Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Fifth Edition Call for Entries

The organisers of the fifth edition of Wole Soyinka Prize For Literature In Africa have called for entries for the 2014 edition of the Literature Award.

The Chairman of The Lumina Foundation and award’s Board of Trustees, Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emanuel, said this at a press briefing in Lagos over the weekend.

“On behalf of the board of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, I hereby announce the commencement of the preparation for the 5th edition of the prize, which will take place here in Nigeria on Saturday July 5, 2014 and also call for entries. Any published play or collection of plays by the same author of African descent, published within the two years preceding the year of the Prize (that is a play published between 2012 and 2013) is eligible for the 2014 WS Prize,” Emanuel said.

“The 2014 edition will be the 5th edition of the award and will be coinciding with the 80th birthday of Prof. Wole Soyinka, whom the prize is named after.”

However, based on the judges’ recommendation, the Board of Trustees has approved that starting with the fifth edition, each edition should assess only one of the genres (Prose, poetry, Drama and Essays) unlike in the past that had entries in all genres.

The founding chairman of the Lumina Foundation and a member of the board, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, said the growth of the WS Prize is not only in quality, but also in scope and scale as it has continued to attract interest from many African countries as the years pass by.

“Four awards of the prize have been made in the previous editions with Nigeria winning in the first and second editions, and tying with South Africa in the third while a South African took home the fourth prize,” Ogunbiyi said.

The Judges of the Prize are intellectuals and critics taken from five African countries: Cote D Ivoire, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and South Sudan. The overall winner of the award goes home with the sum of 20,000 US dollars.

Source: Nigerian Telegraph (via Save Our Treasures)

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Beautiful Faces: Memories from Lagos 2013 Carnival:

Photographer Timothy Aideloje caught some of the beautiful faces from the carnival crazy crowd in Lagos. Check out some of these priceless smiles. All photos courtesy Timothy Aideloje (@jtimidal).

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Memories from Lagos 2013 Carnival: a Photo Experience

The Lagos 2013 carnival was a blast, an experience only good old Lasgidi can deliver. We’ve got pictures to feed your eyes and nostalgia, so gorge away. All images were captured by photographer Timothy Aideloje (@jtimdal) who was kind to share his photo experience of the carnival with African Renaissance Theatre & Ent.

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The silver Lagosian

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We would have liked to title this ‘blue dancer’, but erm…

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Who would like to get tickled by those feather-fingers?

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There is only one thing you must do at every carnival, go craaazy!

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This guy is cool and he knows it!

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The purple gang.

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In Nigeria this is what we call, “go down low”

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We’ll say it again, every carnival, go crazy!

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Now here’s a different way to hang out.

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They say staring at the colour green increases your creativity. Well, these ladies certainly amplify that effect.

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Even secondary school students got in on the fun. No class today, headmaster.

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Cool carnival stunts.

Is the Nigerian Artist Losing Societal Relevance?

NGF Crisis, the Artist and Nigerian Mythos
By Africa Ukoh (@pensage4)

Every society has its mythos; the intricate threads of beliefs and opinions which hem its daily living, stitching opinions and oppositions. Mythos plays nursing mother to society’s collective consciousness; cuddled in the lock of its arms, we feed the same source which we suck dry. All societies are carried by pillars of mythos – the United States, ancient Greece, western Africa, Ajegunle, Maitama etcetera. Very importantly, ALL LEVELS OF SOCIETY – family, academia, vocational life etc – are rife with perspective-shaping mythos. Is it not normal then that when these pillars are budged, society quakes?

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) election crisis – more crisis for the Guv’nahs than for the regular folk, really – has for weeks now been the issue of debate and mediocre Machiavellian machinations. Many in the nation have watched with cynicism, criticism and glee-of-the-oppressed as ‘their excellencies them’ have strapped on political bikinis for this mud-fight.

It all started when the gubernatorial royals (note to self: possible title for cheesy British sitcom) got together to vote a new president for their ‘Governors only’ club. However things went kaput! when the 35 adults – ADULTS, I say! – were, to put it in delicate ebonics, unable to get they shit together (togethurr?). The behind-closed-doors event was videoed (weirdest derivative ever, I know), presumably, by the Governor of Osun state, and the videoed video went viral once the public got a hold of it – thanks Sahara Reporters!

As always, expected vituperations followed. We laughed, cried, decried, were angered, and arm wrestled over our woeful estate of governance! Yet at the heart of this dramedy lies a hidden-in-plain-sight statement about the relevance of Nigerian artists to their society and the status quo of Nigerian mythology. Mythology? No, no, I don’t mean Shango and Amadioha digging it out in a two-way deirific battle atop the precipitous heights of Olumo Rock. I speaketh, rather, of modern mythology.

