Facebook President

I like President Goodluck Jonathan for a couple of things, his traditional garb does not look like a parachute or some costume for a Kabuki performance. The Ijaw might have adapted stuff from the Portuguese in defining their blouse and bowler hat as national costume but at least it looks smart. I can never understand how anyone wearing an Agbada to work every day can expect to be productive in any way, the energy needed to fold the voluminous sleeves …  ( continue reading

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Godly Tastes II

All must be bare foot on the church grounds so l had pulled off my tights and shoes in the car and went around with nothing between my sacred place and the cool summer air. Trousers are taboo but Yvette, who is in lovely white linen pants is exempt. l am seated with mothers while Yvette will sit with the virgins. I too wanted to sit with the virgins but l did not think an Immaculate Conception argument would hold …  ( continue reading

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Bottoms, busstops etc II

The market is 150 years old and there is talk of a remodelling into a shopping mall. From the colourful fruits, vegetables and grains display of Market Street, we walked into the corner of Julius Nyerere Street and the bovine market where, people sat on benches eating whole or parts of huge bovine heads with samp to my utter carnivorous delight. Others ate hollowed out bread loaves stuffed with beans and rice called bunny chow. From the bovine market, we …  ( continue reading

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In the beginning

In the beginning…. The artist is the gentle sound and music rennaisance man, technical guru, Fofo Kaje. He took ambient sounds from my wanderings, conversations and encounters, blended them, and then composed a song for the vision (in two days.) Here it is; Mouvement de Kin (Kin vibe), and the song made for the Kinshasa Pilgrimage titled Tango ekoki. 2010 World Cup Pilgrim | Mutterings from Kinshasa | Protestation—When I think football, I see Rugby…and Water polo | Anyway…. Whatever …  ( continue reading

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Kojo Laing on Cape Town

(1) The truth about Cape Town lies just below the surface, as it were: the more contrast you see between the small shanty rooms to buildings of the townships and then the solid post-Victorian near-arrogance of the middle-class suburbs the more tears you shed as you move around the city. This city is in itself moving not only by its rather cruel and shallow contrast of class and colour but also by the facts of its potential: some of what has been …  ( continue reading

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Timbuktu: a city of mysteries

I have held an 800 year old book in my hand. Do you know what that means? This is insanity! To think that pages can survive in these conditions for so long. This happened at the Ahmed Baba Center which is the major government run institute dedicated to the preservation and study of the numerous famed manuscripts of Timbuktu. The old center is a small cluster of sand colored buildings located close to the main hospital of Timbuktu complete with …  ( continue reading

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Bottoms, Busstops and Identity part I

There is gross abuse of yansh (bottom) in this place! That was my friend Kunle’s first impression of South Africa ten years ago. I remember that comment now thinking about Doung Jahangeer and the DALA city walk. Let me come back to all that. This morning l listened to a Europe-based German-Nigerian artist and then to Yinka Davies. It is unfair to compare the two in terms of talent as Yinka is simply an anjonu (powerful sprit living in forests). …  ( continue reading

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Naija no dey carry last

One hundred and twenty kilometers per hour across the Oshodi-Isolo Expressway, straight on to the third mainland bridge with the rain splashing all around us and Bolaji – our designated driver – tailgating Okey Adichie all the way like a stunt driver in a suicidal Nollywood cops and robbers movie; that’s the way we brought Alain Mabanckou into Lagos, well, after an obligatory round of drinks at the airport to welcome him. Rewind back a few months. Naija no dey …  ( continue reading

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Hearing myself think

Somewhere in the world it’s Independence Day and the American in me is a little bit homesick for fireworks and festivities, barbecued chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs. Even the garish displays of patriotism that, in the US, make me more annoyed than anything else. So if for nothing else than to acknowledge that I am a man of many worlds I’ll throw a hearty U-S-A out for the peoples across the ocean. So Timbuktu: It’s been an exhausting few days, getting …  ( continue reading

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Godly Tastes, part I

My pilgrimage was over but l stayed an extra day in Johannesburg to buy meat. l like food, l collect food every where l go and don’t trust people who don’t like food. What else are they denying? So I had a pungent bag of premium Indian and Zulu spices with impepho stalks to ward off evil spirits around my food. I had filled up two freezer bags with prime game, lamb and steak cuts. l have highly developed taste …  ( continue reading

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