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Afrikajump celebrates with Nigeria’s first ever women Bob sled team which has qualified for the Winter Olympics. The trio of Seun Adigun (driver) and brakewomen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed all five of their required qualifying races to become the first African team, men or women, to qualify for the sport in the 2018 games that takes place in PyeongChang, South Korea. Yeah!

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photo from Bellanaija

For those who don’t know, these women were responsible for chasing after this huge feat independently. It is not a secret that Nigeria’s sport federation is mostly focused on soccer- and we use the word ‘focused’ loosely because Nigeria’s football has been plagued with in house politics and corruption, which has been hugely detrimental to the sport in the country.

The women funded and pursued this dream while juggling higher studies in medicine until their exploits built them a following of supporters like Nigerian British actor John Boyega.

At some point in their quest, they fashioned sleds from wood, to train and practice in their Houston Texas base. It paid off.

Their feat also made more people (like us ) aware that there is a Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria. We at Afrikajump can admit we had no idea. We became aware when the officials of the association suddenly started granting interviews commending the ladies. /side eye/.

We commend these outstanding women too and shall keep you posted on their future feats right here.

Congrats Africa!

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Today, November 10 in Nigeria’s history, specifically in 1995 left a lasting mark which still continues to shape and alter the destinies of millions, for bad. It left progressive Nigerians and Africans bereaved, and is a constant reminder of how terrible governments and sub par governance  have deprived Africa of some of her most illustrious children.

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Photo by Zina Saro Wiwa- Facebook.

Ken Saro Wiwa (10 October 1941 – 10 November 1995) for those who don’t know, was a Nigerian writer who also produced for Television.

He was a prominent environmental activist. His native home Ogoniland in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta region had been a hub for extracting crude oil since the 1950s- an action that consequently severely destroyed the environment.  

As president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Saro-Wiwa and his group often peacefully protested against these oil companies, (primarily SHELL). He wasn’t afraid of criticizing Nigeria’s government especially as it was obvious that they were in partnership with these foreign oil companies (that ruin and rape the land, leaving the people poorer and sick), and so were reluctant to enforce environmental regulations on these foreign bodies.

General Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s then dictator president couldn’t stand Saro’s guts and eventually had him murdered after falsely accusing him for things he did not do.

The execution shocked the world and provoked international outcry with some good things being withheld from Nigeria by the rest of the world, until Abacha (thankfully) died.

This post is a tribute to Ken Saro Wiwa who will live forever. 

Here’s one of the many ways he remains with us.

Brazilian musician Andre Sampaio  released his latest Album, Alagbe today, November 3rd 2017. Great things happen in November!

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The 13 track work is Andre’s second studio album and a testament of his creativity and in conjunction with his band Os Afromandinga. The versatility in culture  and music styles with deep homage to Africa and African spirituality embedded in the album is inspirational and uplifting. Alagbe is a sweet Africa and South America union and has all the ingredients of a modern Afro-Rock classic.

 Alagbe means the guardian of Candomblé‘s sacred music.  Candomblé is a an African spiritual belief system brought from Africa to Brazil by enslaved people from West Africa.

The production of Alagbe has heavyweights like Cris Scabello of Bixiga 70, Victor Rice and more, and featured musicians like Mauricio Fleury, Roberto Barreto from Baiana System, Poet Nelson Maca, Sekou Diarra from Burkina Faso, Lenna Bahule (Mozambique) and Nigerian singer Okwei Odili.

ANDRÉ 1Album Cover Art and visual identity is by Ricardo Magrão.

Alagbe is available on digital platforms, like here:

https://SMB.lnk.to/AlagbeAlbum

It is distributed by Planet Music Brazil / Sony Music Brasil.

 

Funk, Jazz, Afrobeat and Highlife musician and composer Segun Bucknor passed away yesterday, August 11. He was 71.

