Writings of the general word's body

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Farafina's Arts & Lit Eve

Farafina's afternoon of Photography (Adolphus Opara's exhibition), Film (MW's interview with Ben Okri) and Readings (Nnedi Okorafor; winner of the 2008 WS Prize; and Eghosa Imasuen - author of the debut novel, 'To Saint Patrick').
@Bambuddha Restaurant
1310 Karimu Kotun, Victoria Island, Lagos
On Saturday 13 Dececember 2008

Nights of the Creaking Bed...

Toni Kan reads from his new book of short stories
Nights of the Creaking Bed
@ Salamander Cafe, Wuse II, Abuja
on Tuesday 9 December 2008
@ 5.30pm.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

La Bouche Du Roi

Romuald Hazoume @ The Horniman Museum
The Beninoise artist, Romuald Hazoume, exhibits his work, La Bouche Du Roi (1997-2005) - Oil Drums at the Horniman Museum (100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ).
Dates: 5 December 2008 to 1 March 2009
  • Romuald Hazoume in discussion at the museum on Thursday 4 December; 7 to 8pm.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Seen Abouna? Simply one of the most touching films you'll ever see. Following the journey of 2 brothers who run off in search of a father who walks into the sunset in search of God-knows-what and never looks back, Abouna will charm your heart and break it at the same time. After their mother dismisses the absent father as 'irresponsible' in French (irresponsable, or something like), the younger brother asks the older the meaning of the word, in one of this gentle film's funnier moments. A bit like the Asian girl asking Rambo in one of the muscle-bound movies asking, "What means expendable?" Abouna is much more human than that blockbuster, and is one of the finest examples in African films about the search for a father figure ("Yeelen" is another).
  • Abouna is on tonight (6.30pm) at the Renoir Cinema, London - as part of the London African Film Festival - in a screening attended by the director. You can see Tunde Kelani's Arugba on 7th December; and Abderrahmane Sissako's Bamako is a The BFI Southbank on 6th December.

Monday, December 01, 2008

New Reads

Nubian Princes of Bel Air. Recently published in the New Yorker, Edwidge Danticat's tale of gangsters and brotherhood in Baz Benin - the Baghdad of Haiti - titled Ghosts.
Pascal’s father had been a pigeon breeder since he was a boy in Léogâne. He’d stopped briefly in the early eighties, when some soldiers came and collected his birds because it was rumored that he was breeding carriers to send messages to armed invaders in the Dominican Republic. But when the dictatorship finally collapsed—without any help from his pigeons—he started again. Then most of his customers were nervous young men who wanted to perform a ritual before their first sexual encounter: they’d slit the pigeon’s throat and let it bleed into a mixture of Carnation condensed milk and a carbonated malt beverage called Malta. Sometimes their fathers would come with them, and, after the sons had held their noses and forced down the drink, the fathers would laugh and say, as the pigeon’s headless body was still gyrating on the ground, “I pity that girl.”
* * *
Sambi Lazarus Musa has a short-short, "The Full Moon", in the current issue of Serendipity
I had fainted before he completed his speech, and eventually jolted back to consciousness by the screams of a white man whose children were to go to the Pygmies in Congo, right in the heart of black Africa. The white man and I were both sent back to earth next morning. Our way back we saw millions of babies of all nationalities flying across the sky on their little wings. They all seemed happy, singing and shaking hands as they headed for their various destinations.
* * *
African Writing is back, and among the fiction fare this time, is "Night Calls" by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
Two months later, she invited him to Zaria so they could meet face-to-face. He had been looking forward to seeing her, so, he went, on a weekend, when the sun rose with a smile as if blessing the union forged over the GSM interface. He got to Zaria and took an okada. She guided him on the phone to the threshold of her heart, her home. She was waiting for him at the door when he arrived and he realised that she was even more beautiful than in the picture. He kept thinking about that clear spring each time she smiled. She asked him in, served him food and mineral and sat by him. They were overwhelmed and just kept looking at each other, smiling, sighing contently, happy to abide in the fragrant presence of a promising love.

