My recent radio shows

I promise this would be my last post tonight. I have other work I must get to now….

Here is a link to my work on Africauk Radio: I  work as a volunteer, so I am looking for adverts and to raise the profile of the station. If only just a little bit more.

So, have a listen and let me know what you think!

T for Tundun


Happy 1st Birthday Africauk Radio!

Photo Its been a year! Welldone  Junior, Debra and the fantastic team at AUK Radio. I am a recent addition to the team but you could not have made me feel more welcome.  What do I say? The pressure of finding nice things to say………to many more years of incisive  and ground breaking radio!

Lots of love,
All the presenters.

My new best friend: Naila Iversen

So, I had a link from this blog for about two weeks on my whats app before I finally opened it and read it. I am so glad I did.   Everything about Naila Iversen’s blog  spoke to me. Our stories may not be all the same, but I am a single mum.  I am. I am. I am. lol!  Naila’s openness, I must emulate. She deals with deep issues with wisdom that has to be divine. I love you Naila! Please don’t ever stop writing.

My Story

It taken me what nearly 3.6 years to reveal on Twitter that I am the proud mum of a very beautiful, clever nearly four years old girl. I have had issues owning that in public. I am loud about everything, but not that.  Thank fully,  I came out weeks ago. I remember this guy called me ( not really to chat me up, the purpose of his call,not exactly clear). He said: ‘you have a daughter’ and he kept quiet. I said ‘I do’. I suspected he wanted me to go on and on revealing how I ended up being single and with a child.  But that didnt happen. There is no story. It is what it is.

 I know the religious and cultural  rhetoric having a child out of wedlock and  blah blah blah. But, I have absolutely no regrets. I have been blessed with the most beautiful little girl ever. I am at peace with the world. God has been good to me.  In many ways.  I am not in that place of pain, hatred, disappointment blah blah blah  anymore. Who would not have been? But, that was then, this is now.

I have a super busy life which I love. Sometimes, I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  But, I am here!

 Is marriage everything? No! Its great to get married (two incomes are better than one), it is also great not to be married. I have friends miserable in their marriages. See, we all have issues.

When I am with Nigerian people in Nigerian churches,   I feel sometimes that I am judged because I am not married. I am not making this up though. I don’t hang out with married girls either! You know why don’t you?  I suppose living in England affords me the luxury of weeding out  and avoiding certain people and places,  I wonder how single, unmarried mums cope in Nigeria?  Needless to say, it is a daily battle fighting  cultural demons.

Naila’s openness about being a single mum liberates me in a beautiful sort of way. You can also read it even if you are not a single mum. Over 65,000 people have stopped  to read her articles.  Naila’s wisdom is much broader, it is about life and the every day things we encounter. Thank you, Naila.

Tobore Ovuorie's Shocking Investigation into Human Traffiking

I read the investigative report, probably hours after it was published on Premium Times.  Aside from being moved to tears, I was  disturbed. Very disturbed by the graphic details of beheading, whipping, pick pocketing, orgies, hunger, corruption and so on. It  felt like the worst dream come true.   A colleague of mine described his first thoughts as anger. Anger at the Nigerian establishment, anger at the cruelty meted out to these girls who voluntarily sign up for  prostitution, anger at the government for not doing more to protect lives. Just anger.

 In the morning, having made contact with the writer  on Twitter, Tobore and I started a conversation. What a lady! I am -to say it simply –  in awe of her courage and bravery. I respect the fact that she put her life on the line for this story. Many journalists from Nigeria would probably have collected money and disappeared. I dont know! It takes commitment  to follow a story such as this through. Tobore was inspired by the death of one of her close friends from HIV/AIDS.

Some people are doubting the veracity of her story, as far as I am concerned, she told the truth as she saw it. If the Nigerian Police, Military and the Presidency have not responded, it has nothing to do with the writer of the report. Their silence feeds into the Nigerian narrative. Or does it not? An insensitive government  clearly  small minded about issues such as this. Our politicians are more interested in   2015 elections than sincerely fighting the mafia behind  prostitution.

Most of the Senators in Abuja, Lagos and all across the country probably patronize prostitutes anyways.  It is an industry that favors  rich men. An industry that is lubricated by the needs of rich men: either for fetish organ distribution purposes or for sex.

 I find arguments on facebook asking  questions from Tobore insulting. If any one needs answers, let them  go underground and investigate it. Let them find their own answers. Funny, how it is men who have lists of silly questions yet unanswered.  The girl put her life on the line! What does she get in response? Cynicism from lazy, opinionated men who are probably partial to the industry itself!  Tobore has done her bit for humanity and her country.  I am doing mine, you do yours!

