It’s not often that artistic genius seamlessly meets serious political commentary. But it seems to happen all the time in Nigeria. There’s no less-dramatic way to say it so, in a nutshell, Nigerian artists have changed my life. I’ve never been there, which is perhaps why Nigerian storytelling has not just captured my imagination, it has demonstrated the boundless possibilities of literature. Over the years I’ve heard so much about Nigeria from (admittedly annoying) patriotic Nigerians that it’s long been number two (reasons to visit, number one, Ghana can be found here) on my Must-See West African Countries list (you have one of those right?) It may well be true that stories grow on trees in West Africa. I love Nigeria for gracing me with an abundance of stories that are at once 100% rooted in a specific locale, embroidered with such detailed analysis of the universal, and told through fully-formed African characters. I frequently lose myself, investing totally in outcomes which are fictional creations based on somebody else’s reality. If there’s any one country, where a lot of my favourite novels come from, it’s Naija. A fiction festival in Nigeria would look a lot like heaven to me. With no further ado, here’s seven reasons to be ridiculously excited about going to Nigeria: Continue reading
If you’re a romantic who grew up in a Euro-centric culture, you’ve probably heard the expression ‘into the sunset’ on more than one occasion. To walk, run, ride or drive into the sunset denotes a closing, a happy ending, and hope for the future. More than one film has closed on a sunset, and many more fairy stories. But personally, I never really ‘got’ them. Apart from that iconic moment in Grease 2 when he finally gets the girl and they ride off into the sunset of course…that was classic. I changed somewhat, when at the end of a week spent slaving away at a national park’s snake exhibit in Phuket, Thailand back in the day, a kindly lady offered to take me to Sunset Point. She thought it would be a travesty for me to leave Phuket without seeing it. I was more tempted by the possibility of finally getting out of the park.
What I saw however, blew my mind. There’s a reason why they call it Sunset Point. It’s no doubt the place Jay-Z refers to in ‘Can I get a…’ A decade later I can still see in my mind’s eye the panoramic view of the horizon, the endless sky and the most colourful sunset I’ve ever seen. Continue reading