Thursday, March 27, 2008

Open Society Fellowship Launched

Still at the linking thing, but this one for a good cause.

The Open Society Institute has launched a fellowship program to enable outstanding individuals from around the world to pursue projects that will inspire meaningful debate and shape public policy.

The Open Society Fellowship will award $2 million in 2008 to scholars, journalists, activists and others working on national security; citizenship, membership and marginalization; authoritarianism; and new strategies and tools for advocacy.

Fellows' projects may include books, articles, documentary films, online media, and efforts to seed new campaigns and organizations. OSI seeks fellows who will engage with its staff and inform its thinking.

See for more info.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Innocence of Youth

Indeed it seems like all I do these days is link to other bloggers' post. Perhaps not quite, but getting there.....

Anyway, I loved reading this post. Writer Tayari Jones wrote about finding a memento from her youth and how she was reminded about how fearless she was in her youth: she applied for every grant she heard about; sent out her manuscripts with wild abandon (I might be paraphrasing rather too exuberantly myself); and generally had loads of confidence to spare.

Aaah, the innocence and joy of youth. It's a time when you still believe that everything is possible and just because you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want something and because you deserve it, then you *should* get it. In due course we find out that life doesn't exactly work that way, but at that stage our almost blind belief that everything will work out well strangely enough ensures that it frequently does.

Blogging in Africa From the Early Days

Read this, via African Path: Sokari (of Black Looks) traces the development of the African blogosphere. Read it here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

V-Monologues - Last Show

The last V-Monologues show is tomorrow (Thursday) 6PM at TerraKulture (Tiamiyu Savage Street, V/I). So if you haven't seen it, this is your last chance.

Biyi Bandele Book Readings

Ooooh, it's that thing I love so much - a book reading! I read about this Biyi Bandele book tour in the papers and meant to blog about it. And then promptly forgot until I saw it on Naijablog.

Here are the details:

April 5 2008
British Council, 20 Thompson Road, Ikoyi
5 PM

April 8 2008
British Council, 10 Emir's Palace Road
6 PM

April 9 2008
British Council, Plot 3645 IBB Way, Maitama
6 PM

Port Harcourt
April 11
British Council Information Centre, Plot 127 Olu Obsanjo Way, GRA II
6 PM

Monday, March 17, 2008

An Overview: Local Participation in Nigerian ICT Sector

This Technology Times article gives a good overview of indigenous participation in the Nigerian ICT sector.

It highlights the lack of skilled manpower and the need to address this in order to keep the industry growing and developing as it should.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Blogger on Blogging

Read this interview, via Loomie's blog (Thanks, Loomie! Looking forward to exploring your blog.)

A blogger Steve Clemmons was interviewed by the Pakistani Spectator about blogging among other things. As you know I like to blog; I also like to blog about blogging so enjoy......

Friday, March 14, 2008

So, the V-Monologues ....

So, the famed/notorious (depending on your p.o.v) V-Monologues FINALLY arrived in Lagos yesterday. For a few months, I had read posts about the writing process and also seen photos from the rehearsals. After reading and hearing a lot of differing opinions about it, I was curious to see it and make-up my own mind.

I was looking forward to it, because after seeing the production of the Vagina Monologues two years ago, while I enjoyed it immensely, I felt that it would have so much more significance to Nigerian women if it were rooted in a more familiar cultural context. Besides, we have so many of our own issues that women in Nigeria are dealing with that I felt that would offer such a rich palette of experiences to draw from.

The first thing I noticed was how the title of the show had been modified from the Vagina Monologues to the V-Monologues. Hmmmm, was this some form of prudery and trying to avoid using the word “vagina”? I sincerely hoped not. Maybe it had its reasons in something legal? Or an attempt to indicate that this was an adaptation? Anyway, let’s move on.

Overall, I enjoyed many of the monologues. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the experiences appeared to be drawn largely from the experiences of women in the southern part of Nigeria. The realities of women from the north were not really present (aside from one monologue centered on a child bride and VVF; and another on wife-sharing in the middle-belt).