Abuja Carnival

This tiny tot of a masquerade led the pack from his state at the recently concluded Abuja Carnival.
  • Images © Akintayo Abodunrin

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Robeson Play: today & tomorrow

"Paul Robeson was one of the greatest actors, singers and civil rights campaigners of the 20th century. When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment' s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.

Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threaten to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he is summoned to appear before the House of Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career.

The play is a roller coaster journey through Robeson's remarkable and eventful life, and highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and dis-remembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement. It features some of his famous songs and speeches, including a dramatic rendition of Ol' Man River."

Dates: Thursday, 20th November & Friday, 21st November

Venue: Oxford House Theatre
Derbyshire Street
London E2 6HG

Times 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 waged/£10 unwaged.
Bookings & info: 020 8983 9671 or 07950 735 390.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Okore's Infinite Flow

Ade Omoloja captured for Wordsbody this moment @ the opening of Nnenna Okore's exhibition, Ukulububa - Infinite Flow - at London's October Gallery. At the opening event were the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, her Nigerian publisher Muhtar Bakare; and the writer Sade Adeniran.

Talk of the artist as her own creation - here on the right is Okore speaking at the opening, looking somewhat like one of her sculptural works.

The exhibition is at the October Gallery till 29 November.

  • Image ©2008AdeLoj.

Agary wins the NLNG

11 October: The MUSON Centre, Lagos - Debut novelist, Kaine Agary emerged the winner of this year's NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature for her book, 'Yellow Yellow'.
See Victor Ehikhamenor's images from the award night, attended by a slew of dignitaries. 'Dignitary' in the Nigerian sense almost always means the movers and shakers of the political class; and so in this case we had former President of Nigeria's 2nd Republic, Alhaji Shehu Shagari - who has the decency after all these years to look exactly as he did back then, only greyer. Senate President David Mark - who kept a straight face when the comperes of the occasion read out his biography for tediously long minutes, right down to his hobbies - ahead of his speech - as he perfectly expected them to. No one told the Senate President he was coming to a literary award presumably, for he gave the same old speech, about the Senate's deliberations on constitutional reform - not a mention of a book. Senator Chris Anyanwu - who despite being a famed broadcaster and author not to mention a statuesque beauty over 50, might have gone unmentioned - thankfully for her, she had the good sense to have become a politician in the interim; and so in time honoured Nigerian tradition, she got mentioned in full observance of the so called 'protocols'. Ndubuisi Kanu - who didn't like his seat and left within 5 minutes (who do they think I am? he must have asked himself). King of Bonny, Transport Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke (who I might have actually liked to see in the flesh, but who was lost in the throng of dignitaries, Nigeria's once Interim leader (of the oft derided 'Fidihe' government in Yoruba popular lore) Chief Ernest Shonekan.... etcetera etcetera.

A true literary great, octogenarian Gabriel Okara, author of the classic 'The Voice' was in the audience - and went unmentioned. A crime, surely. At least Okara got to have his day when the winner was announced (Agary had been in the running with Jude Dibia, shortlisted for his second novel, 'Unbridled') and the old man, himself a Niger Deltan, got to embrace and do an impromtu lap of honour with Agary, who won for a Niger Delta novel. Some might have noted that she won for a story on the Niger Delta experience (an experience not unconnected with environmental degradation) from an energy company. The rest, quite frankly, is literature.

