Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Rain Maker


For the first time in seven years Majek Fashek, in an exclusive interview with Thisday newspaper, addresses concerns of his health and erratic behavior. During a telephone interview, Majek and his US based management agency spoke to Thisday on these issues.


This Day: You’ve been on self-imposed 7 year exile from Nigeria. Why are you returning now with this 46th Independence Day Thisday Music Festival?

Majek: It is time. I’ve been gone for seven years from Nigeria. For so long and too long. I never stopped playing my music during my “exile.” I went into exile to renew my commitment to myself and to this beautiful art called music; to rediscover a new music. During this process, I also embarked on world tour. I’ve been fortunate to perform on the stage with world music stars, stars such as Jimmy Cliff, Alpha Blondie, and Tracy Chapman. I am returning home this time because I believe my people are ready for me. I love my people (Nigeria) and I can’t go to my people in just any old way. Hence my return. With the tremendous help of my record company, November Records’ Charles Novia and my USA/Africa management outfit, Instant Media Communications, headed by Azuka Jebose Molokwu and Joseph Anumbor; this brilliant team worked hard to put me on this bill and I look forward to celebrating life with my people. I am coming to give Nigeria blessings from God. God has helped me. Josiah is the King of Kings. The excitement is overwhelming.

This Day: There are speculations about your health, mental health and physical health. We’ve heard stories about your dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol. Are you well?

Majek: I am not crazy. And I don’t have a drug problem. I do have an alcohol problem. It is not because I like to drink.... When my Mother died, I felt a part of me left with her. To lose someone so dear and so close to you can be extremely painful. In an attempt to come to terms with this loss, alcohol became a chosen part to communicate my pains to her and also to journey into a mystical world. My mother was my strength. She is still. Every day I make peace and come to understanding that she is in a place where she would be blessed and appreciated. If you have a mother today, love her, spend time with her and cherish every moment that you see her…

(At this moment, Instant Media Communications Head Hunter, Azuka Jebose Molokwu provides Majek’s steps towards his problems): Alcoholism is a disease. No one wakes up and decides he wants to be an alcoholic. We are all human. He has taken the greatest step to recovery by recognizing his dependence upon alcohol. We must support him in this journey because in each Nigerian there is a Majek Fashek. Show me a family without life’s crises and I’ll show you a virgin in a maternity ward. We can’t afford to ignore, refuse and reject him. If we turn our backs on him, then we’ve turned our backs on all those struggling with the disease of alcoholism. Every day is a struggle. Majek needs our support in his great stride to wellness. He is one of the most gifted Nigerian musicians. Nigeria should feel privileged to have Majek: a loving father, husband and law abiding citizen of the world. He is our man in the mirror. Posted by Picasa

LNG Night

The writers (from left) Layi Adeniji, Toni Kan and Kaine Agary at the LNG $20, 000 Award for Literature (Drama) on Saturday October 7. Venue was the Shell Hall of the Muson Centre. The prize was won by Ahmed Yerima Ph.D, the current C.E.O. of the National Arts Theatre and Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria. His entry was the stage play, The Hard Ground.  Posted by Picasa

The Gods...

The Gods are not to blame is the official drama for the Annual Muson Festival slated for later this month. Ola Rotimi's take on the Greek tragedy of Oedipus Rex written by Sophocles, tells the tale of a young man who travels far in a bid to escape his destiny. He finds this a bit more difficult than envisaged.
The play is directed by Wole Oguntokun and will be staged at the Agip Recital Hall of the Muson Centre on Saturday the 28th of October 2006.
There will be a Matinee show at 3pm and tickets will cost N500 for Students and N1000 for adults.
The evening show slated for 6pm will go for a flat fee of N1500. Posted by Picasa

Your Books of the Year

For the 3rd year in a row, Molara Wood is calling for writers' contributions, to help compile a list of the Books of the Year. Books read/published this year would be the main focus; not-so-recent books that have impressed you during 2006, would also be eligible.

So, she would be grateful to receive titles of the 2 books you enjoyed reading most this year. The works could be in any genre.

Please provide brief commentary - in no more than 50-100 words - to explain why you have chosen these particular books. Every comment will be credited when the list of Writers' Best Books of 2006 is published.

Please do not select a book written/published by yourself.

Book choices must be submitted by Friday 3rd November

Her email address:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Radio Play Writing

The British Council is once again joining with the BBC World Service to launch the International Radio Playwriting Competition 2007. Below are details of the said competition.

