In the month of June 2018, so many Nigerians died. One is too many, but this, this is unforgivable. A state is meant to protect, or else it serves no purpose. There must be a reckoning somewhere, someday, because all our thoughts and prayers and self-glorying testimonies are an affront to the dead.
FACE has a knowledge-based vision for creative Pan-Africanism and we were certainly looking forward to introducing this vision to all our delegates. Two days before the Launch of FACE 2018, the weather forecast predicted rain…But lo and behold, launch day arrived and the sun emerged in all its glory! And so did all our delegates, proudly dressed in a wide array of African attire.
Text of my talk at the Launch of FACE [9/06/2018] outlining the initiative’s visions and aims.
Welcome. From the foothills of the Savannah mountains in Kogi state Nigeria. I say Okun. Ka bi se ri? In this UN decade of people of African descent, I say a greeting and a blessing for every town and city and village in which we the people of African descent are found. May the land beneath our feet welcome us. May our minds be at peace. May our hearts be at rest.
On the 20th of May 2018, I was invited by the Bristol Museum to give a museum talk about the Benin bronzes on display there. I was specifically asked to bring my expertise and personal experience to the conversation of why the destruction and looting of the king’s palace in Benin in 1897 is still such a problematic subject. I appreciate everyone who came to listen, there was real engagement with the issues and lovely conversations after the talk. The text of the talk titled ‘Benin Bronzes – a controversial past and present,’ is reproduced below:
I was very happy to be able to present different aspects of my ongoing research on legal education at the Socio-Legal Studies Association conference. My research, which is pedagogical as well as jurisprudential, examines what happens at the intersection of legal education, race as well as a history of changing ideas of what it means to be human.
Africa and Africans have a long history of being written into darkness. The written word has weighed heavy on us. Used to name and label and distort and deform. Used to know and unknow Africa, till all that remains is an extended history of non-recognition of personhood. We are constantly written into darkness.
This is not my first post about the Rwandan Genocide. It will probably not be my last. But this is not about the genocide, which should actually not be called a genocide (but more on that later.) This is about where it stands in the context of the world, and where the world stands in relation to it. I can still remember getting a glimpse of CNN in July 1994, I was gasping for news of the genocide, but CNN had a feature on how events in Rwanda had affected the existence of the mountain gorilla.
There is a type of person who stands at the graveside of a sleeping warrior and sneers…, Who watching the lowering coffin brings out a catalogue of all the warrior’s failings and defeats then smirks. There is a type of person who hides behind the veil of death to sit in judgment. We know your type.
We step out with painted feet into this dance.
When the drumming starts, we move our feet haphazardly to the beat of the drums, wavering yet weaving each step into the tapestry set beneath us.