Archives for category: INTERVIEWS

Inspiring writer Bura Bari Nwilo is our guest today and it is a real pleasure.

Like the late African hero Ken Saro Wiwa, he hails from Ogoni land- a paradise in Nigeria turned to a bed of conflict centered on oil, and as you read on; Bura reveals to us from his Port-harcourt base what this means to him.

His contagious humor and satiric sense has earned him even more fans on social media, and frankly speaking he brings joy to many with his wise cracks, much needed in beautiful and chaotic Nigeria.

Here’s the cover of his new book, A Tiny Place Called Happiness.

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Now we invade the man in question, a little bit.

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AFRIKAJUMP- Welcome Bura and thank you for talking with us. I’m curious to know which African writers have influenced you the most, and how?

BURA- In terms of simple storytelling, Achebe would take the honour and of course it is basically by reading his works. In terms of experimenting and taking unconventional approaches, Dambudzo (Dambudzo Marechera) would be the man. I have read the House of Hunger and some of his works published posthumously. I love Ms Adichie too. She works magic with intricate sentences and details.

AFRIKAJUMP- Like the great late Ken Saro-Wiwa, you are from Ogoni land. How does the past and present history of your ancestral home affect you as a person and as a writer?

BURA- Currently, violence among the young people give me sleepless nights and sometimes I want to create fiction but the thought of my mother in the village give me worries. The despoliation of the land and our insistence on government to take responsibilities are factors that spur any creative person.

AFRIKAJUMP- And as a writer?

BURA- I always feel that writers have a way of representing their cultures in their works. Mine is under-represented. See what Junot Diaz does with Dominican Republic. The fine memories I have of Ogoni and the people, of love and late night play in the sand, if I don’t capture them fictionally, I doubt if anyone would.

Ken Saro-Wiwa is a pathfinder when it comes to stories from this part of the world and I appreciate his styles and courage to tell it.

AFRIKAJUMP- If you were appointed by government as part of a team to support Literary Arts in Nigeria what top 3 remedies would you prescribe?

BURA BARI- We would give adequate support to indigenous publishing houses and create reading centres across the country. This would help to reunite book readers again. When you visit some of the libraries, either the rooms meant for literary discussions have been turned into shops or made into stores. We will bring it back. We’d set up reading contests so that young people would know that reading is cool too.

AFRIKAJUMP- You have a funny bone. Your book; Diary of a bloody retard is proof; and there’s that letter you wrote to Nigerian pop star Dbanj some years ago. Of course we cannot exclude your social media updates. Many Nigerians use humor as a survival mechanism. Is this your case too? Are you going to take your comic to perhaps the movies, and more?

BURA- Yeah. It is in my book on relationship – Diary of a Stupid Boyfriend and of course the recent book of short stories – A Tiny Place Called Happiness. Humor is one way to survive around here. It could be too dark and to see the lighter side of the things around here keeps life in us.

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 AFRIKAJUMP- Any past, present or future project(s) you want us to know about?

BURA- I am still promoting A Tiny Place Called Happiness. I may be working on a book of stories for young children. I have been researching that for a while. It is still developing. And yes, I am looking at going back to school, get a degree in African Studies and write some more.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you try to describe your city in one word? Okay two words max.

BURA- Chaotically beautiful.

 

CONNECT MORE WITH HIM HERE

www.themetroreview.com

rottenbiro.blogspot.com

In this present day Africa where most things that are our trademark historically, economically, socially and culturally are getting eroded, it is refreshing to see people, especially young people that insist on being Africans- acknowledging the continents richness in spirituality, culture and other ways that pay homage to their rich roots.

Based in Eastern Nigeria, Precious Amarachi-Ugo a cultural enthusiast and explorer seeks to remind Africans of who we were, and what we can be. Her mission reads like the Ghanaian phrase SANKOFA which is a call for us to return to our roots. Amarachi-Ugo believes this is the path through which Africa and indeed Africans can be free again, in body, mind and spirit. We do too, and also love her love for mystery.