About the Competition

Applicants are invited to write a radio play of about sixty minutes on any subject of their choice. The play must be the original, unpublished work of the person or persons submitting it. The contest is open to any writer who is not normally a resident of the United Kingdom. The play must be written in English but can be translated by a third party, although there is no financial assistance available to help with any translation costs. Translated work must be identified as such, and the translator’s name given.


There are two main prizes given: to the best play written in English as a first language and to the best play written in English as a second language. The two prize winners will each receive £2500 sterling and a trip to London to see their plays being recorded and to attend a prize-giving evening. There are also additional prizes of digital or short wave radios being given for the best radio play to be written from each of the following geographical areas: The Americas; Europe; Africa and the Middle East; South Asia; Russia and the Caucasus; Asia and Pacific.

All writers whose plays reach the judges' final shortlist will receive BBC goodie bags as well as getting feedback on their plays from the BBC’s team of professional readers.
Competition launch overseas

The competition launches 30th October 2006, with the closing date for applications 30th April 2007. Application forms will be available for download on and from 30 October 2006.

Submissions and application forms can be emailed to or submitted at any British Council office near you.



1)http://perseus. uk/uhinfo/ extrel/uharts/ awards.cfm


Entrants are invited to submit a short story of up to3,500 words on the theme of 'vision'. 1st prize£1,000, 2nd prize £500, 3rd prize £300, 4th prize£200. The winner will also be able to apply for the UHWriting Award three-year scholarship to the Universityof Hertfordshire, study commencing in 2007.The top twenty stories will be published in an anthology by the University of Hertfordshire Press. Deadline-January 15, 2007.

2) CommonTies would pay $200 for personal stories orstories about people that are compelling. There is noneed to use real names. Sample stories are in their website:

3) OV Books Announces Its Third Title!

OV Books, the book imprint of Other Voices magazine (and publisher of the acclaimed short story collection SIMPLIFY by Tod Goldberg), will consider short fiction submissions for its third book, a cross-cultural anthology titled A STRANGER AMONG US. The book will be distributed by University of Illinois Press and will be released in late 2007. A STRANGER AMONG US will focus on stories of cross-cultural collisions/bonds, encompassing a wide variety of ethnicities, races and nationalities.

Any work that tells the story of what happens when a member of one culture finds him/herself in relationship with members of an "other" culture is eligible. (Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent" would be an excellent example of this theme.)
Other, hypothetical examples of plots might include:

  • A Brit living in Thailand

  • A Native-American college student at an Ivy League university

  • An African-American family moves to an all-Caucasian suburb

  • A gay man on a dominantly heterosexual sports team

  • * A wedding brings together a Latino family and a Jewish family

  • A Muslim academic goes to the American South for a conference

  • A Nigerian woman and African-American man meet on

The sky is the limit! Writers of all ethnicities and races are eligible. Writers do not need to be of the same "group" as the characters they are writing about; the only critereon is excellence of the fiction submitted. Writers should avoid "editorializing" or political preaching in their stories, and focus on the dynamics of character and plot, letting the cultural issues rise organically from the material.OV Books will read submissions from June 1 to December 31, 2006.
No entry fee. Enclose SASE for response only. One story per writer, unless invited to submit more work. No emailed submissions, please. 8,000 word limit. Previously published pieces are eligible.
Mail to:OV BooksDepartment of English (MC 162)601 S. Morgan StreetChicago, IL 60607.

Inquiries should be directed to

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Elders dance for Fela's men


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Baba Ani, Leader of Fela's Egypt 80 Band

Two prominent members of the Egypt 80 band, led by the late Afrobeat king- Fela Anikulapo-Kuti were honoured recently in Lagos. It was at the monthly elders forum jointly organised by the Committee for RelevantArt (CORA) and O'Jez Entertainment, located at Surulere, Lagos.

The two Afrobeat legends; Lekan Animashaun (a.k.a BabaAni), and Duro Ikujenyo, were honoured at the 60th edition of the Great Highlife Party, otherwise knownas Elders Forum. Interestingly, the duo were Fela Anikulapo Kuti' s side-men. Animashaun, now 70, was Egypt 80's band leader while Ikujenyo, was the keyboardist. Friends and admirers honoured both men as they beamed with smiles. And perhaps more significantly, the duo's birthday feast coincided with Nigeria'sIndependence Day Anniversary in addition to marking the fifth anniversary of O'Jez Entertainment. Anchored by veteran broadcaster, Benson Idonije, the party drew a large number of elder artistes, thereby making a major statement on the flourishing highlife scene.

