Friday, August 28, 2009

Interview Thursday is a year today

It's amazing how time flies. Interview Thursday is a year today and I was surprised to realise that the interview series on my blog has come this far. I intend to do a review of different progressive individuals that have contributed to this wonderful intiative but I am not so capable of that right now as I need to take a long rest so I don't break down.

I am sure that in not so far future, I will have the interview published into a book to be a resourceful tool for people. Next week, I will be featuring Pat Utomi on "Interiew Thursday". I am happy to keep going with the series with all my busy schedules and all. I am more grateful to my 35 interviewees that have made the series a possibility, together we shall change the world. Interview Thursday has since featured the following progressive, intelligent and revolutionary change makers:
  1. Ore
  2. Rita
  3. Chioma: Celebrate Africa
  4. Vera
  5. Abbie
  6. Graham Kracker
  7. Rethots
  8. Lisa
  9. Waffarian
  10. Afrobabe
  11. Aloted
  12. Poeticallytinted
  13. Allied
  14. Doug
  15. Dammy
  16. Writefreak
  17. Parakeet
  18. Marcin Gajweski
  19. Sting
  20. Jaycees
  21. Standall interviewed by Rita
  22. Nigeria Drama Queen
  23. Uzoma Okere
  24. Woomie O
  25. FFF
  26. Sokari
  27. Buttercup and Chari
  28. Adaeze
  29. Linda Ikeji
  30. Jeremy
  31. Ms. Catwalq
  32. Archiwiz
  33. Sugarbelly
  34. Lolade
  35. Tigress- the recent interviewee that her birthday coincidentally falls on AUGUST!

To read all these interviews, just click this link

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview Thursday: " ...being in relationship is NOT a license to happiness" Tigeress

Her blog name says it all, she has got the qualities of her name and my meeting her in Chicago was not a disappointment. I love this lady! She is charismatic, intelligent, she is purposeful and she is our dearest Tigeress! Good to have you on Interview Thursday girl...

Let me start by saying a wonderful belated birthday to you. How does it feel to be a year older?
Thank you very much! :) How do I feel? I feel the same. I guess time will tell if I’ve matured or not- I hope I have. But I feel the same way I felt 3months ago.

Do you care to share with us the journey of your life so far, has it being what you dreamt of?
It sooooo hasn’t been what I dreamt of. But at the same time I can’t complain how things are- my life actually isn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been thru challenges I know for a fact 99% of my fellow bloggers haven’t gone thru and I pray they don’t- but that’s in the past. I just have to thank God for where I am- because it is only by His grace.
My Journey, I was born in Ibadan August 21st 1979. I spent most of my adolecent life in Nigeria (Ibadan) and I wont lie thanks to my mum I had one of the best adolescent lives ever!!! Post primary school- I went to a total of 5 secondary schools. Boarding school in Eastbourne, 2 in Mississippi, and 2 in Ibadan. I left Naija 1995- spent 9 years in London where I got my 1st degree and now I’ve been in the US for 5 years- with an MBA bagged.
One of the greatest challenges I faced growing up is being raised by a single parent- my mum. So sometimes i really don’t get it when people rush into marriage or marry for the wrong reasons only to face the high possibility of divorce in the future. It’s beyond me. As I tell people, its better to marry late and well, than marry early and divorce. Growing up in a broken home is no fun at all and I’m sure dysfunctional home will be much worse.

From now onward, what should we expect from our dear Tigeress?
Not much of a difference really. At least not until my situation changes. Still the same old me. Hopefully as each day passes I’ll become a better person.

I was delighted to see your pretty intelligent self in Chicago, how long have to being away from Nigeria?
Lol at intelligent. I've been away for 14 years. In fact last year was my first time back to Naija since I left. Culture shock was definitely what I experienced- especially in the marriage institutions. It was as if I was in Ghomora. But I enjoyed myself in Naija and am open to moving back if I find the right job opportunity.

