘Funny as this may sound, I started treating animals in my neighbourhood with respect believing that one day they might revolt against the status-quo and at least they would remember how I treated them and be nice to me. I could remember that I was actually rearing two rat babies, which were originally swept out of our store to die in the dustbin under harsh sun. They ran away after two weeks of caring for them anyway.

The greater influence that later moulded my philosophy about life, and serves as a stimulus in shaping  my consciousness about socio-political realities came when I met my Sister’s hubby, a University of Ibadan student then. We discussed the book and he made me understand that the book was actually a fiction and a satire of the then communist Soviet Union. I was so amazed at the narrative prowess of George Orwell. His appropriation of different characters in pre-World War II Soviet Union:  Old Major as an allegory of Karl Marx, Napoleon as Joseph Stalin and so on. All these narrative instruments inspired my artistic and philosophical creed and I started asking questions about some things I understood to be unjust in my neighbourhood. The time coincided with the June 12, 1993 election period in Nigeria. Almost everybody who is reading this article will agree with me that the period witnessed a lot of inequalities in socio-political equation. The book launched me into the rebellious art of criticism and visual satire so intense that I drew a funny caricature of General Abacha as the Napoleon and M.K.O Abiola as the Snowball that was banished by the dictatorial act of the former. I wish I could lay my hands on those drawings today, it could fetch me a laurel…never the less the legacy continues and actual won me award last year for my art of political criticism. I owe all these to that small light kindled by the spark generated in my imagination by Gorge Orwell’s Animal Farm published in 1945. I love that book!

 


 

             Glenmorangie  now  in Nigeria  

L-R; Niel Hendriksz; Tokini Peterside; and  Samuel Douglas
 
Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy new brand  Glenmorangie, has been added to its range of luxury drinks in the Nigerian market. Brand ambassador, Niel Hendriksz describes brand Glenmorangie as a single-malt Scottish whisky meant to serve just a small audience of whisky consumers who want to identify with the best.  “It is a brand for people who want the extra- superior taste in whisky and can actually afford it because of their class."
Talking about the ingredients and delicate process of production as vital to the class status of Glenmorangie, Hendriksz who also looks after the whole Hennessey portfolio, which includes Don Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Moet and others, says Glenmorangie was established in 1843 by William Matterson in the Northern Islands of Scotland.
According to Hendriksz, the distillery was a family business all the years until 2005, when it was acquired by the world’s largest luxury business, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, a company that came together in 1987 when two luxury goods and luxury drinks company merged.  With this, Glenmorangie currently becomes the newest brand of the merged Portfolio. Though Glenmorangie has been making whisky for a long time, the brand only started focussing on the African market with from 2007.
On how best to enjoy the brand, “add one or two iced cubes,” Hendriksz says, “and do not dilute it with other drinks.” He also wants consumers of the brand to observe moderation, because for him ‘good life is about balance.’

      
 Let Rubbies N Emeralds add sparkle to your event!
Event venue decoration by RnE


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No love songs from me---Seun Kuti

