Friday, November 12, 2010

Oblivion(a short story)


“Tami, are you not going to fish today? The sunshine must have penetrated the river and the fishes would be awake by now!” my mama called from inside the hut.
“The day is still young mama, I will soon go.” I shouted back.
I looked up and saw the sun high in the sky, yet I felt reluctant to go. I stared across the horizon and felt an invisible darkness creeping upon the land. Usually, I would wake up at the first stroke of dawn and rush to the river. Now, the joy that the first rays of the early morning sunshine brought had receded. It had been replaced by a vague feeling of emptiness that had refused to go ever since the oil wells were installed.
My name is Taminore. I live in a small village in the Southernmost part of Nigeria, an area of land called the Niger Delta because that is where the River Niger flows into the Atlantic ocean, dividing into many rivulets or tributaries. One of these rivulets is very close to my home. We are predominantly fishermen and this river is our mainstay.
When I was fifteen, oil was discovered in the village. As I grew up, I saw my environment change rapidly before my very eyes. For the first time, there was electricity, and government provided a school for the community. For a while, the tides of change were positive. Then, gradually, the adverse effects of uncontrolled oil exploitation began to seep in. Now, five years later, I was twenty and my source of livelihood was being severely threatened. The river had been badly polluted due to oil spillage. The fishes were dying and the water had become unfit for drinking.
Soon, I started slowly across the creeks towards the river. Usually, when I got to the river, I would stand for a while on the shores of the river, admiring the beauty of my habitat. Then, I would find a suitable spot around the river, where I would sit, watching lazily as the water shimmered and the fishes danced in it. I could wait there for a long time, just staring at the water and dreaming, until I sighted Seigher. I would watch as she approached me, her big fetching bowl balanced on her head. She would smile at me, showing her small, white teeth. She had dimpled cheeks and hazel eyes. She would come to me and embrace me, then we would go fishing together.
Today, I was so late that I didn’t need to wait there for Seigher. She was already there, sitting on a tree branch. I realized her face was solemn and grim
“Tami!” she called as I walked towards her, “John is dead!” she cried. She ran to me and I held her in my arms. She sobbed on my shoulder, pouring out her grief.
“What happened” I asked, not believing that my bestfriend, and Seigher’s brother was dead.
“It was the soldiers. They thought he was a militant. Oh Tami, he’s gone!”
I held her in my arms and comforted her. I felt a deep bore in my heart, so deep it penetrated into my core and made me feel the impending doom. I stared at the river, the water used to be clear and colourless, but now it was glowing under the sunlight, various colours radiating from the oily face. I could see dead fishes under the water and the smell of oil was thick in the air
Then I realized that everything we had was slipping away into oblivion.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kajola, Nigeria's first Sci-fi movie to premiere

There was an argument about its pioneering claim in Nigeria but what is certain is Kajola is a noteworthy and quick to be tagged trailblazing effort from Niyi Akinmolayan. Kajola which translates as ‘commonwealth’ in the Yoruba dialect is from the stable of Port Harcourt based record label and film studio Adonai Production. CGI is an acronym for Computer generated Images and ‘Kajola’ combines real images/camera shots of Lagos and abstract computer generated illustration to deliver a story shot in the year 2059 and the plot is Lagos, Nigeria. A rebel leader, Allen is born that is played by Adonijah Owiriwa compulsed by the torn Lagos state after a second civil war – The rich relocate to the island area of the state, transforming their side of town while the mainlanders were abandoned. Allen led a rebellion against the government in a plot codenamed ‘Kajola’ . Police Chief Yetunde [played by Keira Hewatch] is to stop the rebellion. Somewhere into the movie, they came to a realization – that they were lied to. “It is a story of love, lust and struggle for power” in Niyi Akinmolayan’s words. “We have told the same story in a different premise using sci – fi as a medium and using special effects” the director/writer added.
Still can’t picture what the movie might be? Imagine a music video director Clarence Peters taking the video for Mike Anyasodo’s fine fine lady and making it into a 90 minutes flick or a PXC doing a music video of the mentioned length for M.I.’s safe or Djinee’s Overkilling – one doesn’t need to be a technie to understand it’s a herculean task that requires team and perseverance. The script was written five years ago by Niyi Akinmolayan, the director who is a self taught visual effect compositor.
At a press conference held on the 9th of June, the Director explained how the movie was inspired by his relocation from the mainland to the island and Charles Dickens’ tales of two cities. Besides been a CGI movie, It might also interest you that the movie gulped a 130 million budget and lasted a production period of 18 months. Camera shots were taken in Lagos but moved to Port Harcourt for editing, special effects and post production. The challenge with power since relying on the grid system would be unwise was to acquire six generating sets with 40 dual core computer systems used to simulate the explosion scenes in the movie. The characters were not generated, Desmond Elliot played the power drunk Inspector General of Police, less known acts Adonijah Owiriwa, TJ Morgan, Cassandra Odita and Keira Hewatch of ‘Dear Mother’, ‘Tinsel’ and ‘Just the two of us’ soap opera fame starred in Kajola. Lead actors took professional one-month marital art classes and their leather costumes were hand made to suit each character – is that enough appetizer to see the movie? Kajola would be available on the 30th of July at the Cinemas.
When the budget was mentioned – check for the sponsors produced Riverdrill Group, New dawn and Greater Port-Harcourt City project by the River State government.
Stating clearly that a movie can’t not be reviewed from a trailer but it serves well as a window and a decision should be reached after seeing one but only appropriate that a review comes after the screening to happen a week before the movie is available in cinemas.
The movie wouldn’t pass with its criticism [draw from watching just the trailer] – deciding to leave out the underwhelming CGI that doesn’t enhance the movie’s sense of realism as it is a springing effort from Anthill and Niyi, one would notice conspicuously the flaws with the make up. The benchmark is the average science fiction already available in the Nigerian market largely from Hollywood and Kajola should achieve in terms of realism something close – the 130 million naira budget gets mentioned and James Cameron’s Avatar set in Lagos is expected. While the actual plot mechanics of Kajola are inventive, still can’t be said if the world set in 2059 where the characters inhabit makes sense but the trailer clearly shows underwhelming CGI that doesn’t enhance the movie’s sense of realism.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Olufemi Terry, Sierra Leonean of Nigerian origin wins coveted literary prize

—Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry has won this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing, for “Stickfighting Days,” his story of life and death in a city rubbish dump.

The Caine Prize of $16,000 is regarded as Africa’s leading literary award for a short story published in English by an African writer.

Judges called Terry a “talent with an enormous future.”

He emerged winner from a shortlist that included: South Africa's Ken Barris and Alex Smith, Kenya's Lily Mabura and Zambia's Namwali Serpell. This year's award was judged by a panel made up of the Economist's Literary Editor, Fiammetta Rocco (Chair), British literary magazine Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, novelist Hisham Matar and University Professors Jon Cook (University of East Anglia) and Samantha Pinto (Georgetown University).
Three of the five judges are Africans, but this is a prize decided in England, awarded in Oxford for work written in English, noted editor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey in the Guardian newspaper.

Born in Sierra Leone to a Sierra Leonean father and an Antillean mother, Terry grew up in Nigeria, the UK and Cote d'Ivoire, studied at the New York University (earning a B.A. in Political Science in 1994 and a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications in 2002) and has lived in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, working as a journalist and editor with The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, the World Health Organisation, and the World Bank. In 2008 he earned an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. He now lives in Cape Town and is completing work on his first novel.
You can read more on the story on and¤t_edition=2010-07-14

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Above Chaos(episode1)

The anthropology class was interesting as usual. The lecturer; a thin, bespectacled professor with a trim mustache had thrilled the students today. Professor Marcus spoke glowingly in his rich, baritone voice to the admiration of the students who listened with rapt attention as he challenged their imaginations and embellished their fantasies with grand tales of man’s forgotten past. The course code was also impressive; GNS 221; general studies as they call such courses, are usually interesting. This is because it brings many departments together and gives the engineering boys, who have few girls in their classes, an opportunity to meet the beautiful girls from the social sciences. At this time of the semester, when social activities were at an all time low and we had just resumed from a long strike, this class was the most interesting place to be in this boring world.
To me, this class was also important, not just because of the above reason or that it was a prerequisite for my moving to 300 level. It was because it offered me another opportunity to see Tami. Gazing at the podium from my rear seat near the window without really seeing the lecturer, my mind wandered away from the lecture and fixed on the lingering pain in my heart. I was filled with nostalgia; it was in a class like this that I had met Tami several months ago.
In my first year in school, I was a chronic recluse. I was shy and withdrawn most times, as I was always in conflict with my environment in my mind. I covered my insecurity by focusing on books. My social life was on gloomy ebb. I didn’t have any friends, neither was I involved in any social activity. As expected, my first year result was excellent; I was on my way to having a first class. But it could not remove the dull feeling of emptiness within me; I hadn’t yet come to terms with my identity and essence in the midst of such confusion. I felt lonely; I thought nobody really wanted me. I became envious of the confident, gregarious guys in my class; I watched them as they spoke and played with pretty girls and jealousy tore at my heart. Sometimes, I found solace in the intellectual masturbation offered by books. I withdrew into an inner shell.
Then one day, after a GNS 211 class, which was a course on linguistics, I met Tami. Though I was in electronics engineering, we were grouped with students from mass communications. I was sitting at my book as usual when I sensed unusual footsteps and I looked up to see a damsel walk in. What struck me immediately she entered was the aura of freshness that surrounded her, and wondered who she was coming to see. Something strange tingled in my body and I faced my book immediately, to avoid any embarrassment. It wasn’t long before my curiosity took the better of me and I had to look up again. Suddenly, I found her walking towards me, her eyes looking directly at me. No, this couldn’t be happening, she couldn’t be coming towards me. I was dazed, I sank into my chair and wanted to escape, but it was too late, all my escape routes were well guarded by prying eyes.

Above chaos

This week, we will start something new on the blog. I will start publication of my short story, titled 'Above Chaos' It is the story of two lovers who discovered that they were actually step- siblings under the most unfair circumstances. The story delves into the political, social and ethnic issues in Nigeria; corruption, violence, ethnic strife and love. The story attempts to examine these issues and how they affect ordinary individuals. I have broken the story into episodes to make it easy to read and enjoy. Happy reading.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The dawn of a new era is near

whether we like it or not, it seems a new age is at hand in Nigeria. we might be entering a new era in which things are going to change dramatically.