As a Nigeria in the diaspora, do you face any challenges or discriminations because you are from Nigeria?
Well that’s a grey area. I don’t face direct discrimination but as a black person in America- u feel it. You see it. You hear it. So when I meet Nigerians who insist on dying here- I can’t comprehend. At least in Nigeria you’re not discriminated against because of the colour of your skin- it’s mostly based on your status financially. Being discriminated against because of your skin colour is not a good feeling at all. I once had someone refuse to show me an apartment because I was black. Being labeled negatively because I’m black isn’t a good feeling. Being put in a small box with no expectations because of the colour of my skin- DOES NOT feel good. Being asked why I don’t have a normal name or constantly reminded that I have an accent or being asked if we have cars in Nigeria or being told I speak good English can be rather irking. So being black and being African are two subtle challenges I face.

What can we do as Nigerians to have a better image?
To have a better image- we need to start within ourselves. I think one of our biggest problems as Nigerians is the lack of fear of God. If we all individually stopped being selfish and not let the love of money consume us- I think we might have less people selling/killing/duping/walking over fellow humans in name of riches. If people can stop thinking of only their mouths and actually desire a growth in Nigeria, desire a better Nigeria- Nigeria will be a better place. But right now, Nigerians are all about me, myself, and I. And they will do it at all cost not caring who they destroy on the way up.

Will you ever come back and settle in Nigeria?
Yeolz!! There is no place like home. No matter how blue my passport gets- I’m never gonna be one of them. Feeling like a 3rd class citizen because of the colour of my skin doesn’t give me an ego boost. In Naija you are discriminated against if you're poor. And I have no intension of moving back to Naija and becoming poor. Worst comes to worst- aristo dey dere. LOL!!! But yeah, I hope I’ll move back one day. When? I do not know. All I know is that I don’t want to die here.

What kind of man tickles your fancy?
oooohhh my favourite topic due to the lack of one. lwkm! We cld be here forever o. What type of man tickles my fancy? emmmm......personality wise- I'd like someone chilled, stress free, drama free, mature, and that even though I'm a woman- he'd acknowledge that I do have sense, I do have an opinion, I am human, i do get tired, I have feelings, I hurt, I'm not a super woman. I want someone who truly cares about my well being and will take care of me, feed me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically etc.

I will like to ask a question on one of your blog posts, can one trully be single and happy? Do you think being in relationship is a licence to happiness?
Actually that's Vera's topic/talkshow topic- before she thinks I’m 'tiefing' from her. It depends, if marriage is what defines you- then I guess as long as you are single you wont be happy? I know of girls that do not have the ability to be alone- hence jump from one relationship to another- man worshippers I call them. Girls who stay in a very bad relationship- after all something is better than nothing. But for me I LOVE myself. I truly believe I deserve something good. For me- marriage does not define me so me i'm happy or should I say I’m fine with my single status. I sense it’s more of an issue with others. Others who married on time (according to their schedule). Others who feel without a man- you are a nobody. Others who feel it's my fault that I’m still single. They seem have a lot more to say about my status. As mentioned in a blog- my lack of husband isn’t what keeps me up at night. As a Christian I've learnt that God is and should be number one in our lives- never make a man priority in your life. Our God is a jealous God. When we put something before Him we become idolators. There are a lot more unhappy married folks than unhappy single folks. I guess the question then is- which is better? I prefer being single and miserable (if at all) than be married and miserable. And as I always say- norrin do me and this may come as a shock to some- but I shall walk down that aisle one day- isha allah! Lol. So being in relationship is NOT a license to happiness. Being in a good & Godly relationship is only one of the many many MANY things that will make one happy in one’s life time.

What word of wisdom will birthday girl share with us?
Consult God in every areas of your life- make Him number in your life. Seek God first and all other things shall be added. Do unto others as u'd like them to do unto you. Be forgiving so that God will forgive you. And those of you who are still hoping to meet your partner- remember delay is not denial. If it’s your heart desire to marry- it’ll happen. Please do not let pressure make you choose wrongly. If you rush in, you’ll rush out or just be miserable married. Marriage is meant to be for a life time and it’s to be enjoyed. The time spent waiting should be time spent assessing yourselves and working on being a better person. No one is perfect so work on all the negative things about yourself- be it your temper, anger, unforgiving spirit, lack of patience, selfishness, stubbornness, lukewarmness, prayer-less life, pride, uncontrollable tongue, greed, fornication etc.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Youth Bank Launch

Youth Bank is an initiative that seeks to empower the Nigeria disadvantaged youth from the street, the area boy and girls and so forth. Youth Bank launched its Nigeria branch last Friday at US Consulate, Lagos. The launching was done after they have successfully trained 8 youth that will be given loans to start off their businesses.
Victor and Clara presenting Youth Bank Model.