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The gifted instrumentalist and journalist added his quota to Nigeria’s bustling and rising music scene of the 60’s and 70’s with musical masterpieces like Love and affection, Dye Dye, You’re killing me, Adebo, Ayinde Ogo, Smoke and many other carefully crafted tunes.

He will be terribly missed. In the link below he plays his wicked funky tune- Love and affection. Sleep well sir.

AFRIKAJUMP had the real pleasure of sitting down with Nigerian rapper Teria Yarhere, more popularly known as M-Trill Teria. M-Trill has trilled audiences with hit songs that won him fans and awards until he changed directions to pursue other creative paths. He is back on the scene with his new musical work- ABOH. This word in Teria’s language from Delta state means CLAP.

M-trill talks about stuff he did while away from music, and more.

Further below is the premiere of the track and video on this page.

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AFRIKAJUMP M-trill, how does it feel to be back on the scene with your new work, Aboh?

M-TRILL I think relieved is the right word. I feel relieved to be back, music doesn’t allow you a life if you do not answer it. Every song is a reminder of what you can do, so I’m happy to be making and putting out music again.

AFRIKAJUMP What were some of the lessons you learned from your recent past time of absence from mainstream music?

M-TRILL Quite a number, more business lessons though because I started a media support company. I learnt a lot about customer service. Your client’s troubles automatically become yours. I was waking up at 4am to respond to client needs. I loved the experience. I learnt how to better manage people, I learnt more about myself and what drives me. I think what I learnt the most was balance. The art of walking the thin line and catering to all needs at the same time.

AFRIKAJUMP Congrats M-trill. Can you tell us a bit about your new song Aboh, and what inspired it?

M-TRILL Aboh was partly inspired by my very first single “Bounce” off my first album. I began that song with a phrase “where my clap at”…turned out to be very effective for performances as it was the ice breaker between the crowd and myself. I also always liked the way the churches in Warri clap and praise. The claps alone are melodious so I wanted to try and infuse all that into this song.

AFRIKAJUMP Clearly it’s working for you. Welldone. Is this single part of a coming album?

M-TRILL Yes, the album locally made should drop this year by God’s grace. There’s a lot of music I want to free myself off. So, yes we will be dropping the album this year.

AFRIKAJUMP The influence of your culture is evident in your new video. What does culture mean to you?

M-TRILL For me, it’s the balance. I really don’t rap in pidgin or any of the local languages so infusing our culture in the beats and visuals is my way of balancing it for my target audience. I needed to find a way to let people know where I am from and I didn’t want any misconceptions.

AFRIKAJUMP If you had the power to change three things in Nigeria’s music industry for good, what would they be?

M-TRILL Royalties. I would change the ways royalties are collected so more artistes can live off their art. 2. Better media platforms for performing arts…so more TV and radio shows that go beyond playing music videos and more music related content, educative and entertaining content. 3. Celebrate the diversity in music, most of the songs in the industry sound the same and that’s because we do not celebrate the diverse talents that abound, I would like to change that.

AFRIKAJUMP Thanks bro. Lastly, can you describe your city in just one word?

M-TRILL Port Harcourt is my city and that’s Home. PH is home to me.

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WATCH “ABOH ON YOUTUBE 

 

LISTEN TO “ABOH” ON SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/user-34074749/mtrillaboh

CONNECT WITH THE ARTIST

Twitter- @Mtrillteria

Instagram – @Mtrillteria

facebook – @mtrillteria

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.

Hey,

Are you studying Agriculture at the post-graduate level in an accredited higher Education Institution in Nigeria, or do you know someone who does?

There’s an opportunity to apply for the 2017 Short-Term Visiting Scholars Program at Michigan State University under the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project funded by the USAID Nigeria Mission.

Submit all application documents to FTFNAPP@msu.edu by 11:59PM (Nigerian Time) on 23 February 2017, to stand a chance.

More info via link below:
http://www.ifpri.org/publication/feed-future-nigeria-agricultural-policy-project

Good-luck, and please spread the word.