There are several people I promised that I was going to write this. Myself included. Talking about trauma is sometimes like self-medicated therapy. But Naija people don’t talk about past trauma. It stays hidden and buried. We prefer to swallow our trauma and pretend it never happened. And when the hidden trauma erupts like a volcano from within us, destroying everything in its path, we blame everything else. The Devil. Village people. Enemies. So I draw back this veil of silence.
Titilope is an award winning poet, writer and performer who has graced stages across Nigeria and internationally.
(Today’s post is brought to you by my very talented old friend and fellow poet Jide. Enjoy!)
I develop headaches every time I sit in the departure lounges of Nigerian airports. You need to bring an extra ear with you if you don’t want to miss your flight. Usually, I just spot two passengers on the same flight with me and watch them every time boarding announcements are made. You cannot even place the accent the voices are trying to imitate.
There has been a lot written in the last few years about the suitability of removing statues for the crimes of the persons they depict. The statues of Cecil Rhodes. For the crimes of colonial theft and racism. The statue of Gandhi in Ghana. Because he believed black people are inferior. The statues of King Leopold II of Belgium. For the crimes of murder, torture and slavery of nearly 15 million people in Congo. Statues of so many Americans ‘heroes’ known and celebrated for their racist ideologies.
Athletics is a truly international sport. At the 2017 IAAF World Championships over 200 countries have athletes participating. At any given time during the championships, participants could be sharing the stadium with athletes from a such a vast array of countries, the UN would be put to shame. Athletics has often provided the backdrop against which some of the greatest examples of the triumphs of the human spirit have played out. Among these triumphs, I believe that athletes who enter for more than one event in their individual capacity provide some of the best athletic inspirations.
‘She’ is defined by what she is not allowed
What she is not allowed to inhabit
‘Each morning redefines impossibility
Each morning says “Here I am. Again”
Each morning means I am possible
Cesária Évora singing Sodade
Cesária was a Cape Verdean singer. Nicknamed the “Barefoot Diva” for performing without shoes. She helped bring the amazing musical legacy of her homeland to the world’s attention. ‘Sodade’ means longing, longing for this land of mine.
Walk down the forested paths of the Congolese forest,
Watch the twinkle of the soft stars reflected in the Nile.
Be dazzled by the splendour of a Benin masked festival.
Marvel at the colour and smells of a Moroccan market.
And then learn to love Africa.