This initiative is unique in the sense that they just give skills to the youth but they also provide the capital which will be paid back in the long run to train other fellows. Also, they include leadership training into their programmes to ensure that they are making entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.

The Youth Bank Fellows with YB Program Officer; Nike and Clara Chow to the left

Youth Bank, a micro business incubator for the street youth was started by a Nigeria in the Diaspora and it's just natural that Nigeria gets to benefit. Youth Bank has partnered Freedom Foundation, The Nigerian Network of NGOs and Skill Development Foundation among others.

Victor Gotvbe the Youth Bank Nigeria president believed strongly in the impact Youth Bank will make on Nigeria youth his counterpart from the State Clara Chow shared in this enthusiasm as well. At the event were change makers of notes in person of Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, Gbenga Sesan, Ms. Mylah Osifo and myself.
Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti; NNNGO board Chairperson

Mr. Gbenga Sesan; Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative

Ms. Mylah Osifo Executive Director of Freedom Foundation in lemon green outfit.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interview Thursday: " Every profession has its challenges and journalism brings many to your doorstep" - Lolade

-->My guest today is male. He is a journalist, he was the writer of the Activist blog on Tell Magazine. He strives to attain high level of professionalism as a journalist. Lolade Adewuyi is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, my Alma Mata. Lolade runs a Lagos photo blog, a general situation blog and he added an additional blog when he relocated to Ghana recently on Accra City Photo.I am glad to have in on Interview Thursday.

Can we meet Lolade?
Lolade Adewuyi is a journalist who presently writes for TELL Magazine as a correspondent based in Accra, Ghana. A graduate of English Studies from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, he has written for The Guardian, Lagos, OVATION International, Showbiz and Business Week both in Accra. He loves photography and when he’s in Lagos produces photos forthe Lagos City Photo Blog.

As a journalist, do you think the advent of internet has made journalism easy?
Well, the internet has definitely made traditional journalism a lot more dynamic in the sense that people now have instant access to news and commentary of hot topics unlike in the past when you had to wait to watch an edited Network News on NTA or next day for the morning papers to inform you of events in the country. But then, many Nigerian media houses that have failed to embrace new technology are seeing their stock fall. It’s the age of the internet, hence, we should all move with it. New media has its own challenges but it’s the new face of the world. Instant!

What are the challenges you face in your work?
Every profession has its challenges and journalism brings many to your doorstep. It’s an industry where deadlines are strictly adhered to otherwise one loses out to competition. This keeps you on your toes always because you never know when your big break might seemingly come. An otherwise mundane story could turn out to be a breakthrough for one. Plus one major challenge journalists face all over the world is the issue of poor remuneration. I recently met a French journalist and he confirmed to me that they’re also underpaid in Paris. This is in respect to what other professionals earn doing their jobs. Notwithstanding, journalists must keep to the creed of the industry which is to maintain a position of truth at all times.

There are different types of journalism but I am not sure if sensational reporting is one of them, do you think it's a necessity?
Every society has what tickles it. You’d be surprised that most of the sensational journals, yellow journalism in industry parlance, outsell the serious papers and magazines. It is an attestation to the fact that people want escapist stories, more like fiction, than facing the hard truth that “country hard o”.

Will you agree with me that the Nigerian media do not for the most part represent the Nigerian women well?
I would like to know how you have come to the conclusion that the Nigerian media does not present women well. Even in the media there’s a body of women journalists called NAWOJ who champion gender balance in the industry. I think when there’s news to be written, it has to be written no matter what the sex of the person involved. Hence, I feel everybody is equally represented in news reports. The media cried out loud when a young lady was recently harassed by some thugs in naval uniforms in Lagos. My colleague who followed the story for TELL is a man. When the issue of prostitution in Europe by a lot of women from Benin was in the news, most of the critical opinion was written by men decrying the trend. Likewise, the media has also celebrated strong Nigerian women in the form of Chimamanda, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Funmi Iyanda, Omotola, Joke Silva, etc. I would like that you should not just look at when the media has lashed out at some women for having taken wrong steps. The media is a reflection of the Nigerian society, after all.