In his remarks, CORA's Secretary General, Toyin Akinosho recounted how Baba Ani was snatched away from Pa Chris Ajilo's Kubanos Band by the late Abami Eda."He was recruited in the 60s, 1964 precisely into theEgypt 80 Band and he was one of the frontline members of Movement of the People (MOP), a political party founded by Fela during the Second Republic" However, the claim that Baba Ani was snatched from ChrisAjilo band was however faulted when Ajilo himself mounted the stage. He told the all-attentive audiencethat there was a particular journey, which Animashaun was supposed to go with the group but could not make it. His words "he (Baba Ani) was then working with the Lagos Town Council. Of course, he could not go on tour with us. That was why we had to let him go. He was not snatched by the late Fela Anikulapo. He has always been a very close friend. Now, I am very proud of him because when he left Kubanos, the next band he joined in 1965 was Fela's band. "Duro Ikujenyo who is presently the leader of Age ofAquarius was lauded for his managerial acumen. He was said to have produced some of Fela's songs and that of Fatai Rolling Dollars. Fela's Unknown Soldier andFatai's Won Kere si Number wa particularly were two popular songs credited to the keyboardist.

Akinosho noted further, "I know that there are some other people here who know so much about the two, adding, however, that their scholarly position was deliberate and it was to create a platform for collaboration withO'Jez.Also, Seyi Solagbade, highlife singer and leader of Blackface said Ikujenyo was a legend whose efforts cannot be pushed aside. He said:" He (Ikujenyo) has been there for so long doing things that are creative. He is a veteran of a kind. I think these are the kinds of legends Nigerians should celebrate."

On the highlife party, Solagbade said that the initiative has come of age and should begin to attract corporate sponsorship. "CORA has been there for almost20 years now. It has been a self sponsored programme but big companies should now show interest in things like these rather than fund programmes that will pollute the minds of the youths."

Shortly before guests took to the floor, Elder Steve Rhodes, Fatai Rolling Dollars and Chief Femi Asekun inducted the celebrants into the Elders Forum. Soon after, Chris Ajilo relived the Eko o gba gbere oldies while Baba Ani performed Oni Dodo Oni Moinmoin.


At 15, CORA celebrates culture in book fiesta


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Women writers

Photo: Sun News Publishing

Although the opening day was threatened by a downpour, this did not deter hundreds of artists, writers, culture workers, and journalists who trooped to theOnikan venue of this year's edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF).

Organised by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), the festival which entered its eighth edition this year held between September 15 and 17 and was graced by notable men and women of letters drawn from within and outside the country. Also in attendance were book exhibitors, arts and crafts dealers, publishers, musicians and art patrons. Even children were not left out of the yearly ritual as they also had their workshop which was graced by such prominent writers as Professor Pat Utomi, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi among others.

CORA's effort in this edition was to bring every participant under a big canopy with its educative and entertaining activities cutting across all spheres of arts such as poetry readings, seminars, art exhibitions, drama and musical performances, arts stampede as well as workshops and talks for authors and kid writers. The festival itself was a welcome development by all and sundry and an improvement from last edition in terms of quality programming and audience participation. The keynote address on the opening day was delivered by Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi a playwright and forme rminister of national planning.

The first segment of the event commenced with StoryTime flagged off by Aunty Noma. There was also readings of poems from Wings of Dawn by women Writers Association (WRITA), as well as Orita Meta by Peju Alatise, Araceli Aipoh-No Sense of Limits and Mobolaji Adenubi's Splendid. Women writers also had a discussion session on how they write and concluded that they all write about their experiences, as they have to disover themselves, and set the goal of seeing the female writer as a veritable voice in the literary world.

Seyi Solagbade and his Black Face band and Adunni and her group Nefertiti, thrilled the audience with beautiful renditions of songs. The exhibition hall too was a beehive of activities as it was adorned with beautiful art works of different shapes and sizes. Some of the paintings and crafts were seen hanging on the wall, the ceiling and everywhere. This year's exhibition which was titled The Dawning of Dreams featured works of artists like Mufu Onifade with his Araism, Washington Uba Chukwuemeka, a photographer, Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo, an installation artist and Atiku Olorunfunmi an art activist.