Many of the monologues were sad. This was necessary to portray the reality of many women’s lives. Many of them were poignant and kept you thinking back and reflecting on them hours after the show had ended. Not a lot were celebratory (I can only think of three or maybe four that were intended to be); however even in some of the more painful ones, there were flashes of biting humour, reminding you that life can be like that sometimes.

In some of the monologues, women were identified as the main culprits in causing or aggravating another woman’s pain, in selling her out and letting her down at the worst possible time (The Black Widow, Women Trafficking). Women were shown sometimes to be pawns of men in perpetuating hurtful cultural traditions (the monologue on FGM). In some cases, women were portrayed as being too helpless to take a stand. All of which can imply that women are weak, spineless, witless or cruel. “Yes, you see! You women are your own worst enemies.”

In all this, patriarchy continues to rear its ugly, multi-hydra’ed head, although that might not be the message that many would take away from this.

The last monologue recounts many great women from times gone past and is, I imagine, intended to be a rousing call to arms. It states how patriarchy came with the white man and how the existence of the ‘great women of yore’ (e.g. Queen Amina, Moremi, Emotan, Efunsetan Aniwura) proved that historically there existed no form of discrimination based on gender. Now, I don’t believe that is correct at all! I believe that these women were the exception rather than the rule. Yes, we have had, and still have, families with strong mother figures, but they have tended to ‘know their place’ within the power structure of the family.

Women were reminded that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” While this is true on some levels, it does not account for the women who are not sufficiently knowledgeable about their rights (this is not just in a legal context) or empowered enough to fight their way out of the box that culture, society, tradition, religion, etc has put them in. So that statement, to me, was akin to belittling their pain and suffering.

Like I mentioned though, I enjoyed many of the monologues. I appreciate the phenomenal amount of work that went into writing and producing them. I was in awe of the actresses, particularly Omonor Imobhio and Bimbo Akintola. I also enjoyed Kemi Akindoju from Theatre @ Terra (Wow! She can SING!).

I think this was a good start in telling Nigerian women’s stories, but I would love to see a wider range of experiences represented; perhaps more monologues offering some hope or glimmer at the end of a very dark tunnel (or is there none?). Yes, we know that women can be cruel to other women, but let’s also not kid ourselves in believing that Nigeria is not patriarchal society. It is very much so and that needs to be re-enforced. Also, next year, let’s do without the male narrator and drummers.

Other Reviews:
- Funmi Iyanda
- Uzo
- When I moved back to Naija
- Naijablog

Monday, March 10, 2008


Saturday was International Women's Day and also the start of International Women's Week. There have been a number of events around Lagos and the country. I attended one; a forum organised by the Nigerian Association for Women Journalists (NAWOJ) last week, the theme of which was "Financing for Gender Equality, Empowering the Nigerian Widow."

The V-Monologues play is one of the events we have to look forward to. Already, some reviews are trickling in via Naijablog. We in Lagos get to see it from Wednesday.

I was watching AM Express as I was getting ready to go to work this morning. This particular segment featured a doctor talking about how children could be protected against illnesses synonymous with the rainy season e.g. malaria, measles, etc. As she wrapped up the discussion, the presenter mentioned that Saturday was International Women's Day and asked the doctor how far she felt Nigerian women had come in recent years.

What felt like an interminable silence followed. Eventually the doctor sighed and said wearily, "Well, we have a long way to go; a long way ......"

That said it all methinks.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

V-Monologues: The Nigerian Story

It's that time of the year once again: time for the Nigerian adaptation of the Vagina Monologues. However, this year there is a welcome change - the monologues, re-titled as V-Monologues: The Nigerian Story have been adapted to our Nigerian society. Sifting through over 150 stories of various acts of violence against women, some were selected for this year's show.

The dates are venue are:

  • Thursday, March 6 2008: Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Hall, Abuja

  • Friday, March 7 2008: National Centre for Women Development, Abuja

  • Wednesday, March 12 2008: MUSON Centre, Lagos

  • Thursday, March 13 2008: MUSON Centre, Lagos

  • Wednesday, March 19 2008: Terra Kulture, Lagos

For more info