What can we do to have better reporting, non-discriminating and objective views of women in the media?
Like I said previously, the media reports what happens in society and does not deal in a male-versus-female-contest. We write what we see and criticise what needs to be criticised. Several cover stories have been written about the Yar Adua government failure to provide electricity for the country; does it mean we are male-bashing? No. And when reports criticise Farida Waziri for standing idly while corruption builds a castle in our country, it doesn’t mean it is because she’s a woman. And nobody would write that she’s failing because of her gender because we’ve had women perform better in other roles like NAFDAC and the Finance ministry before her.

One of the major newspapers in Nigeria once carried a story about Dora Akuyili after she became the Minister of Information and Communication and the reporter said in his write up that "since we all know that deception is a perfect job of every woman, Dora Akunyili is no exception" do you think this report is objective and non discriminatory no matter the angle the reporter is coming from?
I would like to believe that such a comment as this could not have been part of a news report but an opinion article. In the context which you have asked me this question I'd like to say it sounds really sexist but it's not common place to read such blatant attacks against women in Nigerian media.

Is there a role that journalism can play in the peace and security of the continent?
Definitely yes, journalists and journalism have played a huge role in the way peace has reigned on the continent and vice versa. Rwanda is a quick example. Radio journalists fanned the embers of hate in that country. Here in Accra, many times I have listened to radio phone-in shows where people have expressed disdain and sometimes hate for others. There is a way in which journalists can report crises situations and not let them get out of hand. When a paper reports that “1000 Igbos killed in the North!” it makes room for reprisal killings in the South East. I’m not saying that papers should lie but we should be more introspective and take into consideration the dynamics of a country before casting heavy headlines.

If you are not a journalist, what will you like to be?
That’s a tricky one there. I’ve always wanted to be several things from when I was a kid. First it was a pilot, after watching a movie about the Japanese shelling of Pearl Harbour. Then it was an ambition to be an actor like Arnold! After a while I wanted to become a poet and fiction writer. I tried my hands on short stories but got poor reviews and that drove me into journalism where I could be more truthful without a need for most of the intricacies a fictional writer needs to craft his story. But now, if I had a choice, I’d rather be me and see where this trip takes me. Who knows what I would become in future like that child that grew to become a Sumo wrestler! My experiences are growing and I just look forward to a beautiful trip.

Thanks fr your time and this wonderful insight.
Thank you Standtall for using your blog to promote gender values in Nigeria. You’re one brilliant voice in this generation that can help us move forward.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cats on Tuesday: Scofield's Strange Behaviour

CATS ON TUESDAY is a group of cat lovers
who share pictures and/or stories about their cats once a week, hosted by Gattina. Socfield refused to come out of God knows where this morning until I located him behind our lundary basket. He then jumped an hid right on my leg in the kitchen while I stood by the sink. He has since being hiding in open places with serious spasm of his body. Scofield on my bag on the dining table yesterday night  
He has not gone to eat his food today, he did not go out of the house has he usually does in the morning, he wails, meows loudly on and off, he graps his tail and behind for a bite in sudden moves and his breathing is rapid like someone that is in fear of something. I have gone on the internet to find out what could be the matter, I am still searching and hoping I find something meaningful. Well, I am crying out on his behalf here, what do you think could be the case with him? Yes, I am thinking of asking the vet but he always ask me to bring them in for examination you know and I don't have the time at the moment. Which is kind of painful. Scofield to the left, Smallville to the right and Garfield inside the open drawer. Small kitten sleeping on Socfield chest/stomach!  
I rescued a cat on my way from Kenya Embassy last month. I am still looking for a home for the blossoming kitten. She has blossomed since she got in with us. I saw the poor kitten by the road, I was about to step on her before I saw her properly eating something I couldn't tell and just standing there in the rain, wet, hopless and lonely. I carried the kitten and she is doing fine at the moment. I need a home for her though and I will be glad to find a cat lover that doesn't mind having her. The rescued blossoming kitten!  
The kitten is very neat, she uses the litter, she follows my older cats in all their funny steps. She has stopped eating rice since my older cats don't eat-lol. She initially liked it until she saw that the older cat don't even touch it. Imagine!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interview Thursday:" It is not and has never been our culture for a woman to take on the name of her husband"- Sugabelly

-->She is a defender of all that is good and progressive about Nigeria, she is a critic of all that is wrong and inhuman. She is an entrepreneur, a pro-woman and an intellect. Sugabelly is my guest on "Interview Thursday"!