To say hello and welldone to Tobore on Twitter, here is her handle:

If you havent read her report, you can find it here:

Part 2
Operation Rescue in Benin

Interview with Tobore Ovuorie

Unpalatable Truths: an Editorial

Adieu Madiba!

This article was published about four weeks ago here:

Even though, we knew for months that Nelson Mandela was close to the end of his days, his death still came as a shock for most. His death is a vivid reminder to every politician and indeed all of us that the certainty of death awaits us.

I first heard about the death of Nelson Mandela (1918 -2013) the morning after the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma told the world press.  I was going through my tweets at the time and I remember being overwhelmed by grief. I sat down and for a moment and I cried. Briefly. The man never knew me, but I knew him. His autobiography ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ made such an impression on me when I first read it over a decade ago and it still does. I re-read the book time and time again when I need a sense of direction and co-ordination of purpose. 

President Barack Obama echoed similar sentiment when he disclosed that Nelson Mandela had been the inspiration behind his first activities as an organiser. The Independent puts it best when it writes that his “humanitarian legacy in the 20th century remains unrivalled”. His was a force that swept Africa and the world for good.

Nelson Mandela’s moral integrity is such that Africa and her leaders will never see again. He was a ‘hero of our time’ and ‘he no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages’. If he were Nigerian, perhaps, he would have held on to power or at least tried to hold on to power longer than his first term which ended in 1999. His moral mantle perhaps is his greatest gift to Africa and indeed, the world. His life and legacy have gone on to inspire generations.

For a long time to come, the eyes of the world will remain in South Africa questioning whether the country and its leaders lives to the ideal of the man Mandela. Jacob Zuma who was unrepentantly heckled by his own people at the memorial service could perhaps decide that it is not too late to re-align his interests to the needs of his people. Is there a message here for Nigeria’s elite politicians?

The news channels here in England showed nothing else in the first 48 hours. The British news machine perhaps would not have done that for any other African, but for Nelson Mandela, they were falling over themselves to provide the best coverage and visuals. When Margaret Thatcher died, some people celebrated. It was awkward. Nelson Mandela’s death of course cannot be compared with Thatcher’s. He stands in death with the greatest politicians of our time: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and so on. Clearly, no Nigerian presently living or dead commands the adulation and eulogy given to Nelson Mandela.  Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a great statesman, but he was not international with his politics.

I was glued to the radio listening to everything on offer.  To get a better sense of what the he meant to the British people, I bought some of the newspapers that had made his death their front-page news. The Sunhad a picture of Madiba in a freedom salute with the headline: ‘the Lion Sleeps Tonight’. The Guardianhad his picture on their front page and this: ‘ Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013. The towering figure of Africa’s struggle for freedom
and the first black leader of South Africa died last night aged 95. Our nation has lost its greatest son said Jacob Zuma, the country’s president’. 

The Independent had a picture of laughing Mandela and the words: ‘Former South African President Dies aged 95. World mourns Father of the Rainbow nation’, Barack Obama leads tributes: ‘Never discount the difference that one person can make’.

Perhaps, last week had been the best for Africans in the diaspora because for the first time, the Western media focussed on the life of a rather extraordinary man. A black man.  BBC three counties radio in their morning drive time show presented by Iain Lee, asked people to call with their fond memories of Mandela. Most people called in to say they remembered him from the Year 2000 when he came to Bedford to see the statue of Bishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid campaigner. The radio station found a woman who said she was a goddaughter of Nelson Mandela. It was moving.

But, there were a few callers who wondered why the world was celebrating a terrorist? A Nigerian man called in, with some echo in his back ground, he told off the scallywags who would dare call Mandela a terrorist. In typical Nigerian accent and fashion, he lauded the exemplary qualities of Mandela whilst decrying the quality of politicians on the African continent. He spoke for about 3.5 full minutes without much interruption and then he was let go. 

Ironically, on the same day, barely 12 hours after Mandela’s passing, a radio presenter on the same network was asking his listeners to call in if they were already fed up with the media exposure given to Mandela’s death. Of course, he got takers. Some people called in, said they were fed up with the media coverage and wondered what the big deal was. It was a low time for the BBC local radio in the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire region. In disgust, I switched stations.