You may experience a long wait if you desire to hear Seun  Kuti sing a love song. “Love songs can only be true in societies where basic things are within reach for everybody and not in societies where candle light cannot depict romance.”
 Seun still carries on the ‘Fela-philosophy’, to sing about societal concerns that awaken a consciousness in the people. He is convinced that a most desirable change in Africa should be about developing the minds of people to believe in their age-long civilization. This for him can only be possible when there is openness in the affairs that concerns society at large.
Seun Kuti
He laughs at what he calls ‘a misconception’ of him because people think that his life is all about Fela. “I am very much my own person, and what my dad and I have in common is music. Even if I like women, it is not an influence from Fela, it is about what I like to do. Whatever I do, I do because of myself, so people shouldn’t judge me that I do things because I want to be like my father,” he said.
A crusader for African arts, Seun believes that Africans would be better people if they use their arts to project who they truly are. He said, “If most Africans understood what it means to be an artist and an African, they would use their music and their art to pursue freedom for their people just like Fela did”.
Singing a love song may just be a luxury that may not come for an African like Seun. He does not see how a love song would impact on the lives of people who are still struggling to survive on a daily basis. He says, “Right now we don’t need to sing about love in our music in Africa because that is secondary to what is happening to us. Singing love is like trying to copy people who have running water and electricity supply in their houses. Let us have running water and electricity in our houses first, and then we can think of love.
“Check out the amazing question you would be asked in Nigeria if you put of the light and put  up a candle. You will hear something like “Has the electricity supply been cut?”, but if you do that in a place like New York, then you will hear something like “Oh, so romantic.” So let us wait for when candle light means romance, and then I can start singing about love.”
From Seun’s perspective, meaningful change must be a process, away from the kind of change he thinks Nigerians are pursuing. “It is the rush for immediate results that make a number of Nigerians become gullible to empty promises from politicians who promise the unrealistic in the shortest time ever. But Nigerians must learn to educate themselves to know what change really is, and understand how to ask for change”.
Talking about the institutionalization of change agents, Seun wants change to begin with the thinking of the African, for him to understand that the knowledge he had of his environment was useful for his survival. He established that Africans have always had their own forms of education before the coming of the Whiteman to the continent therefore, it was wrong for Africans to have been addressed as uncivilized. “Africans through the ages have always been educated in our own ways because, before the Whiteman came to Africa every young boy in Africa could tell you the names of different plants and what they did medicinally. But people have been brainwashed to think that that is being ‘bush’, but which is in fact education, knowing your environment.”

 Autism Awareness: NGO, CG champion course

In African societies, particularly in Nigeria, autism seems so not easily recognized even among the educated parents, let alone among those who are not literate. This makes help for children with the condition come in quite late due to late detection. Worried by this situation, the WOW Divas, an NGO (Non-governmental organization), with support from the Century Group, organized a seminar on autism, to help families recognize early symptoms should they be present in their children.

From various speakers who made people see the world through the eyes of a child with autism, came the hurting reality how autism as a health condition affects the social, behavioral and emotional development of an individual. Our society particularly, makes nurturing a child with autism very difficult since people are not well informed about the condition. Families resort to isolating such children, abandoning them, or even killing them in some cases.

Marked by serious difficulties in communicating and interacting with other people, it is believed to be a non -communicable neurological syndrome. While there is also no cure for the condition, it is believed that through early detection, there can be a recovery. This is yet, a subject of serious debate among doctors and caregivers, as cases are varying depending on the individual’s level on the autism spectrum. 


When Fade, a single mother, noticed that her son displayed delayed language development, her grandmother pacified her saying ‘He’s a boy, boys don’t start talking early”. Not until after 18 months was it clear that something was wrong and she took him for some tests. He was confirmed autistic. The child’s school could not help also because they probably did not understand that the child had special needs.

It is sad to note that even educated people are ignorant of the condition most times.  Dr Dotun Akande gave instances common in rural areas where people believe that such ‘abnormal’ children are products of spiritual tradeoffs with dark forces. Some parents also confessed that out of frustration, they beat their special children very ruthlessly on several past occasions.

 Even many hospitals and health providers have also failed as they lack the requisite skill to treat and aid those on the autism spectrum and equip their families. In some cases where the autistic children are sensitive to sound and so cope physically by covering their ears and rocking back and forth, the doctors have prescribed eardrops, or worse, hearing aid which only magnify the sounds and give the child the grinding machine sensations. Their world is very different no matter how they try; little wonder it’s called ‘oyinbo disease’ because of the rarity and expense of proper treatment.

It is relieving to know that people on the autism spectrum are getting more appreciation and understanding through the work of concerned people such as the Wow Divas and the Century group, which is committed to enabling people.  Dr Adeola Oduyemi like her counterpart Dr Aluko, pleaded a case for early intervention/treatment, preparation (educating expectant mothers, caregivers and health centers for long term management of the condition) and understanding from society.

