By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
The African Union (AU), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD), hosted a residency programme under the AU20 project for established writers from across Africa to produce a piece of work that celebrates the unity and potential of the African continent.
This year, the African Union celebrates its 20th anniversary since its establishment at the Durban Summit in July 2002. Dubbed AU20, the celebrations have taken place under the theme Our Africa, Our Future and focus on the AU’s initiatives, successes, impact, challenges and the way forward.
The writers’ residency took the form of a hybrid programme, with two online meetings in October/November and a two-week physical residency at LOATAD in Accra, Ghana, from November 14 – 28.
Catering to the theme, Our Africa, Our Future, five writers from the continent were tasked to interpret the theme in an expansive way across a selected genre, including fiction, narrative non-fiction and poetry. The piece is pegged between 5,000 and 7,000 words (or five poems for poets) on the theme for the e-book. The final work will be published in an e-book anthology to be released in early 2023.
The AU20 project aims to elevate the profile of the AU in the minds of Africans, particularly the creative community, and better connect the AU to African citizens. Powered by Africa No Filter, the writers’ residency is a unique contribution towards bringing the African Union closer to the African people by selecting creative professionals who think outside the box, dare to challenge conventions and offer new and original work through their chosen materials, techniques and subject matters.
LOATAD, together with the AU, the UNDP and Africa No Filter, has now announced the final winners of the AU20 writing project. Here are the five winners and a bit about their professional backgrounds.
i) Nour Kamel from the Arab Republic of Egypt. Nour writes about identity, language, sexuality, queerness, gender, oppression, femininity, trauma, family, lineage, globalization, loss and food. She is the author of the chapbook “Noon” in New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Sita).
ii) TJ Benson from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His writing explores the body in the context of memory, migration, utopia, and the unconscious self and his works have been exhibited, published in several journals, and shortlisted for awards. The author of three novels, his latest, People Live Here, is out now.
iii) Musih Tedji Xaviere from the Republic of Cameroon. She is a writer, activist, and Moth Storyteller. Her debut novel, These Letters End in Tears, won the 2021 Pontas and JJ Bola Emerging Writer’s Prize. It will be published in the US and UK in 2024 by Catapult and Jacaranda Books.
iv) Tony Mochama from the Republic of Kenya. He is a poet, author and senior journalist at The Nation Media Group. He is a three-time winner of the Burt Awards for African Young Adult Literature and is a recipient of the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. His futuristic novel, 2063 – Last Mil Bet, was published by Oxford University Press.
v) Sue Nyathi from the Republic of South Africa. She is the author of four novels, her latest, An Angel’s Demise, published in October by Pan Macmillan. A Zimbabwean based in South Africa, she was shortlisted for the 2020 Dublin Literary Award and is a JIAS Fellow ’22.
According to reports, LOATAD received an overwhelming number of applications from across the continent, and the selected writers represent the best of African literary talent as well as the literary future.
Started in a one-room office, the library attracted significant national and international attention and quickly outgrew itself. In 2020, it re-branded to LOATAD and moved to a bigger space that includes a special collections/archive room, a screening room and extensive outdoor event space.
As a complete African library, it also has an archive, a museum, a writing residency and a research facility. It is dedicated to the collection and visualization of authors from Africa and the African diaspora from the late 19th century to the present.
The library has over 4,000 volumes of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction dating from the early 20th century to the present day. From Algeria to Kenya and from Liberia to Zimbabwe, the collections represent the rich diversity of the African continent and its vast Diaspora.
LOATAD’s focus is on books by writers of African descent, including African, African American, Caribbean, Black European, Afro-Latin, and Indigenous writers. LOATAD is located in Accra, Ghana.
LASEMA Battles to Curtail Fire Outbreak at Balogun Market
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said it was working tirelessly with other agencies to put out the fire at 3/5 Gbajumo Street, Balogun, Lagos Island.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the organisation said it received a distress call from concerned persons in the wee hours of today over the unfortunate incident.
It was gathered that a 5-storey building at the Balogun Market was gutted by fire, destroying properties worth millions of Naira.
Giving an update on the situation, LASEMA said the joint teams, which rushed to the scene of the inferno, were having a constraint preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.
“The agency received a distress call around 12:30 am today, Thursday, January 26, 2023, regarding a fire outbreak at No 3/5 Gbagumo street Balogun market, Lagos Island, which prompted the immediate activation of the Emergency Response Team to the scene of the incident.
“Consequent upon arrival at the scene of the incident, information gathered revealed that some shops (rubber shoes and clothes are stored) on the first floor of a 5-storey building was gutted by fire. However, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained.
“Fortunately, there is no loss of life or casualty involved in the incident.
“Collaborative efforts to put out the fire are ongoing by the agency’s Response Team and its fire unit, alongside Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Federal Fire Service, Police Force, CBD, LASAMBUS, LNSC and NEMA.
“However, the joint teams have a constraint which is preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.
“Efforts are still ongoing to prevent the spread of the fire to nearby buildings. Operations are also still ongoing,” the statement said.
