Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Am A Writer

All 25 Amplify Fellows
Photo: aKoma
So after six months as an Amplify fellow, I can finally call myself a writer with conviction. I can claim the profession not because I wrote fiction prior to the fellowship or that I published regularly on my blog and wrote opinion pieces for other online media outlets, but because in the past six months I was in the midst of other writers who, unbeknownst to them, validated my aspirations. In this community of twenty-five creatives hailing from Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya, I felt safe and in communion with other exploratory souls forging their path in the amorphous world of writing, photography and videography.

I speak of validation and aspirations because three years ago, after the company I worked for went under—thanks to the steep plunge in global oil prices—I made a conscious decision to take a year off from corporate life to indulge a latent desire. With fervour, I sank my teeth into the Journalism and Newswriting course I had enrolled in three months prior, began drafting a business plan for an online media platform, became a contributor for a local radio station, started writing my debut novel and continued blogging. Read more here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

All Hail King Mediocre

Photo: Shayera Dark
Mediocrity is worshipped in Nigeria, where it is rife and readily accepted. So pervasive its stench and so strong its wave that no corner of society—from government offices to corporate teams to classrooms—has been spared. The bar of excellence has been set so low that it doesn’t take much to be considered a genius.

Nigeria, with a population of 170 million minds, could become a great nation if it terminated its destructive affair with the soft bigotry of low expectations, the mental stance driving its citizens to eschew hard work and/or accept dismal performances. 

There’s no reason, for instance, why Nollywood is still producing sub-par movies despite its twenty-plus years of existence. Nigerian movies ought to be competing with Hollywood, if not in special effects and epic sets then at least in compelling storylines. But because the audience expects little from Nigerian producers, directors and actors—and hence, makes no demands, trashy Nollywood movies continue to thrive, obviating the quest for excellence. What’s the point of striving for perfection when someone’s willing to reward a shitty job well done? Read more here.