AFRIKAJUMP asked her questions about her life and great mission.
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AFRIKAJUMP-Thanks so much for giving some of your precious time, Precious. It is a real pleasure. Can you tell us when you realized your love for travel and exploring?

PRECIOUS-I realized the love for traveling at a very tender age. Mostly from my dad, I grew up with my dad; always traveling during the weekends, going to the borders of Benin and Nigeria to buy shoes that he sold in different places like the Ministry of works and sorts. They said I took after my dad in everything because as young as 10/11 years old, my parents were comfortable putting me in a bus whenever I’m going for a holiday and giving the driver a number to call when we alight. They knew I enjoyed it and I was smart enough to be safe.

AFRIKAJUMP-Yes we don’t need a soothsayer to make us see your bravery. Congrats. What does culture mean to you?

PRECIOUS-Culture is everything to me and also I will say I’m just an old soul. It became my own way of life, even when I barely knew what I was doing I’ve always been attracted to culture. I came from a poor staunch Christian home so anything with any cultural attributes was always frowned at and automatically labeled evil-one of the disadvantages we suffer from religion/colonization. To me however culture will always be that way of living; the way our ancestors lived, the way they flourished just with exactly what we have around us.

AFRIKAJUMP-Preach sister.  Tell us about your project Myafurika please.

PRECIOUS-Myafurika is a huge project that is going to affect almost every aspect of reawakening in Africa as a whole. Myafurika focuses on showcasing the beauty and wonders of Africa. We travel to those places in Africa with historical heritages, rich in traditions and nature. Places that hold histories of Africa that most Africans don’t know ever happened. We go there, get pictures, videos then write about them for the world to see that Africa is not about dark people living in the dark; to show the world that Africa is beyond beautiful and to assure and teach our people that we can be greater and dependent by ourselves. We will also be introducing fashion very soon that we will make possible with our hand woven materials of course made here from start to finish.

AFRIKAJUMP-Sounds great, Good luck. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered on your adventures?

PRECIOUS-Finance. It has been a very big issue because most people that would have been able to finance are dragging back because they don’t agree with our stance, saying it’s against their religion. Some don’t just see the importance of the reawakening because they are comfortable in not knowing and don’t want to know.
Then there is the issue of bad roads. We do most of our traveling by road and most of our roads are death traps thus making some trips fearful ones.

AFRIKAJUMP-Many Nigerians your age mostly practice religions that were imposed on Africans but you hold your ancestral beliefs close to your heart. What is the motivation?

PRECIOUS-Like I said before,I’m an old soul,its within me. Even with the fact of being born into  a staunch Christian home,religion never made sense to me. My grandmother played a big part in motivating me, around the short period I stayed with her,in the evenings when we sit in the veranda, and I ask her questions about religion she always ended up with a line I never forget. She will say to me ‘My dear daughter, always keep your heart clean and pure and always , have good intentions towards your fellow humans cause in anybody religion is within themselves’.

AFRIKAJUMP- Wise words. What do you propose to encourage religious tolerance in Nigeria, particularly those of our native belief systems?

PRECIOUS-Whenever the discussions on that tolerance is raised, I always use the saying “Live and let live” we live in a country that supports freedom of religion and that wasn’t categorized on some and some are left. So if some religion or Christians and/or Muslims are against native believers,what makes them different from what they preach about which is “Love”? So I think individuals should learn to understand that people’s way of worship doesn’t change anything from who they are, before any religion we were first of all  Humans. And no amount of religion is going change that.

AFRIKAJUMP- Preach. What is your dream destination?

PRECIOUS-South Africa,Greece

AFRIKAJUMP-Can you describe your city in one word?

