I had been reading The Sibyl in Her Grave by Sarah Caudwell. You’d agree with me that some novels, out of no fault of the writer, get one bored at some point. The Sibyl was such a story. Though beautifully written in mesmerising English ethos and nuances, the book was more or less written in pieces, a literal correspondence between many characters. Reading a story written in that style could be tiring.

What I do in cases where the structure of a story becomes too slippery or evasive is to get a conventional novel to read between; make some sort…


On the last day of work before the August vacation, a lady friend visited his office. The lady was to travel abroad in few days for a literary course.

She didn’t come all the way to the Island to bid him goodbye — they weren’t as close. She only came to drop off a bag of books. Another friend of theirs had obliged her to drop the bag with him before leaving for her two-year creative writing program in faraway United States of America.

The reason behind doing that was this: Their third friend, who owned the books, and had…


Ajah Chronicles

A young man in Lagos is buying a car. A night before, he cannot sleep. He tosses from one end to the other on his bed from anxiousness. Anytime he closes his eyes, it’s him in his car, buckling a seatbelt, parking, reversing, overtaking, or calling a beautiful lady to hop in for a lift.

Few months ago he would never have imagined owning a car — or rather, getting ready to own one. He would have laughed the idea in a stupor or welcomed it as some sort of lofty prayer common among his country people.

“Me…


Whenever I arrived home late in the night I went to a small glassed window belonging to the gatekeeper and knocked. Sometimes once, sometimes twice, most times not more than thrice before I got a response on the other side. The other side was the gatekeeper’s tiny room, whose wall was an extension of the compound’s fence. His bed laid right beneath the window. I used to feel it took the gatekeeper forever between his response and the eventual opening of the gate. This got me a little upset each time. …


Photo by David Wilfred

“When did it occur to him to carry the world on his back? At what point did he make the resolution to owe us all the responsibility of making the globe go round? Why does he wear himself out with the unbearable burden of making everything keeps the flow, mustn’t be static, unmoving?”

These questions may come to mind seeing him for the first time.

Can it be that, in some bizarre way, he’s acquainted with the Weeping Philosopher, Heraclitus: Everything flows and nothing stays the same? …


Ajah can easily make you a passenger in a G-Wagon — don’t even raise an eyebrow; being lifted from a roadside in such an exotic car wouldn’t be a thing here.

Although I haven’t enjoyed such luxury yet, it wouldn’t take me aback if a G- Wagon pulled over and offered me a ride for just two hundred Naira. This’s no joke!

I’ve been in quite good cars since I moved here, transporting to and fro Ajah and other places. I’ve been in Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Camry of a recent version, Lexus RX330, Hyundai Elantra 2012, Volkswagen Jetta 2015…


Jubilee Bridge, Ajah.

Hustling in Ajah has a certain peculiarity to it: it’s a quite humane but nonetheless vicious attempt at survival in a society offering not too many choices at an economic headway. To be seen a hustler in Ajah — and its environs — is to be caught with your pants down; it is embarrassing. Unlike in Oshodi, where no one gives a damn, an Ajah hustler, who is likely a middle-class fellow, is somewhat always methodical in his approach, never to be perceived aggressive or a wayward brute.

Many Ajah hustlers are ‘responsible’ people; they go to church, have families…


In the poem cum song Strange Fruit, made famous by Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and many other arrays of important and prominent United States of American artists, the lines sing of black bodies hanging from trees; a widespread lynching of African Americans by white supremacists in the USA at the wake of the slavery era in the early nineteenth century.

“Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck”, the song goes, “for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for the leaves to drop, here is a strange and bitter crop.”

It’s…


For quite a while I have been searching for some information on an estranged African custom. Unfortunately, I’m gradually arriving at the fact that the age-old practice might have been long lost to history.

Circa 1999, I saw on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) a documentary of an African traditional practice where neighbors, friends, and families join forces in building houses and working farms for each other. …


Skiibii and Reekado Banks.

We are three in a saloon car and Sensima is playing on the car stereo. One of us is a music critic and the other a financial analyst. One word leads to another and then there’s the need to ‘unlock’ some of Skiibii’s street lyrics on his most popular song.

“What’s the Kpakam he keeps repeating?” the financial analyst asks, catching my eyes in the rare mirror for answers. We are set to leave the venue of an event we had attended.

“Well,” I say, “it’s a literal sound denoting the usage of a padlock. But, of course, in this…

Dare

booklover, filmlover, musiclover, pathfinder.

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