Author Archives: somayinaboardman

Digital Participation: Nollywood

In class the professor has referenced the Nollywood industry a couple of times. I thought it would be a good to show a trailer for a Nollywood movie coming out soon. This is supposed to be a comedy and it is essentially about the adventures of a rural Nigerian man who travels to Atlanta to visit a family member. I thought it was funny and I hope you enjoy! Here is the link, you can take a look at other trailers on the website as well! http://www.nigeriamovienetwork.com/30-days-in-atlanta-the-adventures-of-akpos-trailer_b7305cfe1.html

Advertisements

Digital Participation: Yes they know it’s Christmas

Here is an article on a blog I found about the remake of the song ‘Do they know it’s Christmas.’ The author essentially explains why this remake was offensive, irrelevant and unnecessary. Here is the link to the article: http://www.africaontheblog.com/yes-know-christmas/

Digital Participation: Fela

Fela was a Nigerian musician popular in the 1970s for the role he played in questioning the Nigerian government. Fela pioneered his own style of music called Afrobeat. In addition to this he used his music to question the Nigerian government and protest their mistreatment of the people. Fela was repeatedly arrested for this but he continued to use his talents to address the injustices in the country. I thought this related to our class because we have discussed a lot about protests and silence when it comes to addressing injustice. Fela was not the typical activist, but he used his music to bring about awareness of the corruption in the government. Here is a link to one of his performances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4AA6EuZe-k

Short Story: Abiku

I read a short story called Abiku. It took place in Nigeria and it centers around a woman named Anu. Anu was living with her boyfriend in a small apartment in Nigeria. Unfortunately she lost her job and then became pregnant. She decided it would be a good idea to go live with her parents because her boyfriend was working extra hours in order to make ends meet. Her mother was upset that she had gotten pregnant outside of wedlock and treated her with disdain. Eventually she went back to live with her boyfriend but then things took an unfortunate turn for the worst. If you would like to see what happens to Anu, here is the link to the rest of the story: http://nigerianstalk.org/2013/07/20/abiku/

Different Sins

As discussed in class and as seen in the readings, homophobia is a huge problem in Nigeria. There have been laws passed that criminalize being gay and those who are homosexual are living in constant fear. In Walking with The Shadows, the one thing that struck me about Ada was her reaction to Adrian coming out to her. Her response was strictly based on how she had been raised. She was unwilling to accept Adrian because of all her parents had thought her as well as all that she had learned in Church. However it was also interesting to note that while Ada had been brought up with ‘ Christian values’ there were other secrets that the family had been covering up. For example, Ada had an aunt who got an abortion when she was 16 but it was kept a family secret. In this novel, Nigerians stood on their high horse and condemned gays. Claiming and it was sin and so on. However it was very hypocritical because everyone sins, we all just sin differently.

Towards the end of the novel, we see a shift in the way Ada thinks. She begins to accept Adrian for who is. She doesn’t quite understand him, but she also doesn’t hate him due to the simple fact that he is gay. She also mentions that she would raise their daughter to be more tolerant of everyone. I thought that was significant because in order to eliminate the homophobic issue in Nigeria, parent need to start teaching their children to be more tolerant. In this novel, we have seen that throughout Nigeria, there are many people who are gay but are just in denial. If those people made it a point to educate their children on tolerance, then we would be one step closer to solving the homophobic issue in Nigeria.

Inhumanity

“I really came back my master’s to summon whatever humanity was in him. If he were really human, wouldn’t he have punished his murderer of a son? If he were a man! And what of his son? If he had even the littlest piece of a man in him, wouldn’t he have faced up to the accusing gaze of the dog that I am?”

This passage is one that stuck with me because the dog is literally questioning the humanity of man based on his ability to do good and punish injustice. I thought this passage was ironic because in my opinion what makes someone human is the tendency to be imperfect and not necessarily do the right things at all times. I was interested in knowing where the dog got his impressions of humanity. However it is understandable because till you see human beings inhumanity it is hard to imagine that such an advanced species would be able to act in a brutal way towards one another and other living creatures.

In reading this passage I thought about the first time I was learning about World War two. I remember my teacher saying it was the most brutal example of mans inhumanity to man. For the first time I realized humans aren’t as perfect and compassionate and they claim to be. This is something the dog had failed to realized. He was yet to see human beings acting evil so when this inhumanity was done to him for the first time he was shocked about it at he expressed his disbelief in the above quote. There are no moral guidelines that make someone human or inhuman. Humans have both good and bad tendencies. In Dog Days we see that these bad tendencies are more exaggerated in times of suffering. Even looking at history, human beings tend to act in more irrational ways in times of suffering and confusion.