PRECIOUS-Beautiful
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CHECK PRECIOUS’ WEBSITE HERE

http://myafurika.com/

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/MyAfurika/

 

Nigeria is home to many prolific story tellers, always has been. It is evident in movies; music; writers and especially vivid in its theater. 60s and 70s Nigeria saw a boom in drama and stage performances with human proponents like Hubert Ogunde, Baba Sala, Eddie Ugbomah, Ken Saro Wiwa and many other lesser known but well loved thespians that impacted their immediate communities and cities.

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AFRIKAJUMP is happy to have here Temitope Omobolanle Haastrup-Atitebi, a gifted actor often sighted in quality theatrical productions in Nigeria. She was part of the popular SARO-The Musical; which had a cast of over one hundred artists, and has also played Funmilayo Kuti, activist and mother of legendary musician Fela Kuti. She continues to represent depth and detail in her field. The entrepreneur and charity organizer took time of her busy life to answer some questions about life and work.

Here goes.

AFRIKAJUMP- It is a real pleasure to have you on, sister. Thank you for giving us some of your time. How do you juggle being a theater artist and entrepreneur?

OMOBOLANLE-I have realized that I am blessed being a Theater artiste because theater is really encompassing. It prepares and trains you for the persistence and doggedness one needs in any area of life really. Fortunately, what I do as an entrepreneur is in the art; an extension of theater. I trained in acting, costume, make-up, stage management, theater management, directing and production management.

All these skills and knowledge come to play whenever I need them either as an Event manager or as a fashion and craft vendor. Truth be told I don’t even see it as work, because every event is a production that needs all these skills to become a success.
It was actually the theater that inspired my business and provided a platform for me to grow, needless to say most of my clients are in the industry and they give me a lot of referrals as well. That’s why I call myself a Theater-preneur.

AFRIKAJUMP- How did your journey into theater and performance start; and was your family supportive of your decision to study theater at the university?

OMOBOLANLE-I have always been in love with performing arts. I had been singing, writing, acting and dancing as part of school/extra curriculum activities. However I started becoming aware of the special gifts and passion I have for performing arts after secondary school while waiting to get into the University.
Sometime in 1995, I saw a notice board with an invitation to become an actress. I remember walking into the building, registering and being very excited; that was the beginning. Afterwards I went to the training venue somewhere off Yaba road and there I met Lancelot Odua Imasuen.
The training school was called Jovies. However the major challenge was convincing my family that I wanted to study Theater.

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They felt that I was confused and didn’t know what I wanted at the time. Studying theater was a waste of my intelligence as far as they were concerned. I must confess I was confused about a lot of things I wanted in life then but being a performer was not one of them. Theater has been the only constant thing in my life, something I never struggle to do.‎ I fought my way through the opposition from my family and even from within me; Theater won.

AFRIKAJUMP- Beautiful. Congrats. What was your first role you got a cheque for and what was the experience like?

OMOBOLANLE-I honestly can’t remember getting a pay cheque but am sure I did. The experience was much more than a cheque for me at the time. Just being able to perform, being acknowledged as an artiste trumps a million dollar cheque.

The play was OBASEKI produced and directed  by Don Pedro Obaseki  with a star-studded cast of Richard Mofe-Damijo, Norbert Young,Stella Damasus, Henry Ese, Toyin Oshinaike,Kabat Esosa-Egbon, Eliel Otote,Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen and a host of dancers and singers. Everything I know in the arts, j first learnt from these people. I went from being a singer in the Orchestra to becoming an actor and later to be declared best dancer by Don P! (Story for another day).

Later went on to work with Lancelot’s production company as a secretary and was the production secretary as well as an actor in his first films YEAR 2000 and YESTERDAY. I also did my first TV series called laugh patterns in 2002/2003.

AFRIKAJUMP- Lovely, I remember Laugh Patterns. And your fashion ventures, what inspired it?

OMOBOLANLE- I literally just found myself in fashion it wasn’t planned at all. I wanted to make souvenirs and gift items that are unique. Again the arts inspired me; I started looking at using materials that speaks of my cultural background that can appeal to the world. It just took off from making flip-flops to bangles and earrings to tote bags to hair accessories to t-shirts and then dresses and then to everything I can. I am also a very fashionable person so it became a translation of my lifestyle into work. Now I do costumes for productions, my latest jobs were AFFRIF the Christmas play by Harvesters Christian Church in 2016.

