Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Gift & Curse January 17, 2012

The year has put on new clothes.
ThatDarkBetty and thatAfroSays, we bid you enjoy her fashions.

 

Enter @Osizurunkle

Art has long since provided us a means to appreciate, understand and interpret our surroundings and circumstances, a form of social commentary.

 

The tradition continues:
@afromysterics, @CavalierSlim, @xoAFRO

One painting, slightly different perceptions;

 
 
 

THE GIFT & CURSE
(Kindly allow the images to load, also preferably viewed on a PC)
 
 
Section 1

 

 

@afromysterics:

Some of the key players in the matter; GEJ intentions unclear, wearing what seems to be a joker’s mask

IMF (can you see their logo?), a head seeming to come forth from the logo, whispering, appearing to give orders to Okonjo; who is listening. Eyes closed, appearing to be blind to the suffering of her people, her environment…

The child, representative of the people, crying in anguish because of the future he/they see(s)…bleak

Can you see the logos of two major oil companies?

 

@CavalierSlim:

NOI with the star where her heart should be, signifying her good intentions.

GEJ with the mask, putting on a strangely brave face in the presence of turmoil and chaos

The masses, crying and angry, bewildered by the actions of the government, unable to comprehend a seemingly futuristic action…ignorance, the bane of the ordinary man. (as seen by the sad face beside NOI and the dumb-looking man, holding up the placard, respectively)

A cacophony of violence and diverse interests, fighting for the soul of Nigeria, while its innate strength lies dormant and weakened (signified by the sad horse)

 

 

 

Section 2

 

 

@afromysterics:

Crude- a source of joy and pain,a gift & curse since 1956

The Coat of ‘Alms’ (begging for attention)

 

 

 

Section 3

 

 

@afromysterics:

Fela…Afrobeat

He was a prophet in his own right. His music; the soundtrack of the current agitation.

(This section of the piece also expresses religious conflicts between Islam and Christianity, the murder carried out in the name of God…)

 

@CavalierSlim:

The timeless conflict that religion inevitably concocts, causing the death of so many and setting the nation on edge. An explosive situation, literally. All happening, with fela’s music remains the soundtrack in the quest for freedom and equity.

 

 

 

Section 4

 

 

A bomb. 2015; the predicted expiration date of the entity called NGR, an eye; watching…

 

 

 

Section 5

 

 

TUC, NLC, Save Nigeria, Enough is Enough, people protesting for a return to N65, fists representative of the Occupy Nigeria movement.

 

 

 

Section 6

 

 

@afromysterics:

A phone,megaphones, guns, social networking sites and the war being waged on the internet…the people being given a voice of sorts, an avenue to vent/vocalize their thoughts…

The ‘I-better-pass-my-neighbor ‘ generator powering all this…’NEPA’

 

@CavalierSlim:

Twitter and facebook…the chief culprits through which propaganda is spread from every angle, setting a technology-savvy generation on fire, seeing only half-truths and shadows…they need light…figuratively and literally.

 

 

 

The piece in full

 

 

@afrosays:

Ha!
 
They go to church, they ask, “Give us a prophecy!”
 
They have stopped coming to visit me, their clothes are too clean for my mats and their noses are too urban, too stilted for the modest smell of nature.
 
Every year, they hear the same things over and over again:
 
This is your year of breakthrough! This is your year of renewed anointing!
 
How are they so blind that they cannot see the play of hands? How are they so carried away that they are not aware that the year listens to no man’s speculations?
 
The year listens to their actions, individually; the year listens to the consequence of these gathering drops in the ocean. The year is the resultant wave, riding on the combined ripples of their decisions, their activities, although some ripples are weightier than others.
 
Sha,
 
Whether they come to consult me or not, the charcoal would talk about them.  Spiritual Amebo[0].
 
Whether they seek the truth or not, in black gold it is evident. Spiritual Gbeborun[0].
 
I see,
 
The circles are distorted and the ripples dance before me, telling a story that is not altogether hidden from you if you cared to open your eyes.
 
Mmmm,
 
Shey you want to know where it starts? Is it not in the center of it all? Look at that beast of burden, enjoying himself on a bed of flowers…
 
 Him brother no see palmi[1] drink but him no go give am. Palmwine sef dey, ‘Gorodom[2]’ dey. Them talk say na oyel[3] money, say na for all of us, why them dey laugh and we dey cry?
 