Facilitated by Goethe-Institut, a discourse on arts reporting was anchored by Gerd Mauer, a visiting German radio presenter and a former African correspondent who grew up with a large number of African writers. Meuer has the privilege of having translated works such as Wole Soyinka's Ibadan, The Burden of Memory and a Climate of Fear. He was the major speaker at a workshop tagged: Reporting the Arts. Meuer who spoke about his experiences in journalism also gave hints on the basics and rudiments of reporting the arts. According to him, art pages in Germany are reported on a daily basis with a large section given to the art on the pages of newspapers. He also recounted how he got into journalism, his sojourn in Nigeria during the arrest of Wole Soyinka, how he used to visit Soyinka in prison, his reportage of environmental issues as well as how he covered African countries as an environmental journalist. He however lamented that the level of professionalism in the Nigerian context is no longer what it used to be.

Professor Pat Utomi spoke on the topic Book in My Life while Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi launched Dr Sola Olorunyomi's new book on Afrobeat, Fela and the Imagined Continent. The second day saw children displaying their creative ingenuity in art, dance-drama, craft etc. This segmentwas co-ordinated by Footprints Art Academy which gave a drama presentation which preached against child abuse and the negative effect of abortion. Also the Children Art Movement International thrilled guests with a drama sketch on the need for parents to educate their children. The drama also gave highlights on ways of building future leaders and making them useful to the society.

Professor Utomi had a good time with the children as he lectured them on the benefits of reading. Odia Ofeimun and Bisi Sylvia on third day, had a dialogue on the 15 years of CORA: An appraisal. Odia spoke extensively on the history, achievements, shortcomings and innovations of CORA noting that the committee had lived to its billing as one of the leading voices for cultural revival in Africa. The group which started as an advocacy team had held well over 50 public discussions many of which have helped to influence government policies in the promotion and propagation of the country's culturalheritage.There was also an art stampede on the achievement ofthe Nigerian literature after twenty years of the first nobel prize. This session was facilitated by speakers such as Gerd Meuer, Araceli Aipoh among others.

The festival came to an end at the Terra Kulture with performances by Footprint Academy and the NationalTroupe of Nigeria in a drama titled Idemili.The Goethe-Institut also entertained guests at the institute with film shows, The Edukators and Go for Zucker.

Other dignitaries at the event included, GboyegaBanjo, Professor Pat Utomi, Chief Frank Okonta, RichardMofe- Damijo, Jennifer Osammor, Rita Dahl from Finland, Mobolaji Adenubi, Elder Steve Rhodes among many others.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

International Poetry Competition 2006

Entries to be sent by post to the following address only:

Féile Filíochta/International Poetry Competition 2006
P.O. Box 6983
County Dublin


• There is no entry fee.
• Poems can be on any subject and there is no restriction on length, theme or style.
• As a signature is required on the entry form, poems will NOT be accepted by e-mail.
• Attach this form to poem(s) submitted.
• Write your name on entry form only - not on poems.
• Please include title of poem on top of each page.
• Entrants may submit up to four poems in each language in their age group. Use separate forms if submitting poems in more than one language.
• There are 10 language categories in the Adult competitions: Irish, English, German, French, Italian, Welsh, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic, Swedish and Polish. In the Under 17 and Under 12 competitions, there are two language categories: Irish and English.
• In the junior categories entrants must be under 12 or under 17 on the closing date of the competition.
• Incomplete entry forms will not be processed.
• Poems cannot be returned to entrants and once submitted cannot be altered.
• We do not acknowledge receipt of poems.
• Poems must not have been published prior to entering the competition and should not appear in print, on a website, self-published or broadcast in any form before announcement of competition results. They must be the original work of the author.
• The list of prizewinners and winning poems will appear on the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries website in early March 2007. Winners will be personally notified by the end of February 2007. Results will also be sent out in the post in March if you enclose a SAE with your entry.
• Further entry forms available from address above or from libraries, or phone (01) 278 1788, fax (01) 278 1792. Entry forms and conditions in Irish, English, German, French, Italian, Welsh, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic, Swedish and Polish available online at
• At the discretion of the County Council winning poems may be published in different media.

The Judges' decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into regarding their decision.

  • Closing date: Saturday 11th November 2006.