I have come to view you as a very brave, intelligent, and no-nonsense taker kind of lady, what inspire you to start your blog?
Thank you! I originally started blogging as a way to deal with the overflow from my journals. I write a lot and once kids in school noticed they started stealing my journals. I couldn’t have that so I moved a lot of stuff online to a secret Livejournal blog (it’s been shut down now though).

What do you intend to achieve via your blog?
So my blog was originally (and still is) my personal purgatory for all my emotional troubles but it seems quite a number of people have begun to read my blog and so I find that I can’t exactly pour out all the gory details of my life anymore. To make up for that, I blog about other things that I’m interested in: Nigeria, Igbo culture, African music, and other random stuff.
As far as achievement goes, I recently discovered that a bunch of Asians actually read my blog. It never occurred to me before that non-Africans might read my blog, so I hope that any non-Africans that read my blog will come to see Nigerians (and by extension Africans) as real, multi-dimensional people with real lives who are intellectual, fall in love, go to work, have fun, etc. So many people from the rest of the world just can’t relate to or imagine Africans outside the context of poverty, AIDS, and disease. Everyone needs to realize that half the time these are not the things that occupy our minds. We have hopes and dreams and aspirations like everyone else. We have great loves and terrible enemies. We have amazing cultures but at the same time we are trying to negotiate a world that would rather rid us of our culture and we are trying to reconcile the two, so I hope they see that because lots of people will never visit Nigeria and our blogs are pretty much the only window they have into our part of the world.

You are an entrepreneur and you have started your clothes line as well as an Igbo Language Institute, how has the journey being for you?
There’s nothing quite like starting your own company. I think everyone should try it at least once in their life. I have probably learned more in a year than I thought I’d be learning from school. Running a tshirt company (albeit a teeny tiny one) is tough but it’s great because I’m an International Business major and it’s fun to learn something in class and then say ‘okay, how can I apply this to my business?’. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, some small, some big, and I even had to shut down after a year to re-structure (and have a better website built) so I would say it’s been one big learning experience. I changed the name of my company, I changed the logo, I changed so many things and I’m probably going to change more things, but I’m enjoying learning how to effectively manage a business.
As for the Igbo Academy, let me just say that nothing is without its challenges. I knew from the beginning that there would be lots of Igbo people that would be totally resistant to any change and I think what I need most is to be okay with that. A lot of the time I run around screaming ‘But something is so obviously wrong!!! Why can’t you see that??” Maybe I’m just impatient because I never had anybody to be patient with (I’m an only child) but I just realized that people will take their sweet time and I need to deal with it. (I’m not good at dealing sometimes). The Igbo Academy will continue because it is needed. We Igbos haven’t achieved language actualization yet, and until we do, we need to keep doing research on our language and coming up with solutions for linguistic problems.
I am super excited because I finally launched the blog for The Ndebe Project! Can I plug here? Okay, shameless plug – Please visit where you can learn to speak Igbo for free online and learn to write it with the Ndebe script.

