The Liberated man so called.

 

A random conversation with a complete stranger about why she left her second husband prompted this write up. It was her experience that even though the man was Nigerian and had lived in the United Kingdom for over twenty five years, the man was a bully and the Western world had made no impact on him what so ever. The details of the divorce are tragic, but it left me thinking if living in the UK for 25 years had no impact on a man’s world view, that man is hopeless then.  Set in his ways, not much can change him..

Many people think that men who live in the United Kingdom are more domestic than their Nigerian counterparts. A domesticated man who lives in Canning town is not more liberated than his colleague in Nigeria who pays a cook and a cleaner to do his house hold chores. Whilst it is every girl’s dream to have her man help in the kitchen, domestication does not equal liberation. Liberation in this sense is mental. It is the freedom to allow a partner exist without abuse, shame or pain. You can guess where I am going with this right?

Some Nigerian men in 2014 (including those who live in the UK) expect their wives to cook their meals, wash and iron their clothes and perform excellently like an Amazon cat in the bedroom. Whilst some women may enjoy these roles, what makes the expectation of these burdensome is that the woman is also expected to loose a bit of herself in the process. She is expected to assume the role of a common servant, door mat, sex slave, kitchen goddess and she does this with cheer and without a voice. Her husband is always right, he is the head of the house after all. It is my observation  that when women are denied their voice and are not allowed the freedom to be in their marriages, their marriages eventually fail.

Here are some scenario questions. Why would a lawyer refuse to let his wife work? Why would  a pastor refuse to give his wife his share of

A liberated couple
A liberated couple

household bills because she has a part time job and he believes all her money should go towards bills? There are no answers to these questions as both situations need to be examined individually. Another man in Lagos, locked the generator house preventing its use when he was away on a business trip.  My colleague’s husband refuses to let his wife get a mobile phone because he insists she does not need one. The ultimate question is why do women allow their men to treat them like this? Would a liberated man act differently?

There are all sorts of men who behave in unreasonable ways as there are reasonable men who love their women unconditionally. Another man lost his wife to the divorce court as he genuinely believed that every time his wife went out, she went to see another man. When a man believes out of his own sheer ignorance that every conversation his wife has  with a male is an appointment to have sex, that man is a bully and perhaps more.

The question is what liberates men? Why are we even talking about this because not all men are bullies? Some men suffer from severe insecurities which lie undetected until they get married and true colors come out. Please don’t say education as one of the men described is a lawyer. And don’t bring religion into it, as the pastor outlined above has a church with  a thriving congregation. A liberated man is simply a man who is secure in himself and who allows his woman to be all that she wants to be without putting any barriers or restrictions upon her. This is a hard thing for some Nigerian men who upon securing the hands of their wives in marriage turn into tyrants and illogical beasts.

Another man required his wife to show her panties each time she stepped out of the house and he wasn’t making sure that she was wearing fresh under wear.  She could have gone to the market or the store. It did not matter.  It is wrong to subject a partner to such degrading treatment.   Readers might be thinking that these women have must have acted in suspicious ways to make their husbands these ludicrous. The answer to that is not necessarily. A man who lacks confidence in himself, and a man whose world view is limited is bound to find fault and create reasonable believable situations which only exist in his mind. Women don’t do things like that. Can we help such men? Is there a drug or therapy that can help small minded men?

How do you know a man with a small mind? A man with a small mind talks in limiting ways. He would shower his woman with all his love and affection, but prevent her from having a life of her own. He would dog her with accusations and belittle her as many times till he wears down her self confidence. He might even allow her get a job as long as she does not earn up to him.  A man with a small mind is an abuser who is always looking for ways to prove that his woman has faults or that she is sleeping around.

Those who have dated men with small minds would agree that prayers can’t change such men.  It is usually best to leave such men with their delusions than to attempt to change them or win them over. It is just too demanding emotionally and psychologically. Life is too short.

On the other hand, the beauty of a liberated man shows in the success of his wife. Men who allow their women the grace to pursue their business and academic inclinations enjoy and profit from their wife’s endeavors as all the money she makes, helps the household. The liberated man is not necessarily the one who washes the dishes, reads bed time stories to the kids or who goes dancing with his wife, he is the one that pays for his wife to train or re-train to whatever she desires to be.

A liberated man is the man that accepts that when his wife says the plane/train was cancelled and she would be late, then, that is the situation. It is a man who would never spend his  time looking through his wife’s text messages trying to decode (uncode )stuff that is  not his business. It is a man of integrity who loves unconditionally , a man who accepts that he is not always right and that there is a difference between having a conversation and an argument.  It is the man who is at peace within himself and his world to make space for his woman. It is the man who respects himself well enough to allow his wife the grace to be happy and fulfilled.

Could we do with just a little bit more liberation in our men or perhaps we need women to liberate themselves?