Tinubu Never Blamed Buhari for Fuel Scarcity, Others—Onanuga
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr Bayo Onanuga, has said the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Bola Tinubu, did not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.
On Wednesday, during his campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr Tinubu accused some powerful persons were behind the current scarcity of petrol in Nigeria, as well as the scarcity of the new Naira notes.
President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and fuel scarcity has remained for months under his watch. He also approved the redesigning of the Naira when Mr Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), brought the proposal to him.
But while speaking yesterday, Mr Tinubu said, “We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like, let them create a fuel crisis; even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote.
“They are full of mischief, they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis but forget about it. Relax, I, Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed,” he said at the campaign rally.
“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring a stone and use it to break it; then the kernel will come out. It’s not easy to…
“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote, and we will win even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought,” he added.
His comments generated mixed reactions, with some commentators saying he was indirectly indicting Mr Buhari for the crisis facing the country.
But Mr Onanuga rebuffed this, saying the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was plotting to “create a wedge between our presidential candidate and President Muhammadu Buhari.”
According to him, the former Governor of Lagos State was only empathising “with the Nigerian people facing the dual crises of fuel and new Naira notes scarcity.”
“For the records, Asiwaju Tinubu, during the APC campaign rally at Abeokuta on Wednesday, in his statement, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.
“Asiwaju Tinubu was only adverting the government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some Fifth Columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP.
“The CBN officials, including Governor Godwin Emefiele, have said many times that enough new Naira notes have been supplied to the banks, yet our people complain that they have not been able to get the new notes.
“In recent days, many ATMs are either not working, or when working, they are dispensing the old notes, just a few days to the January 31 deadline.
“Similarly, Asiwaju Tinubu is aware of the salutary efforts by President Buhari to end the fuel queues by chairing a 14-man panel. Yet the queues and agony continue.
“For a presidential candidate, who cares about the suffering of our people, he has a duty to warn the government that its efforts to make life better for Nigerians are being sabotaged on several fronts.
“Our presidential candidate only re-echoed what is well known and acknowledged, even by President Buhari himself, at different fora: That there are Fifth Columnists in and outside of government who often throw spanners in the works against good intentions and programmes of the government.
“How does an advisory genuinely made by Asiwaju Tinubu to protect and create goodwill for the government of his party become an attack? It can only be so in the jaundiced view of the PDP,” a part of the statement issued on Thursday said.
DLM Capital Sponsors Employee’s Philanthropic Projects
DLM Capital Group, a development investment bank, partnered with the Shile Akinjo Charity Foundation (SACF) on two of its charity initiatives: “Love Feast on the Street” and “Back-to-School Project.”
Shile Akinjo, a corporate finance associate at DLM, started SACF in 2022 to support low-income families and the less privileged to fight poverty, receive decent health care, and achieve a basic education.
The “Love Feast on the Street” was held on the 17th of December 2022 to celebrate Christmas with over 400 kids at Makoko Slum, Yaba, Lagos. The day’s highlights include face painting, a dance competition, popcorn, food, drinks, and the gifting of party packs to the kids.
The “Back-to-School Project” was held on the 20th of January 2023 at The Light School and Boanerges School at Akesan, Alimosho, local government. All the pupils in basic 1–5 were given school supplies such as school bags, socks, notebooks, pencils, biros, erasers, rulers, crayons, water bottles, and snacks.
Shile Akinjo commented on the initiative, stating, “Happiness is as essential as food if a child is to develop into normal manhood or womanhood.” Being able to put smiles on these kids’ faces is fulfilling, and we will continue to carry out initiatives that support these goals. I am grateful to Mr. Sonnie Ayere and DLM Capital Group for their full commitment to these projects. I feel lucky to work for a company that supports and encourages its employees to do good things for the community.
In a statement highlighting DLM’s sponsorship of the projects, Chinwendu Ohakpougwu, Head of Corporate Communications, said: “At DLM, we are committed to impacting human lives. The management of DLM will continue to support good causes that promote the welfare of others.”
Latest News on Business Post
- LASEMA Battles to Curtail Fire Outbreak at Balogun Market January 26, 2023
- Tinubu Never Blamed Buhari for Fuel Scarcity, Others—Onanuga January 26, 2023
- Jumia, Churches, POS Operators, Others Reject Old Naira Notes January 26, 2023
- SFS Fund Mobile App Sees 300% Rise in Downloads January 26, 2023
- DLM Capital Sponsors Employee’s Philanthropic Projects January 26, 2023
- Julius Berger Offers for Sale N30bn Commercial Paper in Two Series January 26, 2023
- InterswitchSPAK 4.0 Finalists Nudge for N7.5m University Scholarships January 26, 2023
- How Nigeria Can Boost FX Inflow from Education Tourism—Schoolingyonda January 26, 2023
- Investors Stake N1.0trn on N220.5bn Treasury Bills, Rate Drops to 0.29% January 26, 2023
- Elections: Tinubu Accuses Buhari Administration of Sabotage January 26, 2023