What inspired your passion for the Igbo Academy and what have you achieved by starting it?
I started the Igbo Academy because MASSIVE communication problems exist within the Igbo language. The reality is that no Igbo person can go through a full day in a city without saying at least one English word, and this is not because people do not know how to speak Igbo but because there simply are no Igbo words for half the things that we encounter on a daily basis. Even our great-great grandparents whom I am sure speak impeccable Igbo would be stumped on an average day in Abuja because the words don’t exist. Unfortunately the expansion of our language stopped when we came into contact with the Europeans. They brought new things with them and rather than create names for these new things we simply gave up on our language altogether, preferring to speak English.
A lot of Igbo people don’t like to admit it but Igbo is a stilted, sadly limited language. Let me say for clarity’s sake that if Igbo had been nurtured and encouraged to grow as new technologies and new things emerged it would be one of the richest languages on Earth but the truth is that as a people we have not nurtured our language and we have not helped it to develop. Igbo people are among some of the most ardent followers of all things European and only in the last five years has there been some sort of cultural renaissance among us. For a long time we’ve been all about slavishly adopting western culture, language, and behaviour even to the point of self-effacement. The truth is, there are a lot of Igbo parents out there that refuse to teach their children Igbo. There are a lot of Igbo parents that give their children only English names. There are a lot of Igbo parents that honest-to-God believe that English is far superior to Igbo. I believe that while English has to be by far the most expansive language in the world, it is not superior to Igbo or any other language for that matter.
Perhaps the most positive thing the Igbo Academy has achieved in its short existence so far is renewed interest in Igbo language and culture. I think that because I’m sharing some of the findings of the research on Igbo culture and language that I’m doing under The Academy more Igbo people that read my blog or that are members of the group are now more interested in their language and their culture and I think more people are now actively seeking out information about Igbo. Hopefully this spreads out to the greater Igbo population and the Igbo language will develop and expand while retaining its authenticity and cultural purity.
Can you tell us more about your clothes line and how we can get to patronize you?
I design t-shirts that have to do with the social, cultural, and political mores of Nigeria. The sensation I try to evoke when I’m sketching is nostalgia. I’ve lived in America for two years now and I’ve become homesick for even the smallest things that are essentially ‘Nigerian’. Basically, I could sit on my bed and cry about how homesick I am or I could make a t-shirt that reminds me of home. I’d rather do the latter. Maybe because I save the tears for when I really need them, like for my non-existent love life.
So as I mentioned before I am currently restructuring my t-shirt company. It used to be called Barcelagos, and then for a hot minute it was Barcelago, but now it is called Dinka, which I feel, is a far more culturally appropriate name (Dinka means artisan or artist in Igbo). Dinka’s logo is a zebra wearing the traditional red Igbo hat with a feather. I love that zebra. I’ve named him Mazi Zebra. Looking at him makes me smile J
There is a new website. Dinka’s new home. Currently the website is under construction but a few weeks ago I put up a screenshot of what it looks like behind the scenes. It’s very cool actually. Fans will be able to upload pictures of their Dinka t-shirts, there will giveaways, a sale mailing list so you never miss a discount, etc. It’s a whole new look for the brand. The website will be live hopefully before the summer is over. Otherwise it will launch early in the fall term. I’m totally excited about it. Unfortunately I am currently unable to get t-shirts to people outside the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe, but I am working on it, and as soon as this is possible, especially shipping to my beloved Nigeria, I’ll let you know! :D

You started quite a discussion on the Next online Newpaper about women not changing their names after marriage and I admire your courage, does this make you a believer of women's rights and independence?
I am completely pro-woman. I believe that women are full human beings and deserve equal rights and independence as have men. I think there are lot of women, especially Nigerian women who are the unwitting victims of brainwashing and social conditioning to the point that it is more often the women than the men that defend practices that are meant to dehumanize or subjugate them. A classic example is Female Genital Mutilation. On any given day you will find more women in support of it than men. Sometimes I think Nigerian women need mental decommissioning. It’s like some of us are robots that have been programmed with a certain set of instructions and we just act without really questioning the motives behind some of these so-called cultural practices. We need to be decommissioned in order to see the truth.
On the issue of women changing their names, I’m maintaining my position. It is not and has never been our culture (any of the myriad Nigerian cultures) for a woman to take on the name of her husband. It’s a silly European practice that infected us via the missionaries and the colonists. The annoying thing is, it’s not even a CHRISTIAN practice as many Nigerians believe, neither is it a MUSLIM practice. It’s just plain old European culture being mindlessly copied by Africans. I say no to that kind of mindless imitation. There is no justifiable reason for a woman to take on her husband’s name, and even when it comes to the children I take offense. Women do 85% percent of all the work related to children so why should the MAN be the one to get his name passed on through them?
Women suffer through pregnancy with backaches and swollen feet, then there’s the horror of giving birth, then there’s the headaches that come with incessantly crying babies, then there’s the day to day care of the child which most Nigerian men either distance themselves from or only play a very secondary role. At the end of the day, most children in a two-parent African home spend probably about 80% of parental time with their MOTHERS, yet their fathers get to beat their chests in satisfaction of the continuity of their lineage. I call bullshit. Not only will I not be changing my name when I get married, but my children MUST have a double barrel surname consisting of my surname and my husband’s surname. I deserve to have MY lineage perpetuated and I won’t accept anything less. Women do most of the work in this world and it’s about time we started getting rewarded for it.