AFRIKAJUMP- You have also worked in theater productions which heavily incorporate music, like Saro, and you also played Fela’s mother, how has your exposure with different aspects to art affected you as an actor?

OMOBOLANLE- When I started out, there was excuse for not being able to sing, dance and act- it’s a must. There’s absolutely no doubt that I got the best training  from the best hands in the industry and what that has afforded me is that I can be in any kind of theater production in any capacity, and I always give much more than I have been called for. I contribute positively to every aspect of the production that I possibly can. Playing Fela’s mother Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a great honor and being part of Nigerian’s first commercially acclaimed musical was a dream come through which I was well equipped for.

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AFRIKAJUMP- What would you say of the reception by people in Nigeria about this important branch of art-theater?

OMOBOLANLE-Theater is life; it’s everything. Africans, Nigerians love telling stories, love spectacle; love music and dance and this is what theater is about unfortunately there was a lull, somewhere somehow we traded our essence for shadow. The craze of westernization and all its accompaniment almost killed theater but we are going back to embracing who we are and developing those things that makes us unique as a people. Nigerians are beginning to look for alternative forms of entertainment and theater is providing that especially because it’s not limited; there’s drama, music and dance and now even fashion. The theater is also very interactive and a great place to network.

AFRIKAJUMP- What has been your most challenging role so far?

OMOBOLANLE-My most challenging role was playing Iya Ibeji in Femi Osofisan’s Twingle Twangle a Twanny Tayle in 2003 as directed by Dr Sola Fosudo. It was my first lead role as an actor. I had to show a lot of emotions; one minute I am sad another I am angry or throwing tantrums….I had to manage my voice and be on point. I tried though because I won the best actress of the year at ATAS LASU 2003 for that role.

AFRIKAJUMP- Congrats girl. What would a dream role be, in your opinion?

OMOBOLANLE-Playing Sister Clarence in Sisters Act.

AFRIKAJUMP- What do you think upcoming theater enthusiasts need to know basically?

OMOBOLANLE-Theater is hard work with a lot of passion. Talent alone cannot take you far you must invest in developing yourself all the time. You must constantly reinvent.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one word?

OMOBOLANLE-Inspiring.

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On this year’s World Read Aloud Day, it is a real pleasure to have Nigerian Author, Editor and children’s book writer Ayo Olofintuade as our guest. Ayo became more visible on Nigeria’s literary scene after her book ENO’S STORY published in 2010 earned her a Nigeria Prize for Literature nomination.

She is more interesting because she isn’t only about writing books, but wants people; particularly Nigerians; to read books. To actualize this challenge she founded LAIPO Mobile Library which has engaged hundreds of Nigerian children in reading and other literary activities.

We are also inspired by her human rights activism.

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We caught up with Ayo at her Ibadan base and had a good chat, after which she graciously read a passage from her heartwarming new work KING OF THE HEAP, in celebration of 2017’s World Read Aloud Day. Enjoy.

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AFRIKAJUMP- Thanks for sharing your time with us Ayo. You were our top choice on the blog today also because of your spirited efforts in the area of literacy with Nigerian children. Why are you so involved?

AYO- I grew up reading, so when I discovered that a lot of children do not have access to libraries or good books I decided to do something about it.

AFRIKAJUMP- Congrats. We are excited about your new book “King of the heap”. What inspired it?

AYO- One of the things I discovered while running the mobile library project in public and lower income private schools is that the children enjoy books with characters they are familiar with. King of the heap was written for the children I teach. They are the children you see on the streets after school hours, during holidays and on weekends, selling things by the roadside. These are my heroes because they’re determined to make a life for themselves in spite of all the odds stacked against them.

AFRIKAJUMP- We hear the book isn’t going to be widely distributed, but will feature in some select libraries- some consolation. Why is this so?