Fela, he talked about it all and his words ring true today, as true as they rang back then, in rhythm with the sound of the beads that shook on the jiggling waists of his dancers. Abami…
 
Archbishop na enjoyment, Pope na enjoyment, Imam na gbaladun[4]… Our people too dey fear… Our leaders them be bad people… Suffering and smiling
 
Shey you see the next ripple? Look above the center, it is the consequence of the activities of the leaders that we elected, it is the consequence of our own choices…
 
My people dey suffer: Bomb dey blow, we leaders no hear! We dey cry, we leaders no hear! Oga president no see our face, na joke joke masquerade him use take cover face! Madam minister no see hear our cry, na oyinbo dey give am advice! Bomb dey blow! Man dey cry!
 
And the ripples after? Just above?
 
Suffer dey but we must talk! Enough is enough, We must to save Nigeria! Whether court talk say make we no cry, na as e pain us we go cry! Whether Labour talk say make we quiet small, na as e pain us, we go shout! Enough is Enough!
 
My people, the charcoal dust swirls, observe the whorls. The voice of the people is their armament. Look at the final ripples, the voice of the multitude, the cry of the people…
 
Bullhorn na we grenade launcher! All ojoro[5] must die by fire! Thunder must to strike all the cabal them! No be our money?  No be our oyel? Twitter soldier man, Facebook air marshall, Broadcaster-in-chief, General street protester, all of we come together. We no fit use all our salary enter molue[6] go work; we no fit put all our sweat inside one twenty-five leetah[7] jerry can, pour am for moto. NEPA no dey, PHCN talk say make we buy candle but Mama Bomboy talk say candle don cost. Our voice na we gun! Our shout na we shakabula[8]!
 
Enough is Enough!
 
 
 
Words employed

  1. Amebo/Gbeborun – Gossip/ Eavesdropper
  2. Palmi – Palm Wine
  3. Gorodum – Oil drums
  4. Oyel – Crude oil
  5. Gbaladun – Enjoyment
  6. Ojoro – Corruption
  7. Molue – Dilapidated mass transit bus
  8. Leetah – Litre
  9. Shakabula – Double barreled Pump action rifle.

 
 

The piece is titled Gift & Curse and done with charcoal on pastel by Laolu Senbanjo

Go to www.laolusenbanjo.com to see more of the artist’s work and follow the handle @afromysterics on twitter, also like laolu senbanjo on facebook.

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All of us April 1, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 12:27 pm
Tags: , ,

So?

Calm down a bit. Even though Betty’s here now, I won’t spread sheets on my bed or brush my teeth before I dig into morning pottage and wash it down with Camel milk. I’m still walking around the castle, barefoot, half naked, singing off key, and looking like an accident. Me is Me.

I might change with time, get a little culture when her friends come over? Actually comb out the bush on my head? Dig out one of my stained white tees from the laundry room? Use some of the dead mint paste on the dresser? Stop spending so much time in front of the huge mirror at the tapestry room rehearsing a noisy crowd of swordplay in old, rusty armor, wielding a broken mopstick and a stolen cooking pan cover? Naaaaa!

The important thing is that I do what I do, channel the goddess.

She’s been packing up things for a weekend in the lower country: loose fitting fabric, repellent sprays and things. We talked at length the night before, about life, and hope, and desires and disappointment; how you want something you can’t have and you still lunge for it, even though you have a reality, a reality that your desires would end in a disappointment.

You love the chase, the thrill, the wishy moments that make you believe for a flimsy second that your dreams would actually come true. Sometimes, you don’t let your hopes get so far as to escape beyond your gathering hands, but sometimes, you let your hopes wander away, to discover a most wonderful journey, and you begin to have faith. The kind of faith that tells you to stop admiring the beauty of the ocean and actually put a foot out. You’re not stupid enough to jump out, no you’re not. It’s just a foot. But you forget that once you trust your weight on that one foot, you go crashing into the deep. Your salty tears, mixing with the watery mass, a smile on your face…

Deep is deep, let us be happy; today we mock reality! Our goddess shall soon be off on a fling with an English Duke that’s somehow from Betty’s world of prim and proper. The mustached man is waiting outside the cold stone walls, proclaiming love and valor and yarning unusual nonsense. AfroMuse is having a hearty laugh and blowing him kisses. Betty is laughing at them both. The goddess’s pain shows through her smiles for the quarter of a second and it’s gone like it was never there. Maybe it was never there?

She shall let her golden hair (Yes! she grew and dyed it) down the window for Mister Duke to climb up. It’s not like I didn’t open the huge doors to let the man in, the same doors they would exit later on, to mount his wooden horse drawn carriage… he does own a fleet of Italian cars…

Oh! the goddess and her kind!

I have errands to run. Allow me to beat something that sounds like a Don Jazzy tune, merry merry tongolo imitations, mixed with scape-goat synth vibes on the gong, only because AfroSays:

MOMENTS

...we are who we are...