What do you think we can do to change the wrong portray of Nigeria out there?
Nigeria is portrayed in very negative terms in most of the Western media, and my recent experience with The Philanthropist show (from NBC) made me realize that the western media is too caught up in its fantasy of Nigeria as this bad terrible place and itself (the West) as our glorious saviour for any real change to come from their end.
It is up to us as Nigerians to put out media that portrays the REAL Nigeria. Nigerians need to show the world the reality of Nigeria. We need to show the world the reality of what is good in Nigeria, and the reality of what is bad in Nigeria. Sure Nigeria has electricity and water problems, government problems, ignorance problems, but we also have amazing food, hot people, intelligence, vibrant creativity, a beautiful country, many fantastic languages and cultures, and a great sense of humour. THAT is the reality of Nigeria, not mythical hurricanes that blow floods in as far as Abuja and create mudslides in Sokoto.
Nollywood has a responsibility to do this and unfortunately, they are not stepping up to the plate. The subject matter of Nollywood movies is so poor and predictable that I am honestly amazed that people actually sit down and watch them. Nollywood movies are a huge export to the Black communities of the western world and the Carribean and there is a lost opportunity in these movies to depict Nigeria as the great place it is which the filmmakers are not taking. In the end, the Black people in other parts of the world have even more inaccurate ideas about Nigeria compounded by an unfortunate combination of Hollywood and National Geographic.
I understand that Nollywood is meant to be funny, but when you look at the messages non-Nigerian people glean from these movies, it’s not funny at all. Wasn’t it ABC or CBS that did a Nigerian scammer special based off a song that Osuofia sang for one of his comedies?
But Nollywood is not the only industry in Nigeria. All industries in Nigeria and Nigerian owned businesses should do as much as they can to be proudly Nigerian and provide good service so that people will come to associate Nigerian businesses with good service and quality products. On our end as citizens we must demand better governance and utilize the power of our votes. If it means protesting after botched elections then let’s get to it.

Is there a way we as Nigerian can better our own very image?
I think the best way for Nigerians to change our image as Nigerian individuals is by being ourselves and showing the world that Nigerians are a diverse group of intelligent, good, capable people. We need to spread into more areas of expertise not just the run-of-the-mill Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, Engineer mold we limit ourselves to so often. A lot of people that have bad ideas about Nigeria have never met a Nigerian and have never been to Nigeria. It’s up to us to live our best lives and acknowledge and be proud of our country along the way. 
I’ve said before that I don’t like people that hide the fact that they are Nigerian. If you’re successful then please claim Nigeria in your success. It’s a chicken egg situation. People that deny Nigeria always claim that Nigeria has a bad image and so they don’t want to be associated with it, but Nigeria’s image won’t get better if honest successful people do not acknowledge their Nigerianness.

Monday, August 10, 2009

W.TEC 2009 Girls Technology Camp kicked off.

Here I am with our new 15 amazing girls at the Women's Technology Empowerment Centre 2009 Girls Technology Camp. They are here to learn, we are here to learn together we grow stronger in knowledge and committment to the change we want to see in our lives.
Now you know why I haven't done by blog rounds. I apologise and I will get to all my fav blogs ASAP.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Interview Thursday:"My choice of architecture and then engineering was inspired by my love for buildings and wanting to change the status"- Archiwiz