Kaine Agary won $50,000 - and vowed to visit Cuba before Castro dies. Easy enough, with all that cash.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ladipo Manyika's reading

2nd October - Sarah Ladipo Manyika reads from her debut novel, In Dependence, at the Blue Mountain Cafe, Dulwich, London.
  • Images ©2008AdeLoj

Friday, October 03, 2008

Nnenna Okore in London

Nnenna Okore's works are on show at London's October Gallery from 16th October to 29th November 2008 - in an exhibition to be opened by none other than Orange Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
It's the first London solo exhibition for Okore, a former student of another October Gallery favourite, El Anatsui.
This, from the gallery
"[Okore's] work often employs ordinary media like magazines and newspaper, which are disposed of in her current home the United States, but are considered usable commodities in her native Nigeria. By re-imagining everyday waste, as well as natural materials, Nnenna’s works consistently challenges environmental neglect, consumerism and globalisation."
  • Nnenna Okore - 16 October to 29 November @ the October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, LONDON WC1N 3AL

Many Rivers To Cross

Many Rivers to Cross
posters, cartoons, drawings, prints and paintings from Zimbabwe

30 September - 25 October 2008

Oval House Café/Gallery, London

Sarah Ladipo Manyika's "In Dependence"

Sarah Ladipo Manyika is currently on a transatlantic reading tour with her debut novel, In Dependence. She's already done 3 dates in London and 1 in Birmingham. See details of where you might catch her, below.
  • Saturday 4th October - Borders Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham (1-3pm).
  • Friday 17th October - Pacifica Library, San Mateo (7.30pm).
  • Wednesday 22nd October - Main Theatre (Bldg 3), Canada College, San Mateo (1pm).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

African Theatre Festival

A season of plays exploring the African condition
42/44 Gaisford Street
Kentish Town
London NW5

Plays on until 5 October

  • Zolly by Nico Luwes
  • Agamemnon by Luwes
  • The Island by Athol Fugard
  • Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act by Athol Fugard
  • The Swamp Dwellers by Wole Soyinka

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shooting Adesuwa

5 Sept '08: A normal afternoon in a Lagos office block, until Victor Ehikhamenor grabbed his camera and spirited this dark beauty, Adesuwa, to the construction site next door and started to shoot. She, it turned out, was a natural. And MW was on hand to catch the behind-the-camera images, and even lent a hand as pretend stylist.

Book Moves

Whilst Wordsbody was sleeping, the world of books has rolled on, as it should. Here are just a few happenings we've been unduly silent on...

Jude Dibia went down south for the launch of the South African edition of his second novel, Unbridled, published by Jacana. The Pretoria News said of the author: “He is lively, interesting and willing to have a laugh at himself... [a] talented young Nigerian voice.” The judges and organisers of the richest literary prize in Nigeria seem to be in agreement, and Dibia is one of two shortlisted authors (alongside Kaine Agary, author of ‘Yellow Yellow’) contending for this year’s NLNG Prize, worth $50,000. Read Lauri Kubuitsile’s review of Unbridled – here. The winner of the NLNG Prize 2008 is announced at the Muson Centre, Lagos, on October 11.

Meanwhile, Uche Peter Umez, winner of this year’s BSU Creative Writing Competition, went on to participate in the Iowa International Writers’ Program.

Women Writing Zimbabwe, a new anthology edited by Irene Staunton, came out, with contributions by the some of the most vibrant females writing out of Zim today, including: Blessing Musariri and Wadzanai Mhute. In there also is Petina Gappah who has been making transatlantic publishing wa
ves with international deals for her forthcoming books – yes, not one but two – An Elegy for Easterly (a collection of short stories) and a novel, The Book of Memory (lovely title). Read all about it on the author’s blog.

In the Women Writing Zimbabwe anthology is a writer who straddles straddles Zim and Nigeria and other places/heritages besides. Her name is Sarah Ladipo Manyika, and she’s going to be making waves of her own. Her novel, In Dependence, is published this month by the UK’s Legend Press. An Anglo-Nigerian tale by an Anglo-Nigerian writer, In
Dependence will be published later in a West African edition by Cassava Republic.

We hope to stay awake as books move on...