AYO- I applied for a business grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I had such grand plans but things didn’t work out the way I’d envisaged them, because of the economy and sheer incompetence of the people I worked with. Instead of completely losing out I made the decision to keep the circulation low while I work on other business models that can work in the situationship called Nigeria.

AFRIKAJUMP- Why have you chosen to write for children?

AYO- I am that eternal child that still watches cartoons and reads comics.

AFRIKAJUMP- What was your favorite book as a child?

AYO- My Father’s Daughter by Mabel Segun, basically because it features a black, female character who went on the same adventure as boys.

AFRIKAJUMP- Who’s your favourite Author now? You only get to choose one… hehehe evil, I know.

AYO- You are Evil. But I’m presently enamoured with Yaa Gyasi. Her book ‘Homegoing’ provided a much needed insight into the slavery period in Africa, particularly what happened in the Gold Coast.

AFRIKAJUMP- On this year’s World Read Aloud day, how do you think the reading culture of your country can be improved?

AYO- The only way is the provision of quality education that makes reading (and I’m not talking about textbooks here) its chief concern.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one word?

AYO- Sarcastic.

Gifted poet and writer Olajumoke Verissimo doesn’t need much introduction. Her first book I Am Memory successfully took on a big challenge very few attempt-History; the painful part of Nigeria’s history. Jumoke is an all round literary head; having studied English literature at the university and furthering her academics in African studies; the artist has worked extensively with some leading Newspaper and media houses in Nigeria as an Editor and Copywriter.

A recipient of more than a few awards in her career, Verissimo has been hailed as one of those who will change the face of Nigeria’s literature; and as fans of her work, we see it already happening.

AFRIKAJUMP asked her some questions about life; work and aspirations.

As we say in Brazil, Vamoonezza! It means; let’s go!

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AFRIKAJUMP- Olajumoke I consider you blessed and lucky; many artists have had to print books and works of art only to practically urge people to buy so they can survive, but your works get published, calmly and not in a do or die way, it seems. Your endeavors as an editor and writer in the print and web media also serves as a channel to perform your artistry. Which would you say is more enjoyable: Your career as a Poet or that of a literature/media person?

OLAJUMOKE-  Thank you. Your words are very kind. As artists, we are both blessed and lucky. Yet, the idea of success—which I believe your question tries to address—is rather subjective. You have to understand that the internet and the media can sometimes be overwhelmingly fictitious in defining the success of an artist. This is why the true realities of an artist are usually distorted in the media—like, good reviews of a book does not equal good sales.

In all, I’m eternally grateful for many things, even the mistakes I make. Nothing is a do or die for me. There’s so much to give and the length of life might not be enough for it, so why choose death when you can just do (imagine) life? Be immortal.

For most enjoyed career….let’s just say, I make efforts to enjoy what I do. Life is too short. As long as I can write, I’d be fine—I’d suffer my emotions, and be human. That’s fulfillment.

AFRIKAJUMP- What one major challenge did you have to tackle in your art to get to where you are now and how did you do it? Can you share?

OLAJUMOKE- Er…how do I answer this question?

I was lucky with my first book, I Am Memory. Yet, when I look back, there was just me struggling to stay afloat, fighting to stay sane. It’s been all small steps moving forward, and those small steps are still in motion. There’s no big story of being picked from somewhere and dropped somewhere—sorry. I’m not a movie star or a rock star, I’m a writer. Every day comes with a promise to challenge.

The truth is that we always try to put a structure to this thing, but a writer’s journey is not defined by plans in that sense. You can plan to finish a book in a year and it runs into years. You may hope to get a publisher in one-year and you don’t get one in ten. The structures in place only ask you to keep working – that is a challenge. You could become depressed wondering when and where you’d fit into a space in the mythical skies where all birds have enough space to fly. Until, your work is published and read, you are just trying everything. You’re sending out submissions, attending events, learning and forming opinions….this never ends. It’s cyclical.