 

 

Tundun Adeyemo written for http://www.tellng.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Opaque:a short story

Afua’s head jerked back, hitting the metal pole behind the seat. Her eyes opened and darted around the cramped train. Everyone was engrossed in reading a newspaper, on an iPad or on the phone. She sighed and shifted in her seat.
“You know, there’s a remedy for that.”
The speaker’s breath brushed her neck. The smell of alcohol instantly dispersed into the air and Afua’s nostrils. She turned around to look into the roving eyes of the man regular train riders going downtown knew as Larry. He had been absent for a few weeks.
Afua turned back in her seat and looked straight ahead.
“Energy drink!” He screamed into her ears.
“Oh goodness!” The lady seated beside Afua shouted and jumped up to follow Afua who was already at the door. There went the chime, and the train doors opened.
“Miss! Miss!”
Someone called behind her. Afua waved, not looking back, thankful this was her actual stop. She would not have minded walking a few more blocks just to get away from Larry. Poor Larry. Once a successful real estate agent, he was now living off unemployment checks. He had his good days, but when he got frustrated, he lashed out with words and objects. Afua did not want to find out what type of day he was having.
She stepped on the escalator and rode up slowly.Opaque
“Miss, I hope he didn’t hurt you?”
Afua smiled as the lady seated beside her on the train stopped on her way up the escalators.
“He just caught me unawares. How about you?”
She shook her graying blonde hair and placed a hand on her chest. “I almost had a heart attack! Brings back bad memories of how my husband used to shout at me before hitting!”
“Sorry to hear that -”
“No need to be sorry my dear. I put a stop to that after ten years. See!” She pulled back the hair at her neck, revealing a scar running up to the back of her ear. Afua jerked back, sucking in her breath.
“You left?”
“You bet I did! Have a good day now!” She flashed pearly whites and walked up the stairs in her four-inch heels.
The one-block walk to the office was not without its usual sights. In the Starbucks window sat lover boy and girl cuddling as usual with just one cup of coffee between them and two laptops opened. They lived there. Mr. Wall Street brushed by her in his custom-made suit talking nonstop on his phone. Afua had overheard him talking about buying and selling stocks once and labeled him Mr. Wall Street. For all she knew he was an intern who just liked trading and dressing well.
She glanced at her watch. It was 8:20am exactly. The commuter bus stopped in front of her building, the tall brick building with tinted windows. Amor Fashion Magazine, where Afua worked as a columnist, occupied all but three of the twenty floors.
“Hey darling, how are you?”
She felt a tap on her shoulders.
“Oh, I didn’t see you get off the bus!” Afua exclaimed, falling into step with the tall man in the off-white V-neck sweater with a tie peeking out.
“I barely made it in! Lalah was at it again this morning.”
“Really? Why can’t she let up?”
Daniel pulled the door open for Afua to enter. They were met by Lucas’s smiling face in his over-the-top multicolored cardigan and patterned bow tie.
“Children, welcome! It’s about time too. Your boss lady just went by a few minutes ago!” He called in his nasal tones from behind the receptionist counter.
“What?! Sureeka’s here so early?” Daniel pushed his glasses up. He did that when he was excited or upset which happened too frequently of late.
Afua grabbed his hand and ran for the open elevators. They got on just as it closed.
“I haven’t finished the write-up yet. She expected it on her desk first thing this morning.”
“Relax Daniel. She doesn’t normally get in until 11am. Maybe she has an early meeting.” Afua tried to reassure him but he was already panicking. He dropped her hand and held on tight to his messenger bag. He stepped out the moment the doors opened.
“Oh, pardon my manners.” He mumbled, stepping back to let Afua by.
She smiled and patted his arm.
“Trust me Daniel, she must be here for an early meeting.”
They walked by the empty cubicles. The light in Sureeka’s office was on. They entered the shared office across from hers.
“Daniel!”
They glanced at each other.
Good luck! Afua mouthed.
The door closed behind him. It didn’t matter. Sureeka’s shrieks and Daniel’s muffled apologies could still be heard. Afua turned on her monitor and was soon staring at a familiar face. Her eyes fell on the same face in several picture frames on her desk. The door opened and closed.
“I didn’t ask you to close it Daniel. Afua, come in here!”
She sighed and got up. It was one of those days. Daniel sat in his seat, smiling sheepishly.
“It’s just practice for when I get home.”
“Not funny Daniel. She shouldn’t speak to anyone that way,” Afua muttered and walked by.
The head of thick wavy hair was lowered when she entered. Afua stood and took in her former friend and colleague, now boss lady. Her once- fitting Valentino dress hung on her. Afua sat down in one of the chairs across from Sureeka’s desk as she looked up. She dabbed quickly at her cheek.