  • Sarah Ladipo Manyika's image © Robert Birnbach

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Downtown Lagos

I've just exchanged office views of Victoria Street in London for that of downtown Lagos. This is the office window view as photographed by me yesterday afternoon. Forget the skyline in Dubai or Bangkok. Igbosere, Lagos, is where it's at right now!

Highlife at the Ojez

Here's the ageless Fatai Rolling Dollar (81 years old) performing at the Highlife Party (Elder's forum), held at the Ojez Club, in the Lagos Stadium on Sunday 31st August. This last edition was held to celebrate the 50th birthdays of 3 artistes: Kunle Ajibade of TheNEWS Magazine (writer and journalist), Horgan Ekong (graphic designer) and Arnold Udoka (dancer). The Highlife Party is a monthly event organized by CORA.

Caught in the act: Toyin Akinosho (right) of CORA cutting a rug. He writes the Artsville Column in the Sunday Guardian.

CNN was busy filming the proceedings.

Palmwine guitarist and Highlife veteran, Alaba Pedro, performed.
  • Images by MW

Art Expo - Lagos

Nike Davies Okundaye (left) of the Nike Art Gallery at the Art Expo Nigeria 2008

Not many places you could catch these 3 in one shot: Jahman Anikulapo (Editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Lagos), Kaye Whiteman (former editor of West Africa Magazine; he's writing a much awaited book on Lagos) and artist Nike Davies Okundaye.

Kaye Whiteman, Mudiare Onobrakpeya and Nike Davies Okundaye

Mudiare Onobrakpeya being interviewed.

Artist Bola Oyetunji of Baroyet Copper Art Gallery surrounded by her works at the Art Expo.

  • Images by MW - Lagos 31st August 2008

Conversation with Victor

Was at the the last day of the Art Expo Nigeria, held at the National Museum, Onikan in Lagos on Sunday. It ran from 27th August to the 31st and featured over 700 pieces from about 30 art galleries (members of the Arts Galleries Association of Nigeria - AGAN).

Getting there, I touched an artist who had come ahead of me to the Expo and left his imprint. Victor Ehikhamenor wrote on the white Scrawl Wall on one end of the expo exhibition, to say he was here. So I followed suit, and left my own scribble next to Victor's. A conversation of sorts.
  • Image taken by MW at Art Expo Nigeria 2008, Lagos, 31st August 2008
  • Click on image for larger view.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Read

To make up some for the silence here of late, how about a new read from me? "Smoking Bamboo", a tale of love and loss and lots more besides, is published in Serendipity, the online journal of magical realist fiction.


The notion of babies from the sky was drummed into us by the mothers, to explain how we came about. I had long concluded that this could not be true. No babies had arrived since the men of the gorge went to the never-ending war in the place below. Still, I had the fanciful idea that morning and I was determined to hold on to it.

But Amugbo had heard me. He sauntered down the steps of his stilt-house, movements unsteady. I did not remember a time when he did not walk like this.

'Foolish children,' he slurred. 'Women get babies from men, not birds.' He ignored our collective intake of breath, scratching his head. I wondered if his hair had ever met a comb. A nest woven by an inattentive bird, the hair was knotted, and bits of leaves peeked from the locks. 'Well, you can't be expected to know any better, living as you do in this unnatural environment.

''Unnatural? Babies from men?' Simisola, indignant, scrambled onto her feet. 'Let me go and ask my mother.'

'And what have I said to you all about hanging around my place? Go and disturb your mothers. Leave me alone.' Amugbo hit the air with a kick thrown in our direction, falling on his backside. We knew he meant none of it. We put up with his interruptions in our play because his was the one place we could converge without being driven elsewhere. He tolerated us and we tolerated him.

And for me, Amugbo's place was a refuge, somewhere I could play with my friends, away from the creeping spectre of death at home.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Contribute to Cavalcade

CAVALCADE literary journal, devoted to publishing original stories, poems,one-act plays, reviews, critical essays and art from an African perspective,will debut in October 2008 with a special edition. The tri-annual journal, aproject of the Abuja Writers' Forum (AWF), is now seeking submissions for the second and third editions.