You’re trying to keep your soul from wandering and it is the writing that captures it. You send it out, it finds a home. It gets a name. You hone the craft—you keep honing the craft. The challenge is cyclical.  In all of this, you keep sane by understanding yourself above the noise: you remember how we dream differently, and you try to keep be.

In another dimension, I think we push our struggles differently as writers, as artists, so let’s just say I’m pushing mine with as much passion and self-will as I can power. I don’t know how you arrived at your condition, but there’s goodwill in it and that is promise.

Remember also, that this narrative is simply a writer outside life’s happenings in Nigeria. A writer struggling to put food on the table, trying to subsist.

AFRIKAJUMP- Deep. You are a picture of calm and innocence until one starts to read your works that address the heavier stuff in our society, Corruption, Imperialism, our history. Your bravery and fierceness in I Am Memory which you published in 2008 addressed topics many would rather wish away. Why did you take on this challenge?

OLAJUMOKE- It’s interesting that it all turned out the way it did. Bravery is a kind word. You are an artist, and you know we do not choose depression or restlessness to overtake our calm, yet anytime one visits one’s core values, which spurred one to be an artist, one settles for sanity, for calm, one writes the trouble—what you described as ‘the heavy stuff.’

Considering that I wrote I am memory under the influence of ongoing debates on media reports at the time—largely from members of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) at the Ladipo Labinjo close, Surulere, Lagos, and there was the host of artists at Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA).  After the monthly meetings, it was not unusual to see the older members debate the state of the nation at different hangouts in Lagos. Perhaps, I was lucky to start attending literary and art events where fierce debates were the norm. Perhaps; talking politics with my dad made me question the society even more. It could also be that I was an angry teenager and then young adult who was alarmed at how the protective hold of my parents did not prepare me for the horrors on the street. Perhaps all of this influenced the tangent of the themes. I gave the first manuscript to a poet, Akeem Lasisi when I was about 21, or there about. I started the book as a commentary on reparations because of my ancestry which finds root in the transatlantic slavery. I wanted to understand what MKO Abiola, who was passionate about the cause was talking about. I did some research and it turned out differently.  I showed it to the Master Poet, Odia Ofeimun and he made suggestions. You must as well understand, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was responding to the environment, innocently.

AFRIKAJUMP- Brilliant. What inspired your second book, Birth of Illusion?

I was writing this other book and then I got stuck. So, I started to put together a poem to capture the zeitgeist of private and public turbulence in the world in the last decade. Old poems got a slot and new poems found a place as well.

AFRIKAJUMP- I love when that happens. You know, like the saying one door closes another opens. Now say you are appointed by the government to help salvage Nigeria’s literary sector what three things would you primarily or immediately address? 

OAJUMOKE- There’s no point making a list – the government should focus on education. Beyond literacy, which is not even available, we need a country of educated minds. A country with a history; A country where the parts can question the whole. Presently, everything in the country reeks of failure – usually, people suffer ‘curse of knowledge’ ours is a ‘curse of ignorance’.  We are so ignorant of our illiterate state, we do not realise we have fallen down the continental ladder as a country. We’re going about as largest black nation. Please, if we have educated minds, the literary sector would thrive. We would create structures that won’t be subsumed under political thuggery and social despondency.

AFRIKAJUMP- Nothing like inept public office holders to bring the fire out of a patriot. Which author(s) are you currently reading, if any?

OLAJUMOKE- Ibrahim Al-Koni Scarecrow, Claudia Rakine Citizen, Sarah Manyinka Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, Odia Ofeimun, A Boiling Caracas, and Ryan Holiday Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.

AFRIKAJUMP- What book by another writer did you wish you wrote?

OLAJUMOKE- This one is hard o. I’ll pick any of Toni Morrison’s books; Okay, I’ll stick with Sula.

AFRIKAJUMP- Your top 3 authors. This is a tough one, I know.