He looked at her and she looked at him.
No expression both ways.
He had no qualms about what he was about to do, it was what he did, it was who he was.
She kept her gaze for it seemed she could not think, or say a prayer, or even move. She was lost in his mighty presence. She was his.
She sat there looking at him. At first he didn’t move. He just stared at her, rarely blinking his eyes. After a few seconds, it seemed, her lungs remembered to suck some air in.
As soon her chest movement gained rhythm, he picked himself from the floor and began to saunter towards her in the most casual manner.
As he moved closer, he began to appear larger and more intimidating. He emerged from his dark corner into the dim light, muscle lines etched on his every feature. The evil of him was plain to behold.
Everyone started screaming.
“Quiet!”
We all hushed again as we were commanded. The lion dipped his head and lifted it in a terrifying roar, then he leaned back in a spring-crouch position.
Panic murmurs and anxious ‘voicings’ rippled through the crowd in recurrent sine waves.
“Kill am!”
“Shut up!”
Ka-blaaaam!
There was smoke. And blood. And a more shocking roar. The lion was not yet dead.
“Kill aaaaaam!”
“Shut uuuuuup!”
Ka-blaaaaaaaam!
The smoke cleared lightly and behold, the lion lay dead at the feet of the innocent little girl. Someone else was there too, hidden in smoke of his shooting and the dust of his hurried arrival.
Everyone started clapping, and doing cat-calls. Some ‘osheeeys’, some ‘whoop whoops’.
Then the man shouted again, “You Nigerian people are crazy! This is a cinema house, not a theaturr!”
We all laughed at the American man with his funny accent.
“Chairman, abeg, relax jooor!”, Someone replied. Everyone laughed heartily at the retort. Someone’s chinese phone started ringing a extra loud, extra lousy, Nokia-imitation ruckus somewhere to my left. I shook my head and smiled at the interesting cinema culture of my fellow citizens.
The movie would end in a few minutes. I picked up my half-filled coke bottle and left the cinema room to wait at the exit passage. There was this delicious girl I saw as I walked in and I wanted to chat her up. Maybe I could even get her to see another movie with me. I hadn’t really come all the way from my bucolic local government to downtown lagos because I wanted to see overage lions hunt little girls. After all, Emelex or whatever they call him sells this movie, along with all the other new titles the cinema would be showing this week in a DVD collection for a paltry N250, right in front of my house.
I ditched the Coke bottle on last-minute, first-impression mathematics.
 

If my village became August 13, 2010

Filed under: Poetry — afrosays @ 9:22 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My head is still up in my posterior, trying to figure out a lot of things. Sometimes it seems I’m the biggest dullard in the world.

But never mind that, some things are basic – the simple joys of life would never betray you.

After yesterday’s kiss, I’m happier than ever because I decided to be content.

Of course! Who wouldn’t be content with kissing a goddess?

I am more than content so I’d be smiling sheepishly, reflecting on kisstalk, beating that Gong animatedly and telling you that AfroSays:

IF MY VILLAGE BECAME

IF MY VILLAGE BECAME

IF IJARE BECAME

I was just wondering,
If my village became British
Which of my Oba’s many wives would be the Queen, her majesty?
If my village became American
Would we dress bush meat on thanksgiving?
If my village became Italian
Would we organize Palm Wine tasting meets?
If my village became Chinese
Would we eat pounded yam with two sticks?
If my village became French
Would we fry our Bean cakes seven feet long?
I’m not sure about our Root Beer or our Pina Coladas, our Ankara suits or our Aso-Oke sneakers
I’m most definitely not sure about our suicide bombers
I’m just sure that we should remain Nigerian!

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Spectator!!! No dey look Uche face! August 5, 2010

I’m just traveling through my mind at this moment with the goddess by side, greeting and avoiding the old and recent ghosts whose land I lord, lol.

I’ve got to get rid of some of these ugly haunt-tenants, can’t wait for old age amnesia.

AfroMuse, she’s found this cute one and she’s bullying him to share his story. Of course, he shall.

I beat the gong as AfroSays:

NO DEY LOOK UCHE FACE

Uche's face

Uche's face?