All works must be submitted by email in the form of a single Microsoft Word compatible attachment. Be sure your name and email address appear on each page. Please put "Fiction," "Poetry," “One Act Play”, "Essay", “Review” or “Art” in the subject line of the email. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines risk being unread.

Fiction, essays and reviews must not exceed 5,000 words. Please do not submit more than one work of short story, one-act play, essay or review, and send ONLY three poems and five art works per submission. Art submissions must be in jpeg format.

You may submit works that have been previously published as long as you still own the copyright and all reproduction rights. Check with the previous publisher before submitting such works to CAVALCADE. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please notify us if work has been accepted elsewhere. All rights revert to the author upon publication, though CAVALCADE expects to be credited when the work is republished.

Contributors will be notified if their materials are selected and will in turn indicate their willingness to have the materials published in CAVALCADE. Contributors will not be paid for their works but will receive a copy of the edition in which their works appear. Deadline for this particular call is October 30, 2008.

Send submissions to the appropriate editor and copy cavalcade@bigstring.com:



One-Act Play

Critical Essay



Monday, July 28, 2008

SB on Caine Prize 2008

Many thanks to SB who sent me the following about this year's Caine Prize.

Caine Prize 2008 Winner

This year's Caine Prize has been won by Henrietta Rose-Innes from South Africa, with her story ‘
Poison’ from ‘Africa Pens,’ published by Spearhead, an imprint of New Africa Books, Cape Town, 2007.

The winner of the £10,000 prize was announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford on Monday, 7 July.

The short story by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, ‘Cemetery of Life’ which was first published in issue 52, autumn 2007 of
Wasafiri was on the shortlist for the Caine Prize.

The Caine Prize is awarded to a short story published in English by an African writer whose work has reflected African sensibilities. With over 90 entries coming in from 17 African countries, the writers on the shortlist were:

Mohammed Naseehu Ali (Ghana) ‘
Mallam Sile’, from ‘The Prophet of Zongo’, published by Amistad, an imprint of Harper Collins, NY, 2005
Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi) ‘
For Honour’ from ‘African Pens’, published by Spearhead, an imprint of New Africa Books, Cape Town, 2007
Gill Schierhout ( South Africa ) ‘
The Day of the Surgical Colloquium’ from ‘African Pens’, published by Spearhead, an imprint of New Africa Books, Cape Town , 2007
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu ( Nigeria ) ‘
Cemetery of Life’ from ‘Wasafiri’ No52 Autumn 2007

This year’s panel of judges was chaired by the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, Jude Kelly OBE, who is responsible for creating a unified artistic vision for the whole 21 acre site. An experienced director of over 100 productions, she was awarded an OBE for services to the theatre in 1997 and is Chair of Culture, Ceremonies and Education at the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

Joining her on the panel were Jamaican poet and professor of English, Mark McMorris, Hisham Matar, the Libyan author of the internationally successful first novel, In the Country of Men, Eritrean-born Hannah Pool, a Guardian journalist, and the previous 2007 judge, South African poet, novelist and lecturer Jonty Driver.

For further information please visit the Caine Prize website.
  • Words by SB; image by MW

New Read

The adventures of a 419 chancer chasing scamming dreams on the internet, is the subject of a new story by A Igoni Barrett, Dream Chaser, published in Eclectica.

It was twenty minutes past eight in the morning, and the cybercafé was already three-quarters full. Samu'ila chose an unoccupied system at the far end of the room. Approaching it, he walked into a blast of air so cold he could feel the skin of his armpits break out in goose-pimples; the spot he had picked was in the path of the draft from one of the air conditioners. Despite this, Samu'ila pulled out the chair and sat down. He cracked his knuckles with anticipation and then drew out the sliding panel on which the keyboard lay and carefully punched in the password on his ticket. The monitor screen burst into life. With a happy smile on his face, Samu'ila bent his head over the keyboard and tip-tapped his way into the phantasmagoric realm of the worldwide web.

