But striking profs have an extremely valid point
I come from the country / Of the Happiest People on earth, / Where death sells at ten for one kobo / And the Living envy the peace
A young police officer is standing with a woman I assume to be his mother. She is praying for him loudly, at a major junction on the streets of a Lagos suburb; speaking in tongues unashamedly while passers-by stare, some in admiration, others, not so much.
In Nigerian popular culture, ‘double wahala’ is a Pidgin English phrase that was made popular by ace Afrobeat musician and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
I hardly leave my house, but I had to go there; I was going abroad and needed to be double vaxxed before traveling.
The university store where Bimpe Alabi sells snacks and drinks at the park is usually crawling with customers. Since University of Ilorin's lecturers have gone on strike, this has changed. Alabi stands outside, inviting passersby. Her profits have shrunk, pushing her family into hardship.
In the traditions that established earlier voices in modern Africa poetry, sociopolitical maladies have remained an arch theme. In the words of Omafune Onoge, what rocks African poetry most is the crisis of consciousness.
“We have a lot of insecurity in Nigeria. By road we are not safe. By train we are not safe”. (From a survivor of the Abuja-Kaduna Train bomb; Mon., March 28, 2022)
He belongs to a generation of Nigerian men raised to be strong, silent, and hopelessly incapable of accepting complicity even in the face of clear damage. The patriarchy is alive in him indeed.
Our dealings are dominated by a disregard for scientific reasoning, and a preference for ostentatious, and often venal religiosity.
The past year recedes
Iwo smells of dust and rusty air, clouding up my mind and drowning my memory. The first thing my mother welcomes me with is water. She is an ardent devotee of the culture that believes water is the most glorious form of courtesy that can be paid to a visitor. But I always find it hard to drink.