With hindsight, we wonder who stole the show during the week of the burial. Was it Graca Machel (his widow), Winnie Mandela (his ex wife) or President Obama with the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Prime Minister David Cameron? Your guess is as good as mine. Nelson Mandela’s burial was befitting. The leaders were right to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela would be remembered for many reasons. Most notably, in his lifetime, he accomplished the dream of a post racial South Africa –the rainbow nation. For me, these words at his sentencing in 1964 remain perhaps my favourite: ‘“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and [with] equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”’

Adieu Madiba!

An Interview with Myne Whitman

Myne Whitman (Nkem Okotcha) is a writer of two best selling novels, blogger, social media consultant,  editor and publisher of ‘The Business of Writing’,  ‘Romance meets life’ and Naija Stories. She spoke with Tundun Adeyemo about her love  for writing.  She will be  Tundun Adeyemo’s guest this Saturday on  from 1730pm.
Hello, I'm Myne.
1.         For those who do not know you, please introduce yourself in a nutshell.  What part of Nigeria are you from? Your names does not sound remotely Nigerian. Did you grow up in Nigeria or the States? Where you educated in Nigeria or the States?

    I  was born Nkem Okotcha in Enugu, Nigeria. My parents are both from Asaba in Delta States and after growing up and going to school in Enugu, I lived in Asaba from my late teens till I moved to Abuja for my youth service. Myne Whitman is a form of translation of my name into English and is a registered pen name for my media work. Most of my education was in Nigeria until I left in 2006 for a masters degree which I obtained from Edinburgh University, Scotland.                          
    What is the story behind your love for writing?
I’ve always loved reading and writing, exploring one’s thoughts and engaging with others on their’s as well. I started writing in my early teens. I was struggling with the transition between primary and secondary school and not being a tomboy or spending a lot of time outdoors playing anymore. Writing about young girls having adventures and doing the things I missed doing helped me at this point.
  Your genre of writing is romantic fiction. Why have you chosen this? Or did it choose you?
I will say that I chose romantic fiction. I really started writing when romance became a big part of my life in my late teens, I wrote the dreams I had of healthy relationships between my heroines and the men of their dreams. I also noticed that it was a very popular genre, read and loved by a large swathe of people. I always preferred things that get to more people than less.
    Are there successful love stories from your website ‘Romance meets life’?  By this I mean, have you had feedback  from readers saying something they read on your website strengthened their relationship or moved them on in life?
Oh yes, I get so many emails and some of them are published on the site, some people also leave comments to that effect.
     Romantic fiction writers are infatuated with the concept of love  and its dynamics. What would you say to that? Are you in love with love perhaps?
I definitely am, lol. Love is such an inspiration; it powers most everything we do as human beings. The love we have for family, our children, friends, other people, the romantic love that drives a lot of us, it’s unquantifiable. I am a Christian and my foundational thinking is based on that. Going by the bible, God is love, and the commandments for practical Christian living has been distilled to two ethics, love God and love your fellow man as you love yourself. I am definitely in love with love.
  Where does the passion  and inspiration come from to maintain  your websites? Writing does take a lot of time, what else do you do when you are not writing  or on the internet?
My passion for writing comes from the innate need to share, to reach out, to connect. The websites are now business ventures and the money I make from them also serves as a reward for the time, effort and energy invested in them. Apart from writing, I volunteer where I can, try to have fun where I live or travel, and also run my home.
    Many people struggle to make a living from their writing, is this your story?  If you could choose between what you do now and another career, what else would you love to do?
My Master’s degree is in Public Health Research, if I could do that full time, I would, and then write in my spare time.
   You are a wife, author, business consultant how do you keep it all together?
It’s all down to planning, and time management. I am still figuring it out. I know it helps that I don’t have little ones yet so I’m trying to maximize the time I have now because I know children take up a large chunk of your time.
     Naijastories since its inception in 2010 has become very popular, do you find that Nigerian fiction on the whole has improved ? Is there one author that has been discovered for a wider audience as a result of your work on Naija stories.
I believe Nigerian fiction has improved, I am happy to see so many people working in this area. Naija Stories carries out online workshops, and gives instant feedback to writers. Writers like Chimamanda Adichie, Helon Habila, Chika Unigwe, Unoma Azuah, do workshops off line, and then there are contests that Naija Stories organizes too. Combined with the NLNG Prize and the Etisalat prize, writers have been upping their game day by day.
  Does faith play a role in your life?
I am a Christian but I’m recently not very religious because I keep getting the feeling that religion has become a crutch for ordinary people and so-called pastors prefer to take advantage of this. Men of God sow fear and discord among their members as well as defraud them rather than do what God wants and strengthen and teach people to live good, loving lives. My faith allows me to live according to the principles and morals instilled in me as a child, striving to live better and making my life one that can touch others.
  What are some of the challenges you face connecting with people on multiple media like facebook, hangout etc. 
The biggest challenge is that of time. It is very hard to be every where at once and all the time, but with the help of tools and the same social media, I’m making it work bit by bit.
 A heart warming story of a peak/summit you have reached recently.
I entered Naija Stories for a Western Union competition last year. It was tagged “World of Betters” and they were selecting 1000 people with great ideas of how to make the world better. I submitted that my goal was to use the win to pay for publishing the Naija Stories 2012 anthology, to promote the book and to send paperbacks to each of the featured writers. It was the best news when the organizers contacted me to say we had won $1000!
Tundun  Adeyemo

