On the tenth of March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, travelling between Addis Ababa and Nairobi, fell out of the sky, leaving 157 massive holes in the universe. Spaces never again to be filled. Cracks never to be mended. It is now the 11th of March 2019 and I am yet to come to terms with a particular death. Prof Pius Adesanmi. Kogite. Nigerian. African. Academic. Intellectual.
It is March 2019, Nigerians have just elected a ‘new’ President, some old and new Governors and members of the legislative houses. In this brief prezi lecture, I argue that the practice of elections in Nigeria reveals that a lot of international laws and norms were not designed for African contexts. The approach has been to suggest that African states adapt their contexts to international norms, but that seems impossible. And so we are held in a permanent state of negative peace, hoping elections do not tip the delicate balance.
At the time of writing this piece, I was putting together reading for a lecture which asks the audience to think about the meaning(s) of freedom. In preparing the lecture, I have found so many different definitions of freedom, that I begin to realise that freedom may be a nebulous term. Primarily, it should be noted that definitions of freedom and demands for freedom are often a reaction to unfreedom. This is why it often seems that freedom is not found when the mechanisms and overt structures of unfreedom are removed, because the ideologies and imperatives that created it still exist, and the removal of unfreedom just provides an opportunity to destroy its clay and reform the unfreedom into more acceptable and less recognisable shapes.
Academically and in my legal practice, I started out as a human rights lawyer. Firmly of the belief that equality and human rights were the solutions to the world’s problems. Stepping further into dark jurisprudential waters, I began to question the nature of law and human rights and equality. So, I have ended up being a decolonial teacher.
Close your eyes…
What do you see when I say the word, ‘Africa.’?
Open your ears…
What do you hear in the presence of the sound…. ‘Africa’?
2019 is going to be a big year in elections for Africa.
I had been waiting for an opportunity to watch Detroit since it came out in 2017. Finally, during the Christmas break of 2018/19, I got a second to breathe… and watch it. I was all sorts of emotions. It is a hard watch and I was thoroughly moved – as I had expected to be – till 10 minutes to the end when I started crying. Properly crying, mind you. I then proceeded to cry for 3 days straight. I have since watched various parts of it over and over. This is not really a review but a commentary, but please be aware, there will be spoilers after this point.
I have always wanted to be a writer. If I had been born in a different place, in a different time, a different world, I may have become one. But who knows? We can only play the hand that we are dealt. But I have always written. Though, I have mostly written for myself. I have tried writing everything – fiction, non-fiction (academic work), poetry, prose, music and spoken word. But the question I have to answer for myself, each time I begin a new attempt is: ‘why?’ Why am I writing? What do I hope to achieve?
Preface: As part of Epigram’s (University of Bristol, student newspaper) campaign to raise awareness about micro-agressions, I submitted the following sort-of-poem. Everything I have included is informed by talking with students, research and personal experience. Which is why there is a reference list at the end. As Audre Lorde says, ‘Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.’ Please read, think on it, and share. Mille grazie.