Read about Samu'ila the 'Yahooze' guy in Dream Chaser.

Down Botswana Way

[I] t was common place for the San/Bushmen to be referred to as Lesarwa/Masarwa; le-/ma- being the singular and plural in Setswana for a noun class that is mostly reserved for things. As time passed, it became politically incorrect to use such terms and now Mosarwa/ Basarwa are the correct terms to be used.

And not a lot of people outside Southern Africa knew that I'll wager. Want to know about the writing scene in Gaborone? What Lebo Mashile said in True Love SA? Or why the Media Practitioners Bill about to go through the Botswana Parliament will kill freedom of expression? Then Thoughts From Botswana, a blog by Motswana writer Lauri Kubuitsile, refreshes the parts Wordsbody cannot reach.

Ike Anya, doctor of letters

Ike Anya is something to everyone. To some, he is an astute travel writer. To others, he is a poet. He is also a good interviewer and a keen blogger. However people get to know Ike, they eventually get to know he is actually a medical doctor with one foot in the arts and the other in medicine.

Quoting Nnorom Azuonye's words on Ike Anya. "Something to everyone" - Nnorom can say that again.

Ike was recently appointed a Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Hammersmith and Fulham Primary Care Trust. To the man who has achieved this great feat, it was just another blessing for which he was grateful, and not something to shout about. Ike's childhood friend and fellow public health doctor/co-blogger, Chikwe Ihekweazu felt differently about it, and together with his wife Ijeoma, they set up a fantastic reception in Ike's honour at the Cicada in London's Farringdon area on Friday, the 4th of July 2008. As the event kicked off I looked around. No Molara Wood. Shit! Who is going to write about this night?

No Molara Wood. But Nnorom stepped up, and wrote about it! Where there's a writer, no story goes untold. Read his account of the evening.

One always had this fear that Medicine would take Ike Anya away from us eventually, but judging from his recent showing, we need not fear too much. One of his trademark writer's interviews - a discussion with the author Sefi Atta about her recently published novel, Swallow - was in the Nigerian Guardian of 20 July. Anya also co-edited the just published Weaverbird Collection of short stories by Nigerian writers; his fellow co-editors for the collection being: Akin Adesokan, Sarah Ladipo Manyika (whose first novel, In Dependence, is out soon via Legend Press, UK), and Ike Oguine. Contributors to the Weaverbird include: Ike Okonta, Victor Ehikhamenor, Tade Ipadeola and Unoma Azuah.
  • Swallow & The Weaverbird Collection are published by Farafina/Kachifo.
  • Photo of Ike Anya (with Uzor Maxim Uzoatu) by MW.

Obama who art from heaven

I was watching one of the US news networks some days back when I heard about Gerard Baker's satirical piece in The Times. Soon enough, Baker popped up on the screen to perform his piece, which narrates in Biblical terms Barack Obama's epic journey to the Democratic nomination and rapturous reception in Europe. The European leg of that journey reached fever pitch in Germany (not to mention a Sarkozy 'anointing' in France), and so it was interesting to see The Guardian's 'View from... Germany' cartoon published on Saturday.
Every weekend The Guardian has been publishing these very topical Cartoon 'views' from around the world. During the Zimbabwean re-election sham, there was one depicting a match in which every striker, defender, midfielder and goalkeeper on the field for both teams was Robert Mugabe himself! And on the weekend of 19th July there was a 'view from... Canada' on the Madiba's 90th birthday, in which Thabo Mbeki struggles like an ant in Nelson Mandela's mammoth shadow. Priceless.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Explo on Pan Africanism

Dear All,

Just like with Socialism, Pan Africanism has acquired so many conflicting definitions and practices. As we have different people calling themselves socialists and carrying out actions which are in conflict with one another there are aslo people calling themselves Pan Africanists and not agreeing on what to do together practically.