The Burden

The children sat unsmiling, clutching the presents on their knees. The photographer a middle-aged German, had tried to press them into them into unwrapping their gifts. The children weepily resisted his encouragements. Finally he had removed – wrenched – the gift from the arms of a five-year-old, and begun to tear the paper away” (Forna, 90)

This passage in the novel was one that stuck with me while reading this novel. It reminded me a lot of what I see in everyday life. In our society there is this perception that the western world goes into Africa, donate to the ‘helpless’ Africans and sudden they are all happy. However this passage disproves that. These children were not exactly happy when they received their gifts in fact they did not want to open them. The photographer literally had to force them to feign happiness so he can get a good picture to take back to his country so people can see all the good the west is doing for the country. In a lot of mission and service trips we see the image of the westerner in a sea of smiling African children. These mission trips are a misrepresentation of what the need actually is and perpetuates the idea of voluntourism, where people travel to impoverished countries and perform service and believe they have helped and done their work. Most often, the work they have done may not have benefitted the population at all. I once read an article of a group of students traveling to an African village to build houses, they worked and lived for two month and were able to produce 10 homes. The unfortunate part, however, none of the villagers wanted to live in the homes. The volunteers neglected to consult the people in the village and when building the design of the house and how the door was placed was not accepted by the people as they saw the placement to bring evil spirits. This passage reminded me of this article the volunteers wanted so badly for the village people to love and live in the homes they built as the German wanted the children to enjoy the gifts. The issue though was the privilege group did not seek to understand the needs of the underprivileged.

Independence?

The scene where Lumumba gives his speech on Independence Day is a something that has stuck with me throughout the movie. From the first words in the speech, he set the tone for the type of government he wanted the Congo to have. He was the only speaker who actually addressed the people of the Congo and referred to them as equal to the Belgians. He reminded the people that they had to fight for their freedom and it wasn’t given to them contrary to what the King suggested. At this point was when the Belgian government realized that Lumumba would be a problem for them.

Unlike the British, the Belgians believed in direct rule and so they were hesitant to grant Congo their independence. During his speech, the King said, “do not replace the Belgian institutions unless you are sure you can do better.” That statement was one that stuck with me throughout the movie as well. In the 50s and 60s, many African nations began to receive their independence but this was a farce in a sense. Many of these nations were still expected to be tied to their colonizing countries. This is why many of the problems that exist in Africa still persist today. While these countries were given ‘independence’ they weren’t really given their freedom. They were expected to keep and continue to maintain the institutions under which they were colonized. They weren’t encouraged to start their own institutions and figure out what is better for them as a country.

Another important point made in the movie was when one of the white delegates said: “the Congo is just a bunch of tribes, colonialism is the only thing keeping it together.” This statement shows how important it was for African nations to get rid of the European institutions and come up with their own. The European institutions only worked while they were there. Once the Europeans were gone, Africans began to focus on their differences and that led to many of the conflicts we see in the region today.

Okonkwo’s Demise

“Have no hand in that boy’s death, he calls you father.”

That line has resonated with me throughout the entirety of this book. In Things Fall Apart, there is an emphasis on a person’s “chi” which is essentally their luck. Okonkwo complains on muliple occations about his terrible chi but in my opinion he was the cause of his problems. I noticed in the book that Okonkwo’s life started to take a turn for the worse about he killed Ikemfuna. First his daughter got sick, then he accidentally killed another member of the clan which lead to his exile. Everytime something went wrong in the life of Okonkwo I could help but think he did this to himself. His clan places a very important emphasis on listening to what the gods have to say or facing dire consequences. An argument could be made that if Okonkwo hadn’t killed Ikemfuna then he wouldn’t have had to leave his clan and that would have stopped all the other terrible things from happening such as his son becoming part of the missionaries.

An emphasis is placed on interconnectedness in Okonkwo’s village. Every action has a resulting effect. This is why pleasing the gods is of utmost importance in the village. The fear of the consquences associated with displeasing the gods keeps the people in the clan following the rules. However Okonkwo is different because the fear of coming off as weak to the rest of the village is more frightening for him. This is why he goes through great lenghts to prove his strength as a man. That was his primary reason for killing Ikemfuna. He did not want to be seen as a weak man who was afraid who kill the boy who was techinacally an outsider. His fear of weakness is greater than his fear of the gods and that is what ulimately lead to his downfall.