Dementia, the Enemy WIthin

Those who have experienced dementia through a family relative, close friend or through literature may know a thing or two about mental health generally. What they may not know is the confusion and possibly the sense of bereavement, which occurs when dealing with the loss of memory.

The loss of the human mind to disease may well be the beginning of a slow death process. Indeed, the loss of the mind is the loss of memories. Human beings are pretty much human because of what they remember, recollect and forget.  Our minds and memories are tied up within who we are. When we lose our memories, we lose ourselves and essentially, our lives.

Dementia in the elderly is taken for granted. When granddad repeats himself over and over again, we simply think it’s granddad at 82 losing it.  When grand mum fumbles with her words and cannot remember the names and faces of children and grandchildren, we give her space again to ‘rest a little’.  But dementia is bigger than our embarrassment of it. It may be eating up the very fabric of our nation right under our eyes. The best thing is to expose dementia for what it is – a disease that can affect anybody.

We make decisions about grand mum/dad, in their presence, as though they are not there. We talk about them as though they are no longer with us as they struggle to follow conversations. We get irritated when they can’t find their way around. When they become incontinent, we employ help and that is the extent of our responsibilities. Dementia does have a face and it has feelings locked up within the mind. That face could be staring back at you now.

In Lisa Genova’s book, Still Alice, she shows us through the life of a rather ‘young’ woman, her descent into dementia through early onset Alzheimer’s disease, what it means to have dementia. It was not easy reading about Alice even though it was a fictitious story.   Alice, a fifty-year old woman was a psychology professor at Harvard when she started to experience moments of forgetting and confusion. But as things got worse, an appointment with a neurologist confirmed that she had early onset of Alzheimer. 

Alice eventually lost everything: her ability to rely on her own thoughts and memories, her life as a lecturer at Harvard, the respect of her husband who was tortured by her descent in many ways. He was found fiddling with his wedding band each time they saw her neurologist together. He agonized for the woman he married, the woman he loved. It was severely hard for him especially when she became incontinent. A beautifully written book guaranteed to bring warm tears to your eyes, Lisa was inspired by Oliver Sack’s The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
Memories, to an extent, make us who we are. Our past, present and future are all kept within the lens of memories. Dementia sufferers lose eventually, the ability to remember. When they do remember, they may struggle to articulate.  The absence of recognition could be worse than death itself. That is what dementia is, the loss of the familiar, the loss of recent conversations, theloss of known faces, the loss of the geography of their homes, the loss of passion, the loss of the ability to remember and recollect. Dementia makes a mockery of humans like most debilitating diseases. It is a disease that robs you of your humanity. 

In England, there is a measure of support for mental health patients but in Nigeria, the exact nature of support is unclear. Other than the general supposition that mental health sufferers attend the Aro Hospital, it is hard to pinpoint local, state and Federal policies on mental health.

Dementia is an umbrella term. There are many different types of dementia although some are far more common than others. They are often named according to the condition that has caused the dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. During the cause of the disease, the chemistry and structure of the brain change, leading to the death of the brain cells.
Vascular dementia occurs if the oxygen supply to the brain fails, brain cells may die. The symptoms of vascular dementia can occur either suddenly, following a stroke, or over time, through a series of small strokes. Dementia with Lewy bodies gets its name from tiny spherical structures that develop inside nerve cells. Their presence in the brain leads to the degeneration of brain tissue.   Fronto-temporal dementia, damage is usually focussed in the front part of the brain. Personality and behaviour are initially more affected than memory. 
There are many other more rare causes of dementia, including progressive supra-nuclear palsy and Binswanger’s disease. People with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease also risk developing dementia.

The facts and figures about the impact of Alzheimer’s and other dementias make sobering reading. Dementia affects 820,000 people in the UK, a number forecast set to rise as the population ages. As well as the huge personal cost, dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion a year, more than cancer and heart diseases combined. Despite these figures, dementia research is desperately underfunded. 

