Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The untold story of Nigerian citizens with mental illness

Nigeria is said to be the giant of Africa. This could be true depending on what one understands by the statement "The giant of Africa". In terms of natural or human resources, no one doubts her richness in both areas, but are these enough for her to be the giant of Africa? There is also another way of seeing this so called giant. In terms of negligence or corruption, for example, I am convinced, just like you, that she is not "un-giant" in these areas too. One of those areas a country is evaluated is her ability of taking care of her citizens. Nigeria is a giant also in this area because she builds a rehabilitation centre for her citizens with mental illness. Read what Robin Hammod has to say about his experience in one of those centres.

Photographer Robin Hammond on story behind Nigeria picture

Robin Hammond

Robin Hammond

As 2012 draws to a close I have invited five photographers to talk about the story behind one of their pictures taken this year.
Today photographer Robin Hammond looks at the events surrounding a picture he took at a rehabilitation facility outside the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt as part of an ongoing series entitled Condemned, which explores mental health issues in Africa.
It's a tough piece of work, hard to look at sometimes, but one that shines a light on an important issue so be sure to check out more of Hammond's work on his website once you have read the story in his own words. : www.robinhammond.co.uk

Rehabilitation facility outside the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt
A rehabilitation centre in Nigeria
They are hidden in the dark forgotten corners of churches, live out their lives on the filthy floors of prisons, and lie motionless, chained to rusting hospital beds. They rarely complain - life has taught them that they will not be heard, and they do not ask for help, they know none will come.
I first met Africans with mental illness in countries going through crisis while covering South Sudan's referendum for independence. It should have been a story about a hopeful future, but what I saw was the legacy of a violent and destructive past.
In Juba Central Prison men and women that had committed no crime were shackled to floors.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Review of The "Sin is a Puppy That Follows You Home" of Balaraba Ramat Yakubu by Deepa Dharmadhikari

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a wonderful talk about “the danger of a single story” that you can listen to, online. When you’re handed the first Hausa-language (spoken in parts of Africa) novel translated into English, you can get a sense of the perilous burden of that description.
In an interesting misrepresentation, the publishers seem to have chosen to promote this sense of exotic uniqueness, blurbing the book as “quite unlike anything you’ve ever read before”. There is a world of context to be brought to such a claim.
Are you familiar with the Indian epics? Then you will be completely at ease with the narrative pausing for a chapter or two to elaborate about the ancestry of its protagonists, with miraculous progeny bestowed on parents yearning for children. Are you used to the materialistic itemization of gifts and assets in chick lit, where millinery detailing stands in for romance? If so, your heart will delight in all the matter-of-fact lists: gifts given to an illicit lover; gifts given to a first wife upon marriage to a second; gifts given through your parents to the household of your intended. Are you at home in the microcosmic world of an inward-facing society, as portrayed by Jane Austen, or Enid Blyton, or Shobhaa De? Then you will immediately recognize the insouciant tolerance of the way things are versus the scandal of the things not done (polygamy vs extra-marital affairs, not paying a daughter’s school fees vs not buying her a bed for her marriage).

Sin is a Puppy follows the everyday lives of women in Nigeria

Nneka bouncing back on her "Vagabonds in Power"

One of those engaging and patriotic Nigerian youths that has vowed not to sit down and see our dear nation destroyed by "Vagabonds on power", speaks out in her usual way. Read her and find out by yourself the calibre of woman she is. I admire her a lot!

Courtesy: Nneka performs at the Gothe Zenthrem gardens in Kampala. PHOTO BY FAISAL KASIRYE


Q&A: Nigerian singer Nneka calls to ‘Vagabonds in Power’ Hannah Kerman Senior Staff Writer Published: Friday, December 7, 2012

The Herald sat down with Nigerian -German singer Nneka, who is visiting campus as part of this year’s Achebe Colloquium. The Colloquium, which will take place today and tomorrow, features panels and discussions centered on the theme “Governance, Security and Peace in Africa.” Nneka will perform 8:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.
Herald: Are you excited about the concert?
Nneka: I am more excited about the conference, about what all these people want to talk about and how this will benefit us in Africa. This is so far away (from Africa). I want to see what impact this conference has on us and the students, the future leaders of tomorrow. What and where are we heading to? What is the intention? What do we get from all this talk? What are we really achieving from this? That’s my major concern.
Have you visited any other American universities?
I’ve performed at Berklee (College of Music) twice. It’s always very interesting and challenging. They all study music, and I’m like, ‘I never studied music!’ I learned guitar myself — I’m very not professional. A lot of eyes on you, watching you. But I guess that’s my head. If you’re too self-conscious, things don’t work out.
Do you have a set ready for the concert?
It’s just me and the guitar. I still have to see. I’ll go with the flow.
Can you talk a little about your sound?

Achebe and the course of "a nation": Chimamanda expresses her point of view.

Just came across an article written by a mentor, Chimamanda, on an icon, Achebe that I will never cease to admire. It is a piece that all must read as it is an Eagle describing another Eagle. These are just too of those Nigerians that continue to make me dream high and higher. 

Chinua Achebe At 82: “We Remember Differently” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have met Chinua Achebe only three times. The first, at the National Arts Club in Manhattan, I joined the admiring circle around him. A gentle-faced man in a wheelchair.
Chimamanda Adichie
“Good evening, sir. I’m Chimamanda Adichie,” I said, and he replied, mildly, “I thought you were running away from me.”
I mumbled, nervous, grateful for the crush of people around us. I had been running away from him. After my first novel was published, I received an email from his son. My dad has just read your novel and liked it very much. He wants you to call him at this number. I read it over and over, breathless with excitement. But I never called. A few years later, my editor sent Achebe a manuscript of my second novel. She did not tell me, because she wanted to shield me from the possibility of disappointment. One afternoon, she called. “Chimamanda, are you sitting down? I have wonderful news.” She read me the blurb Achebe had just sent her. We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Adichie knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. She is fearless or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made. Afterwards, I held on to the phone and wept. I have memorized those words. In my mind, they glimmer still, the validation of a writer whose work had validated me.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Another Bakassi Penisula?

At UN-backed meeting, Cameroon and Nigeria agree to expedite boundary demarcation process

Special Representative Said Djinnit (centre) with representatives of Nigeria and Cameroon. UN Photo
Representatives from Cameroon and Nigeria ended today a meeting over the demarcation of the boundary between the two countries with a reaffirmation of their willingness to expedite the process in relation to the land-based areas which remain to be identified, according to the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
Members of the so-called Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission had been meeting in the Nigerian capital of Abuja – their thirtieth meeting so far – on the implementation of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment regarding the demarcation of the boundary between the two neighbouring nations, UNOWA said in a news release.