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Politicians play a dominant role in the modern mythology of Nigeria. As both leaders and celebrities, how they and their offices are perceived is crucial to the sustenance of corruption… erm, I mean, to the sustenance of governance. Our mythos, you see, is a complex network of contradictory yet symbiotic socio-sympathetic nerves which connect the everyday Nigerian with the objects/subjects of his ‘real fantasies’ (phew!).

A PROBLEM arises, however, when the persons mythologized are alive and kicking. Being alive in the time of your myth creates the MOTHERSHIP of dilemmas: you have to live up to your mythos, or at least live a semblance of it. Hercules may have actually been a whimp who frequently got his butt kicked by the mulieres of Greece, but he wouldn’t have to had deal with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube exposing this epic chagrin. He probably would only have had to grapple with gossip by word of mouth – which is like 0.0000000000001G in internet speed time. But every time Lionel Messi walks out of the tunnel, he has to prove he is the best footballer in the world. And everytime a Nigerian politician steps into the public eye he has to protect the delicate fabric of mythos which beautifies the ignominy surrounding him.

The ineptitude of individuals in positions of authority in Nigeria could win the Oscar for biggest open secret ever. (It must be noted of course that not all in positions of authority are inept, the shoddy guys are just more fun to play with.) Despite this general awareness we accept these… erm, “special needs” authority figures, regardless – often offering little beyond passive resistance. What we are taught to revere, what our mythology tells us to respect, is the position not the person. (A factor found in other modern societies, not just Nigeria, really.) Therefore, all the person, be he the king of olodos or jester-olodo to the king, needs to do is reach that position of reverence, those seats of power, those thrones of mythos! (Insert thunder and lightning sound effects here!) Think of it like a safe-zone in childrens’ catch me if you can games. The rules are, “you can’t touch us if we’re standing in here“.

What things like the NGF election video do then, is sharpen Sabretooth claws, get pumped up on adrenaline and, with mutant ferocity, tear at threads which fasten our accepted/imposed myths.Tthey peel the veils from our eyes; take Freudian sawed-off shotguns, loaded with 16 inch Jung bullets, and shoot down psychological barriers placed between us and the obvious truth. They force us to see. They compel us to walk into dark alleys which we often pretend not to know of, simply because we are too damn stressed out dealing with the daily-bread-battles of life.

This is where the Nigerian artist – the modern Nigerian artist – comes into query. The question I find myself unable to ignore is: when it comes to the necessary destruction of mythos, isn’t the internet doing what Nigerian artists are supposed to be? Is the artist (Nigerian or other) not meant to be the one who exposes the flaws and negativities in our societies? Is it not the duty of the creatively blessed to serve as watchtowers for mankind? Is this not why artists see, hear, taste, smell and feel differently? Is this not why artists have uniquely warped perceptions, so as to delve into the dimensions of our existence, unreachable by ‘normal’ minds, and extract wonder – pertinent wonder – out from the mundane?

Now, no one can or should impose responsibilities upon artists or art, and in no way do I mean to do so. Let expression be what it will be! However, in examining humanity’s long history in the arts, do we not find a common thread in relevance to one’s society where the best of artists have always existed and golden ages of art prevailed? Has the Nigerian artist then refused or failed to assert his/her relevance beyond being the bossom of Bacchus-esque frivolities? A common argument is that the Nigerian public does not like to confront important issues through art, preferring ONLY jollification and escapism. However doesn’t the repeated virality of videos like the NGF elections tell a different story?

Perhaps I could/should narrow “Nigerian artists” to those in music and film? Writers exempted as the nature of their art prohibits frequent engagements with trivialities. (I dare you to write a novel about nothing but your flossing steez!) But, on the other hand, aren’t the various arts forms one holistic community, thus obligated to look out for each other? There should not arise a misconception that artists are only relevant when they deal with political issues. Nein! Art should NOT be considered ONLY a weapon to use AGAINST government. This erroneous assumption is, in my opinion, partly responsible for the stifled range of topics found in some art forms.

A plethora of issues are available for artists to woo. Society is PREGNANT with mythos from other levels apart from the political: religious, social, cultural, psychological, philosophical, esoteric, etc. And of course art is NOT restricted to the destruction of mythos alone. Neither should it be taken that art must always be dead serious. The issue is range, or lack thereof, and relevance.

Is it not the case, then, that in the absence of creative explorations of matters close to our cultural heart, and near to our national cake, society has turned to the internet for pertinence and to the Nigerian artist for flippancy? Have we not CEASED to look to upcoming movies and songs with hopes for BOTH enjoyment and poignance? Do we not instead rely on the next REAL LIFE CALAMITY courtesy of YouTube, an accidental film maker and a well charged phone? Yet if this is so, can one really, really blame the Nigerian artist? Really? Because if you think about it, the roundness of a woman’s buttocks and the trauma of being used like a roll-on are not going to sing about themselves, are they?