OLAJUMOKE- I’ve decided I won’t do this again. It is torture. If you insist, the current authors on my reading list. Once I’m done, the next authors I’m reading. If, you however, think you should really, really know. Whenever death visits, the last three on my lips could be taken as the final word.

AFRIKAJUMP- HAHAHAHAHA Well played. Any projects in the works you want us to know about?

OLAJUMOKE- Yes, but I’m superstitious.

AFRIKAJUMP- HAHAHAHA you are amazing Jumoke, thank you. Lastly, can you describe your city in one word?

OLAJUMOKE- Fierce!

Keep up with the writer here- https://twitter.com/awapointe

You can get her new book on the link below

https://www.amazon.com/I-am-memory-Jumoke-Verissimo/dp/9780880658

Photo by Seye Kehinde.

Unpredictable rapper from Ghana, Kay-Ara is back with more vim, more energy as they say in the country also known as Gold coast. The video of his recent single THE ACCRA CITY HUSTLE made by Percy Appiah AKA Fotombo and shot in Accra’s colorful and earthy streets is a live and unpretentious interpretation of the song, a great fit to this bossy track wherein Kay-Ara sounds quite mean, to say the truth.

We love it!

Kay-Ara’s tone in this tune is winning more fans to the Neospiritual- to use his terminology, and from his musical history or Rap-sheet if I may say, he deserves this long due acknowledgement.

AFRIKAJUMP hit him up in his Koforidua base to catch some of his current vibes in 7 questions.

Enjoy.

AFRIKAJUMP- Kay-Ara, etis3n?

KAY-ARA: Me hu y3, I’m good, fine.

AFRIKAJUMP- From your social media in the past few years you seemed to be taking time off active music to concentrate on other goals and now you turn up in this hot video to a rude track, lashing people and what not, are you here for good this time and what have you been up to?

KAY-ARA: In 2013, I made the unfortunate decision of quitting music (for good, my thought at that time). And because of that I sort of cut off ties from social media, social circles and Accra in totality. However, in the last quarter of 2015 after suffering a broken heart I had an epiphany to return to this music business. I’ve been writing since 2015, still doing that so I guess I’m back for good. I’ve been recording a lot of songs. In the latter part of 2016 I recorded 30 song in 2 weeks. I also shot three videos the first of which is currently out.

AFRIKAJUMP- Holy smokes. I am sorry for your heart break but happy it brought you back to your senses. Congrats; for the videos too. What inspired THE ACCRA CITY HUSTLE?

KAY-ARA: Necessity. I’ve hated Accra since 2012 because I believe Accra broke my heart. For about 3 years I hated Accra and didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I therefore clung onto Koftown (Koforidua) where I invested most of my time in academic pursuit, politics and entrepreneurship. However, as it was to me, Koforidua lost the lustre for me and I found myself gravitating towards Accra more and more. It’s funny how around the same time I heard Omar Sterling’s Ibiza beat and I decided to write an ode to the city that causes me pain and joy. I decided to accept to be the big fish in the big city and grind till I get it. After recording that song I called Fotombo up so that we shoot in the streets of Accra to inform everybody that I am back.

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AFRIKAJUMP- We are proud of you Kay-Ara; how do you feel about the reception of the project?

KAY-ARA: I’m excited! I mean I knew the kind of emotion I wanted to evoke from my audience and so that’s how we shot the video. And my objective for the video was accomplished. Can you imagine Hammer of the Last Two actually hit me up?! Me??? *screams and swoons*

AFRIKAJUMP- Yes we heard; cool one chale. What has been some of your challenges as an artist in your society?

KAY-ARA: Inadequate finance. Non-acceptance of new ideas with respect to the society, Prejudice and stereotypes. Classism (very serious issue in the music business), Lack of investors for initiatives. Poor mechanisms that do not work in favour of artiste. Pull him down mentality.

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AFRIKAJUMP- I feel you bro. Do you want to share something with us you feel we should know?