It is not every time that one gets the privilege of interviewing an Architect\Engineer that is so female, so brilliant and so cool. She was the very blogger that notified Standtall about the BlogHer International Activists Scholarship and I made it. Archiwiz the Architect, Archiwiz the Engineer has agreed to let us share in her belief and dream on "Interview Thursday".
You are an architect, what inspired your choice of course?
I’m actually an engineer now. My architecture days are on the back-burner for now. But the real thing is, I love buildings: in their totality. My choice of course (architecture and then engineering) was inspired by my love for buildings and wanting to change the status quo. When I was younger a three-story building collapsed in my city and about 200 primary and secondary school children died. I remember asking my Dad why and who was at fault. And the answer was between the contractor, owner of the building, and the absence of laws and Codes for Structural Engineering practices.
Where do you intend to see yourself in the next 5 years?
Ummmm… Hmmm… My vision is not clear enough to talk about it right now. I like to keep things like plans/hopes/visions close to my chest.
You have a unique blog with your direct beautiful hand writing, how did you start this?
Aww, thanks for the compliment. I’m not sure Vera will agree with you though. J. Like you know, I’m a techie. I got a tablet pc for school because I was tired of carrying too many notebooks and textbooks. I realized that it was therapeutic to blog with my writing so that’s how that went on.
You said in a post that Africa women should appreciate their natural hair or something like that, do you wear your hair natural?
Apparently that post engendered a lot of controversy. Highly unnecessary. I said that I was upset that a child was told/allowed to feel that she was not beautiful because her hair was not straight. Its not right for an African/African-American/Afro-Caribbean or any other African-related woman to utterly reject what God gave her and call it not beautiful because the media promotes straight hair. My hair is natural, and I wear my hair in many ways. A natural afro sometimes, a weave afro sometimes, regular weaves, and braids at other times. I got tired of relaxers and was getting concerned about the impact of the chemicals on my brain, so I grew out my hair and cut off the perm when it was long enough. J Now I’m not saying that everyone should rush and stop perming/relaxing their hair oh. Not at all. I’m saying that they should accept that they are beautiful the way they are and not pin beauty to any or every standard shoved at them by the media and various insecure, unsure, and uncultured people.
Will you encourage Black women to wear natural hair and why?
I will encourage Black women to embrace themselves and love themselves fully and wholly. The hair is many times an extension of the security or insecurity many women feel. Natural hair is not for everybody. Its not very easy to take care of and then there is the stigma of “rebellion” or “witchcraft” or some other hot ignorant mess people spew, for us to deal with. Its not easy to stand up against it, but for those who can, go for it. I know what my Mother would say if/when I loc my hair, talanger k less of some White dude who has been conditioned to see locs as a sign of rebellion or some type of “against the world.” So it’s both reconciliation and an education thing. Embrace who you are and love what you have. Express yourself without care of catering to the limits that society puts upon you as a Black woman.
Mention 5 things you will rather not hear in the world again or that you will rather have eradicated.
Hmmm… Hater, swagger… for the words. Judgment, colonialism, and subservience in every form (forced or willing)
Why will you want these aforementioned things eradicated?
The word, “Hater” is now being used to turn back the tables on whoever criticizes anyone. Not necessary.
As for swagger; didn’t that horse die ages ago? Why are we still flogging it?
Judgment: This one is hard to tackle.
Colonialism: Africans need to stand up and take their place in the world. We can not be giving out or “dashing” out our land, goods, services, or repairs to the rest of the world. Look around. How many African countries are celebrating the talent, artistry, and intellect of their children? We would rather have an Israelite, American, Chinese, British, or Lebanese person do or provide us with things.. Look inward and bring out the good that God has put in you Africa! How do you think Japan rose to the top of the industrialist countries? They put an embargo on imports and made everything they needed from scratch. China followed suit and where are they now? Bailing out the U.S. with five hundred billion dollars. So yes, we need to look inward and use our brains that God gave us, just like the rest of the world.
As for subservience don’t even get me started. Any and every form of subliminal slavery, forced subservience, conditioned servitude or the misnomer that one gender is secondary to the other, or lower than the other, or is less than the other is just appalling in the twenty-first century. The worst part is when some people twist words and phrases from the Bible to suit their feelings. That is the same argument that slave-owners and slave traders used to carry out two hundred and fifty years of the most inhumane treatment of human beings ever.
Do you think there is hope for Nigeria development?
I believe there is hope. As far as there are Nigerians who have a heart burning for Nigeria’s future, like the current lightupnigeria movement on twitter and facebook. Nigeria will move forward. It is time we stop singing “Nigeria go survive” or saying things like “e go beta” and just do it. Nigerian youths of today have the power, and the will. The road might be long, and hard, but we have very capable people and we will make it happen.
My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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