I am making this posting to spell out what Pan Africanism I subscribe to, to avoid any confusion in anybody's mind about my politics. I see Pan Africanism as the political struggle by people of African descent in unity to reshape the relationship between people of African descent / Africa and the rest of the world under guidance of social justice. This is, therefore, to dismantle the unfair and unjust relationship and associated assimilation imposed by enslavement and colonialism.It is to resist and fight against the attempts at forcing Africans to be assimilated into other cultures. It is to dismantle the political and economic architecture imposed on Africa and Africans which is being held together by proxy wars. My reference point on this are teachings of Kwame Nkrumah, other Pan African teachings (Cabral, Diop, Tabatha, M'buyinga etc) and the legacy of the All African People's Conferences.

Pan Africanism, to me, is not just a declaration or a set of essays. It is a living political movement. No other forum, apart from the Pan African movement, provides space for this. I don't know any section of the Left (European or Asian) which has developed a positive engagement with the Pan African movement as a movement and work with the Left globally remains a struggle as Walter Rodney, C.L.R. James and George Padmore observed. (At the Rendezvous of Victory by C.L.R. James). The Left,globally, is hostile to Pan Africanism and the European left as well as anarchists, without exception, are subversive of Pan Africanism.

This does not mean that the Right Wing is more accomodating to the Pan Africanist movement. The Right Wing represents the imperialist ruling class so the question doesn't arise where they stand. It is the politics to maintain the unfair and unjust world and therefore to fight against Pan Africanism. However, the Left is supposed to be anti-imperialist and that is why I'm highlighting this and also because there are all manner of people of African descent who initiate debates about which of the Left to choose from. I say NONE and the only relationship we should have with them is that they allow us a space where we spell out and organise our politics without any dictate from them. I doubt whether such space can be permanently provided but we don't have any alternative than to do exactly what I am talking about. the ideal is to have our own space.

Pan Africanism does not also mean just the grouping of black skins. Many organised groups of Africans, led by the petit-bourgeois, are anti-Pan Africanist. I saw a hostile response when ALISC Network put together Zimbabwe and Cameroon together for discussion hosted by ALISC's parliamentary supporter, Jeremy Corbyn. From that experience, we have even resolved never to organise a meeting on a single neo-colonial state. Our events should create a Pan African approach rather than institutionalisng Jan Smuts Pan Africanism. (Jan Smuts is the father of apartheid poltics in South Africa. Nkrumah used the term Jan Smuts Pan Africanism to refer to the declaration of Pan Africanism which in practice just goes along with the structures created by the Berlin Conference of 1884). Our approach will bring us in conflict with "Declaration Pan Africanism" which is not located in any movement but just in the minds of the declaration maker and his/her feelings.

In order for us to unite and for unity to be meaningful we must be clear of our lines of demarcation otherwise unity will be futile as advised by V.I. Lenin, the Russian revolutionary. I have spelt out the basis of the Pan Africanism, which the Pan African Electoral Challenge I am associated with, is attached in my presentation on Proxy Wars In Africa at Marxism 2008. I have an uncompromising commitment to the contents of that presentation. It, therefore, spells out my non-negotiable relationship with other political forces and also the basis of any unity and joint work. I'm going to transcribe and circulate the CD immediately it is ready for publication to put to rest what practical politics I am ready to be involved in and with which platform I am associated with as I return to Africa.

Brotherly and Comradely,

Explo Nani-Kofi


Monday, July 14, 2008

Writers in the news

I had planned to make Sulaiman Addonia's reading of 30th June here in London but my good intentions went to pot. And so I was glad to see this profile of the writer in the Metro just days later. Click on the black & white page on the left for a better read of the article on the writer, whose novel, 'The Consequences of Love', is out now.
*Meanwhile, Nigerian Jude Dibia made the South African press recently (see below, right), discussing his second novel, Unbridled, which is now published by Jacana in SA.