Dr Akande  who runs a school for people on the autism spectrum was optimistic about the prospects as she encourages people to look at the children’s abilities beyond their weaknesses.  She believes that despite the children’s restricted social interest, early detection opens doors for them in  skill acquisition and life skills education.
Dr. Dotun Akande

The event celebrated the courage of those battling autism and made a call for people to extend empathy and understanding to those affected. The WOW Divas were appreciative of Century Group support for the event and in the production of the second edition of the Nigerian autism directory, listing services currently available and sharing valuable information on what autism is and various therapies that help combat it.

 Support is still being solicited from government and private sector to aid early diagnosis and intervention to provide specialists and facilities to help the children recover and maximize their full potentials. 

Exhibition in Nike Gallery


  
 

                   ‘The canopy’ keeps memories of Ariyibi alive
 
 
Fashion wears made from aso-oke on display at 'The Canopy'

 In loving memory of Tope Ariyibi, one of those who lost their lives in the June 3 Dana plane crash in Lagos, an  art exhibition titled ‘The Canopy’  was held  on November 2 at Nike Gallery in  Lekki , Lagos.

The exhibition was initiated by ConocoPhillips, where Ariyibi used to work. The works  on display are a collection put together by a group of artists who have developed art works to reflect the theme of a  protective shield that comes from a mother to her family, especially the children.

The collection was an array of colourful paintings and fashion pieces made from African fabrics of aso-oke  and  ankara.  Some of the works on display are shown here.

 


 

 

From her collection on display in The Canopy art exhibition, Tyna Adebowale’s  work titled ‘if you die can I have your cellphone?’ x-rays phone use attitudes among people.  Adebowale  is simply addressing  issues of priority and value as  she puts it that, ‘ When a person is making use of his/ her cellphone while behind the steering , then  you know there are issues to be addressed. Distraction will set in and the person may be involved in an accident, which may lead to death. Such careless cellphone users should know that if they die, other people will use their cellphones.’ Adebowale was not expecting answers from anybody when she crafted the piece; she only wants a self-check effort from people who drive and make use of their cellphone simultaneously.

Adebowale is a budding artist and one of two females who are participating in The Canopy art exhibition. She is quite young yet, she looks at issues critically. She expresses her concerns diversely as is seen from the exhibits.  Keep your kobo kobo, I want change, is no doubt the voice of a social crusader speaking loud and clear.  The piece expresses a definite request for positive change that would impact on the lives of the generality of people and not mediocrity. Since environment plays prominent influence in what artists do, Adebowale lends a voice to the new generation of people who want true change and not those deceived by meager amounts of money.
 
At 11, I wanted to grow up fast to help my mother-- Exhibiting Artist 
At a tender age of 11 years, Badejo Abiodun wished he could become grown up, if only to help his mother who was then widowed. He watched closely as his mother did everything within her capability to nurture him and give him an education just like other children.
During ‘The Canopy’ art exhibition, Abiodun gave in to his emotions as he spoke about the need for society to help widows and single mothers. “I desire sincerely that widows should be assisted economically, so that they can provide for their children too because, they are already going through a lot of challenges without their husbands. And for the single mothers, being in that state may not have been by their doing, so they should also be given assistance,” he said. Reflecting back on what he used to feel for his mother as a child, Abiodun said, “When I  was just 11 years old, I felt like I should just become grown up so that I could help my mother who was then a widow. And this feeling reflects in a lot of the works that I do.” He gives background to one of his works titled ‘ Fresh Hope’ and he explains that every child looks up to his mother and the light he sees on her face gives him hope.  However, he is concerned that a child may not get that hope from the face of an otherwise sad mother. “That light may not be on the mother’s face if she cannot get help and this can be able to affect the child’s development,” he said.
 
 
 

Photos: TOJ