The stupid Okada guy was driving me toward the ensuing ruckus; three fully grown, well dressed, able-bodied men were fighting bitterly, and I wasn’t sure it was over the typical incomplete transport fare/ fare balance situation because there was no yellow cum black striped bus nearby. The motorcyclist moved me closer, yard by yard. He wanted to catch a glimpse of Uche’s face.
My mind quickly flashed back to the testimony a friend of mine had shared at church the previous Sunday. He talked so happily because he felt quite lucky to be alive. His story was a word of caution to every Nigerian intellectual who felt an egotistical need to stand out from the crowd whenever societal disturbance reared its ugly head. Most of us had given up on trusting instinct when lives of hundreds of Lagosians had been betrayed by a canal they had willingly jumped into because they had instinctively followed crowd movement in a bid to escape the terrifying echoes of a bomb blast several kilometres away. My friend’s testimony gave us permission to trust our sixth sense once more.
He had been walking along the road, enjoying just another normal day of his life when he happened upon a police checkpoint. He had almost walked past when a suspicious car happened upon the checkpoint as well.  The police had tried to stop the moving vehicle when the dubious party suddenly opened fire. Our trigger-happy law enforcement officers didn’t waste time in returning the favour – they were reportedly aiming for the tires and the sky at the same time.
My friend immediately stopped and started staring at potential gist. He ignored all instinctive demands to run. He refused to follow in the crowd’s rush for cover and he wasn’t alone, there was some mallam guy beside him as well and they were both trying to find out if Uche had pimples.
The action movie ended as soon as it started with the mysterious car escaping, his viewing partner on the floor, hit by shrapnel and a stern lesson that Uche’s hypnotic face wasn’t worth the attention.
That  flashback only lasted a second, we were already getting dangerously close to the royal rumble. My mind was rapidly producing several creative scenarios in which our foray into the wrestling ring would go wrong. The motorcyclist wasn’t even looking at the road anymore, his neck was turned at an obtuse angle in a serious attempt to study Uche’s then blurred features.
I quickly reprimanded him and brought him back to consciousness, my intuition was urgently urging me forward because even on that busy road, nobody seemed interested in such a great display of Tibetan Kung Fu. I somehow managed to convince the motorcyclist back on course.
I honestly tried my best to act disinterested but the Nigerian goddess of hypnosis was too fascinating to refuse.
We stopped a few yards away and fully indulged our curiosity, enjoying Uche’s mesmerizing beautiful face.
It was so beautiful, I couldn’t wait till I saw it again.

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The Sokoto Rascals July 27, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 7:38 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The AfroMuse had been quite excited lately. She talked too fast this time.

She said a lot but  this is all I could pick up.

I hope I reconstruct everything with time or else I’d definitely be in trouble and lord know what that crazy witch can do.

She said, I heard and I beat a my gong like a siren as Afrosays:

THE SOKOTO RASCALS

The Sokoto Rascals

The Sokoto Rascals

“In this farade, we must pocus”, bellowed the commander, substituting ‘F’s for ‘P’s and vice versa in accordance with the peculiarities of his accent. “We shall discifline all acts of indiscifline”, he shouted across the ranks in an effort to impress his presence.

The boys were looking awkward, trying to stand at mock-attention in their clingy vests and shorts despite the unforgiving Sokoto morning breeze. They had been told that camping would be fun and so it had been till commander Musa, the superintendent of the Young Men’s Christian Squadron paid a visit.

They had unwillingly traded board games for extremely strenuous morning drills and afternoon swimming for rigorous march past sessions since the commander arrived. Everything that they had held sacred had been taking away from them and they had vowed revenge. This day, the commander was to travel to Kaduna to terrorize another set of fun-loving boys and the Sokoto rascals wanted to send him on his way with a gift.

“Our Pinal exercise this morning shall be the fath of truth”, commander Musa informed the boys, “Poward march toward the riber!” he shouted at the top of his lungs.

They all knew the path of truth and they had been looking forward to it. In fact, some of them had been sneaking to have a try at night but none of them had been brave enough to complete it.

The Sokoto rascals watched mischievously as their antagonist approached the path of truth cautiously. It was his duty to lead such endeavours by example. His back was turned so they couldn’t see the fear in his eyes.

“I shall teach you the song!” the commander told the boys. He went on to position himself on the treacherous device that was hanging fifty feet above the river and suspended between two trees that were a hundred meters apart. “This exercise shall teach you pocus!”

“You hold the rofe above , walk on the rofe below” “Hurrah!”

“You are holding onto God, don’t ever let him go” “Hurrah!”

“You slide forward a little, then move your body slow” “Hurrah!”

“Or you goooooooooooo crashing down below” “Hurraaaaaah!”

His voice alternated between five pitches as he sang ; he could not admit his fear of heights. He was about thirty meters in when the boys picked up the chorus, surprisingly willingly. They sang as they had rehearsed:

“You better hold the rofe above, forget the rofe below”, “Hurrah!”

“You better hold onto God, don’t ever let him go”, “Hurrah!”

“You better run if you can, do not take it slow”, “Hurrah!”

… and the firewood axe slowly traveled the ranks from back to front.

“goooooooooooooooooooooo crashing down below!”, “Hurraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

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