BLACK GUYS TAKING PICTURES OF WHITE GUYS PAINTING FELA’S GRAVESITE

This may well be the longest title for anything I’ve written. ANGU comes close, but no cigar.

At first glance the statement doesn’t seem like a big deal. Fortunately, in the modern age, racism is steadily being addressed, so a white guy painting a black guys grave it’s like.. nothing to see here; but to those who are accustomed to Fela’s music it’s pretty damned ironic, to me it’s downright hilarious…

Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti

For those who may not know him, the late Fela Kuti is a grammy nominated musician and human rights activist. His music was made famous in the 80’s for its funky sound, and its issues that ranged from corrupt politicians to promoting African tradition to fighting European imperialism.

So basically Fela would make fun of Nigerians for venerating the white man. It’s pretty amazing then, that when the compound for his gravesite, the famed “kalakuta republic” was repainted recently, it was done by white Europeans. No doubt it validates his music, but it shows an ugly side as well..

kalakuta3

Fela is a piece of African history, and wanted to be seen that way. If so, his message is surely lost if his legacy isn’t protected by Africans. It’s funny enough that he is viewed as a Nigerian artist, many of his catalogs are controlled by European companies. Those that were produced in Nigeria were ultimately destroyed by err.. Nigerians.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter, the reason why Africa underdeveloped itself (shout out to Walter Rodney), that Africans do not (did not? could not?) protect their own legacy; or just do not want to.

And it’s not just Fela Kuti that’s affected. For some reason, Nigeria’s greatest products will somehow find themselves being exported to the west.. whether it was the looted Benin bronze art collection, or it’s unrefined crude oil, or computer genius Philip Emeagwali.

It has gone on for so long that even presently, there is a lingering notion that Nigerian creativity isn’t important till it has been “outsourced” to the west, take for example soul singer Asa, or literary giant Wole Soyinka, or the late Chinua Achebe, or even Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu. Now, some 18 years after his death, African music has taken on more European themes, so has fashion and religion. There’s been an entire culture shift in fact, hell I might never have reached you if this article wasn’t done in Queen’s English.. The west must have done something right.

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GOBKEEN: A SHORT STORY

Think thick unshaven beard, pointed nose with a flat cap shadowing over the thickest pair of glasses you ever saw. For a security guard he seemed uninterested in the duffel bag strapped around my shoulder. His neck turned slowly, eerily, following my steps as I strutted towards the departure doors. I did well to avoid his gaze till I already had one foot in the building; then I spared a glance..

For some reason I was drawn to the print on the left breast of his shirt the most. “Gobkeen” it read. “Gobkeen” I muttered. The man nodded at me. In an instant he had risen from his seat and walked away. The lump in my chest never even had time to settle.
Who was this man? What the hell was Gobkeen?

judy

I head straight for my boarding pass. For some reason the queues are burgeoning on every airline but mine. I ask the attendant if there’s been a change in flight times (can they do that?), she assures me there isn’t. Soon a balding man approaches me from behind. Stubbed chin, thin creases around his nose and the most uninviting smile you ever saw.. “I can’t believe it’s really you!” he says. “I just love your movies.”

My movies? I had never known a set or a stage, yet this man showers praise on me for mastering them. I do not know enough to play along, so I raise my hand in protest, but he takes it in his.. “Especially Gobkeen, it brought tears to my eyes.” and just like that, he had disappeared from my sights. The attendants are observing me curiously from above their computers. I take my passport back.

Inception-confused

The departure lounge is filled with travellers, but for some reason the seats opposite me remain empty. Until she appears. Long eyelashes, press permed hair, and the largest earrings you ever saw. Before I can avert my eyes she points her camera phone in my direction. Emblazoned in the casing are the same seven words that have trailed me all night. “Gobkeen?” I question her. She nods slowly, eerily, pointing to the large glass sheet exposing the runway. My flight is arriving. I do not think I should take it.

barrack

ELECTION 2015: WHO TO VOTE FOR

No doubt this is already one of the hottest topics of the year.

apc

When I started writing this, the presidential candidates were signing a “pledge” not to resort to violence in the coming elections. I watched the president sign it too, which was totally hilarious. It’s not everyday your president promises not to kill you on live TV… Anyways, at least it helps put the message across – If you choose to fight, you’re on your own bruh.  INEC chose Valentine’s day for the election too, so you’d be like.. a total wierdo if you attacked someone on Valentine’s I guess.

GEJ chillin' #boss
GEJ chillin’ #boss

 

When a friend told me GEJ was the best president we ever had, I really couldn’t argue with him; mostly because another friend had told me GEJ was the worst president we ever had. And I couldn’t really argue with him either.  Because let’s face it, if there was an award for “most stressed out president” dude would probably make the top 5. He inherited an entire series of bad decisions from past rulers, and everyone expected him to fix the country in four years. Mostly because he told us he would.. but that’s not the point.

I think we can agree that the administration hasn’t been so great. Nobody denies that. It’s had it’s moments tho. The airports were spruced up for one, and many roads. There’s the railways I keep hearing about, which are really cool. Then agriculture improved, I think. Hey, the eagles won the nation’s cup! and we killed Ebola. But then there’s a whole catalogue of terrible things that went down..

First there was the subsidy removal, then soo much money lost or misappropriated or just not found. Stuff blew up and girls got kidnapped – that’s really the mildest way of putting it. The many many strikes. Oil prices and gas getting lost and electricity getting worse and the military having issues and I think I should stop now..

The king of Iron fist
The king of Iron fist

From all indications, his major opponent is GMB, a former Military ruler. At least I think he was.. Word on the street is that no one can find this guy’s school certificates; which could mean his schooling was poorly documented OR, he’s the greatest criminal mastermind of all time. Also, he’s 73 years old apparently (is this an Obama vs McCain thing??). Some people say he’s anti-corrupt, like the antiviruses. Others say he’s a dictator, and by others, I mean his opposition.

Then there’s the views that he’s been in ‘hibernation’ for like 30 years, I mean he didn’t release a book or anything. So I guess it’s reasonable to question his motives. There’s views that he’s a religious zealot too. The infamous Boko Haram sect nominated him as a spokesperson. He refused by the way, but that’s interesting..

inec

I just want to wish everyone a safe and successful election. and a happy valentine’s coincidentally. I can only wish for more accountability in leadership. You should be electing a president, not choosing a King. I hate that the elections are presented like a famed boxing match, then the real issues end up skirted. Such as, how do you lead a country without knowing how many people are in it?  stuff like that. I guess it’s not that simple..

Any comments you have.. about who to vote for, or things you think I missed, I’d really like to hear them