KAY-ARA: Tell the kids not to choose this career path. Also, Accra is amazing because of new movements springing out. Koforidua is ripe for investment. I am about to f**k s**t up!

AFRIKAJUMP- Damn, that first line… I can’t say I don’t understand brother. Can you describe your city in one word? Or two.

KAY-ARA: Alive!

Fam, you read the man, he’s back and for good this time. Peep the new track and video below; and show him love by linking to his internet pages. Peace

 

 

https://www.instagram.com/kayunderscoreara/

https://soundcloud.com/kay_ara

In keeping to one of our major themes of showing the best of Africa, and the rest of the world, we caught up with an artist on the rise, from Ghana’s Eastern Region.

Accra based POETRA ASANTEWA is a strong example of human and artistic metamorphosis. She has come a long way from the shy girl who was hesitant to take the microphone at an event we attended at Nubuke foundation in Ghana almost 7 years ago, to a fully fledged poet; writer; singer and more.

Poetra is evolving into an artist whose endeavors cannot be tamed. Her lyrics are unafraid; unbridled; passionate and yes, explicit – this lady owns her womanhood and sexuality hundred percent, a necessity for the progress of women, and women artists in Africa and elsewhere.

We are also proud of her entrepreneurial spirit. Her fashion label, ALIKOTO Clothing produces authentic and exciting Ghanaian fashion that matches all kinds of personalities and pockets. When Ama Asantewa Diaka isn’t being Poetra; the fashion designer and singer, you can catch her doing geeky tech stuff with computers. AFRIKAJUMP caught up with her to ask about some of her plans in 2017 and her wonderful work, in 7 questions. Enjoy.

AFRIKAJUMP- When did you realize you could make magic with words?

POETRA- I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember; my earliest memory of writing was when I was in class 4 and my classmates gave me empty exercise books to fill it with short stories. I always thought it was ordinary, I never thought my writing was a big deal until I started getting huge feedback after sharing my work on social media. So I guess, that was the moment of self-actualization; that was when I realized I could make magic with words

AFRIKAJUMP- In your piece with Akan, ‘Vote for me’ you were very vocal about corrupt Politicians in your society. In a world where many feel it is safer to keep quiet, why is it important to you to use your art for activism, and in speaking against societal ills?

POETRA- All we have is art, to be very honest.  Art distills, art reveals, art hides in plain sight when needed, art tells the truth. And as an artist I am obliged to be honest with my art, and for my art to be relevant to my community. I cannot imagine creating work that does not directly or indirectly affect my community. There is nothing safe about being silent or turning a blind eye on issues.

 AFRIKAJUMP- What challenges in your work made/make you throw your hands in the air, in a rage? And how do you deal with it?

POETRA- In Ghana, I don’t have the luxury to be just an artist. I have to be artist, promoter, organizer, sponsor, event coordinator – I have to be it all. And it is frustrating having to be all these things in order to get your art out there. But the desire to just create is an urge that never goes away. And that keeps me going.

AFRIKAJUMP- In 2015 you released your first spoken word EP ‘Motherfuckitude’ and it clearly announced you in your home country and beyond. What inspired it?

POETRA- Motherfuckitude is the result of coming from a place of struggle and emotional imbalance. It was a project to override my limitations, insecurities and ineptitude.

AFRIKAJUMP- You are a tech person who designs, edits, floats a fashion label amongst other interests, how has having several skills impacted your work as an artist?

POETRA- Having different skills means that each interest or skill seeps into the other. It means that my attention for detail is seen both in my writing and my designing; it also means that I struggle to juggle all these interests, but the struggle ultimately feeds into inspiration for more art.

AFRIKAJUMP- Any past, present or future project(s) you would like us to know about?

POETRA- Working on releasing a lot of new material this year, and working on my album!

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you try to describe your city in one word? Okay two words max.

POETRA- Lukewarm

 To get lost in the words and voice of this artist check her Soundcloud page. You can get updates, LIKE her Facebook page. ❤

https://www.facebook.com/PoetraAsantewa/