Just 2.5% of the UK government’s medical research budget is spent on dementia research, while a quarter is spent on cancer research. One in three people aged over 65 will die from any form of dementia. Worldwide, there is a new case of dementia every seven seconds. More than 35 million people are currently estimated to have dementia and 4.6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. The idea that illnesses like Alzheimer’s are a disease of rich developed nations is a myth: 60 percent of people with dementia live in developing countries. While the rate of dementia is expected to double between 2001 and 2040 in developed countries, it is forecast to increase by more than 300 percent in India and China. If scientists could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years, they would halve the number of people who die with the disease.

Dementia is a disease we may choose to ignore in Nigeria partly because our religiosity tacitly encourages us to deny mental health issues ascribing such diseases to demons. However, prayer as the only cure, may be inadequate and naïve.  Prayer does work, but perhaps not in all cases. Diabetic induced, drugs/alcohol related dementia in patients need serious medical attention. Medicine and research need to give serious attention to mental health issues. Alternative care could also develop along the line.Learning about mental health diseases goes a long way to remove the stigma attached to it. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

RIP Komla Dumor 3rd Oct 1972- 18th Jan 2014.

Komla Dumor was one of the most recognised faces voices at the British Broadcasting Corporation. After a successful career in journalism in this native Ghana where he was named journalist of the year in 2003 for his investigations into public sector corruption, this former medical student joined the BBC in 2006 as the anchor of Network Africa. He was currently one of BBC’s leading presenters with a range of responsibilities across all of the BBC’s platforms – television radio and online. Komla presented the European morning programme on World News for the BBC’s British and global audiences but his strongest contribution to the BBC has been his passionate and unparalleled coverage of Africa. Between 2009 and 2012 Komla was the anchor of the groundbreaking Africa Business Report on BBC World News. This program (a first for the BBC) took Komla to close to 20 African countries covering hundreds of thousands of miles interviewing the continents top entrepreneurs, politicians and policy makers. In addition to the European mornings Komla was  the face and main anchor for the first BBC’s programme dedicated daily African news and current affairs show; Focus on Africa. He died on Saturday 18th January from a heart attack in his London home. We will always remember you. RIP Komla.

5mins with Komla Dumor

'12 years A Slave' didn't make me cry.

12 Years a Slave I saw Steve McQueen’s ’12 years a Slave; last night  and no, it did not make me cry. And I do enjoy a good cry from reading a touching book or watching a good film.
 Many of the scenes were shockingly inhumane.  I felt brutalized. The  rawness of the many rape scenes,  the whip stripes that drew blood and flesh, the slaps, tears, the injustice and seeming disregard for the ‘nigger’ disturbed me. I was angered at the version of Christianity the slaves were subjected to on Sundays and I found it hard to settle and  sleep. My ancestors, as far as I know, were not slaves. My grand father’s father was a cocoa farmer and it was on his farm (presumably he died and was buried). Why should I feel angry at the injustices meted to African slaves? Why should we all feel this angst? I know its just a film but it was based on a true story remember? Slavery was an injustice against the human race. Centuries later, it still haunts us. We ought to remember.
 I find that I am connected to slavery remotely because  over 11 million Africans were shipped out in cruel conditions to be enslaved. 3, but even closely because I am black African and I can still see the effects of slavery and colonialism on the African continent.
I find that even though America may have a black President, the majority of Africans in Africa (and elsewhere)  still live in one form of slavery or the other but we need to move beyond this slavery mentality and do more for ourselves, for our people.

I feel that  Africans are treated  by their leaders as less than ‘niggers’.  How else can you explain the atrocities in Central African Republic, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria? Atrocities against women and children? How else can you explain the inequality experienced by most? How on earth can you explain that children somewhere in Africa  are still dying of lack of water, the HIV/AIDS scourge, malaria, dysentery etc
 Even though, we are not in shackles physically, we are in economic shackles perhaps paying the price still for colonial slavery but corruption is our greatest enemy.  Our leaders (in Nigeria and in Africa) have not necessarily learnt the art of selfless leadership, their short sighted policies blight the rest of us. Whilst some in Nigeria are have well paid jobs, millions are not fully employed and are frustrated in their quest  either to find employment or to become an employer. This may be why insecurity and youth unemployment top the nation’s problems.
Perhaps, one day all will end well with Africa like it did with the character played  by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup).

Mostly educational, I would encourage you to see the film. It will help you respect the freedoms you have and the world you live in.

Tundun Adeyemo