Ps: it is important to note that there are lots of talented artists out there who stray from the worn out norms to give birth to art pieces as rich as they are diverse. To these, one can only say, thank you so much.

Note: the opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. Posting such articles on A.R.T’s site does not infer endorsements.

Vcity Media

Our friends at Victoria Holdings Media are looking for creative minds to work with. It just may be something that catches your fancy. Check it out:

VictoriaH Media

VictoriaH Media is a social platform that connects continents. We share news on events and creative works from different parts of the world. We invite you to be a part of our multicultural website.

Our aim is to create a social platform for the world to share information from a range of perspectives to encourage varied exploration and promotion of culture.

We are looking for interns, content providers and talented guest contributors who are passionate about culture, literature, fashion, entertainment, travel, food, and lifestyle. Entries from all continents are welcome.

There’s a place for everyone… Whether you are a poet, playwright, gymnast or just a passionate writer. Send us your work and we’ll put it in the right category.

Here are a few suggestions

Culture: cultural awareness from different parts of the world. This covers cultural practices, festivals, history and dance, to name a few.

Entertainment: entertainment news is one of the catchiest subjects in the world. Let us know who the best artists are in your country and why. From time to time we will profile celebs from all over the world.

Food: food is loved by many. We’d love to know what you think about food, recipes and world food culture

Literature: prose, plays, love letters, odes. You can also share your art work for public interpretation… Or send in your own interpretation.

Fashion: Tell us about fashion in your country. Best shopping spots, dress code and fashion tip. We are also happy to profile upcoming fashion designers.

Beauty: Send us beauty tips, traditional products and their uses. Tell us what you think about the word beauty.

Photography: Tell your story with photography. Share fascinating photos from all over the world.

People: This section covers life and wellbeing. Travel tips, Relationships, legal advice, discussions and more.

Vcity TV: Make shows of all of the above and we’ll air it.

Please contact us if you’re interested in possible contribution or internship by sending your entries or CV to victoria_city@ymail.com

Website: http://www.victoriaholdingsinc.com
Twitter: @VictoriaH_Media
Email: victoria_city@ymail.com

Follow us on twitter @VictoriaH_media and like our page on Facebook.

King Sunny Ade

Nothing like a good old African classic! Enjoy folks.

World Music - the Music Journey

King Sunny Adé, born in 1946, is a popular nigerian performer of jùjú music. He had many comebacks in his career and is maybe one of the most influental african musicians ever! Listen to his great one called “Mo Ti Mo”:

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Calabar Carnival Photos

The photo experience of a communal celebration through the lens of photographer Paul Gimba

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When African drums boom we can’t help but move. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Can you move like Africans move? (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Carnival in Calabar or carnival on Mars. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Pride of Benin

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Little African angels. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Wickedly winding waists. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

Black, white and spectacular. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

Black, white and spectacular. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Carnival is… colour. Colour. Colour. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Alice would feel right at home in Calabar Wonderland. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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The blazing petals of celebration. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Madame of the dance. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Dance, lady! Dance! (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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Gongs of glory (Photo by Paul Gimba)

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An experience capped off with spectacle. (Photo by Paul Gimba)

J-Town, Nigeria, Presents – a New Age Hip Hop Movement

Microphone Throw Pillow

Microphone Throw Pillow (Photo credit: Five Wun O Clothing)

 

Check out this captivating article about a hip hop movement that has roots Jos city “J-town”, Plateau state. The ‘creativity capital’ of Nigeria.

 

“In Nigeria, battling the system one rap at a time”
http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/nigeria-battling-system-one-rap-a-time

 

The article by Kingsley Madueke on Radio Netherlands Worldwide Africa (RNW) covers the Critique Entertainment crew and their music movement, the heart of which beats (pun intended) at the Basement studios in Kufang, Jos. The article features respected rapper/spoken word artist Pizzo da lyrical Praxis and ace producer Tommy Shields of illtouch records.

 

Neo-traditional African Architecture at NAFEST 2012 (interiors)

To wrap up 2012 we have delightful pictures of modern design traditional African architecture as displayed at the 2012 National Festival (NAFEST) in Nigeria. All photos taken by Africa Ukoh.

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Akwa Ibom state

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Akwa Ibom state

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Rivers state

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Osun state

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Osun state

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Osun state

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Niger state

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Kano state

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Kano state

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Kano state

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Kano state

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Nasarrawa state

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Nasarrawa state