“Is something wrong Suree?”
Her gray eyes melted for a second.
“You can tell me.”
Sureeka hissed and pulled herself closer to the desk.
“There is nothing wrong Afua.” Her voice could freeze water instantly. Flinging back her hand, she pointed to the calendar behind her. “Now, tell me, how many days before we go to print?”
“Three days.”
‘So where is your write-up on the fashion show?” Did it bypass me?” She raised her hands. The diamond ring flashed conspicuously as she waved back and forth.
Afua shook her head.
“Suree, but I told you yesterday I’d get it to you latest tomorrow. I’m working on it –“
“Be quiet! And stop calling me Suree! We are no longer in college.”
Sureeka’s hands hit the desk as she got up. Afua shrieked and jumped out of the chair. It fell to the ground and Afua on top of it.
“Afua, are you alright? Oh God!” Sureeka ran around the desk, in tears.
Daniel dashed in and fell to the floor beside her.
“Afua! What happened? What did you do to her?” He demanded from Sureeka.
She sobbed into her palms.
“I’m calling Human resources the minute they get in!” Daniel said, taking hold of Afua’s hands to pull her up.
“Please Daniel!” Sureeka shouted, grabbing his hand. He shrugged it off and helped Afua to stand.
‘I will! The way your treat everyone around here is despicable!”
“No, you can’t –” Afua said, hands shaking.
Daniel stopped midway from picking up the chair.
“What?”
He straightened up and put the chair in place.
Afua and Sureeka looked at each other.
“Daniel, I am fine. Please, a moment with Sureeka?”
He looked from one to the other.
“OK, I will leave you two. But if I hear another sound, I will be calling Human resources and security.”
“Th…Thank you!” Sureeka said as he closed the door behind him. “Come, sit. I am so sorry! I didn’t mean it. You know that!” She pulled the other chair beside Afua and took her hand.
“It’s been really rough lately Afua.” She whispered. Afua looked up.
“Ib?”
Sureeka nodded and dabbed at her face. Afua took it and gasped.
“What?”
Afua touched her cheek, hands shaking. Sureeka’s foundation had washed off her face, revealing a dark bruise.
“You told me he stopped.”
Sureeka sniffed and slumped into the chair.
“I thought so too. Then I was promoted, and you know how that went – late nights, taking work home. I had no time for him –“
“But that’s no excuse!”
“I don’t know what to do! Sometimes he’s so caring, other times-”
“He will do it again and again! You must leave.”
Sureeka shook her head slowly. A brief knock on the door brought both to their feet. She patted down hair and dress.
“Yes?”
A red head appeared behind the door.
“Are you ready for your nine o’clock?”
“Of course Samantha, good morning.” Sureeka smiled
Samantha’s eyes widened.
“Oh, good morning. I…I’ll take them to the conference room.” She glanced at Afua before retreating.
“Su-”
“Enough Afua!” Sureeka whispered. “I will deal with this. I am sorry for lashing out at you but this is my problem and Ib’s. We will deal with it.”
Her eyes were the familiar icy gray again.
“Sure. I’ll get my write-up to you before leaving today.”
“Thank you.”
Afua closed the door behind her and walked back to her office. Daniel looked up from his monitor.
“What was that about?”
“It’s a female thing,” Afua said, looking up. “I think.”
His brow came up.
“You think?”
“I can’t talk about it. She told me in confidence.” Afua put her hands over her mouth and continued in a hushed voice. “Just like you tell me about Lalah’s shouting and throwing things at you in confidence.”
“Oh.”
He turned his attention to the monitor. Sureeka came out of her office and waved at staff coming in. They paused in their tracks, unsure of this new Sureeka.
“Samantha, please get me coffee!” She called, cat walking to the conference room.
“Let’s see how long that lasts.” Daniel muttered, typing away.
The phone rang on Afua’s desk. The number appeared on the small screen
“That’s my cell number!” She shouted and picked up the receiver. “Who is this? Did you find my phone? I didn’t even know I lost it.”
There was silence.
“Hello?”
“Did you think I wouldn’t know how to get you? Leaving your phone carelessly around!”
His slurred speech made her skin crawl. She glanced at Daniel who seemed intent on finishing his write-up.
“I will call you back!” She whispered.
“Don’t you dare!”
She dropped the receiver and turned to her monitor. The phone rang again. This time she pulled the cord from the wall.
Daniel looked up.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes of course.” She smiled and began typing.

The train ride home was shorter than Afua hoped. Her legs dragged as she walked the two blocks to the apartment complex in the quiet neighborhood she had called home for the past five years. Terry, her neighbor’s teenage son, was standing outside his door when she got to the second floor.
“Terry, what are you doing out here? There’s no soccer today?”
“No Miss Afua. It’s Wednesday, remember?”
“Oh yeah! So why are you outside?”
He scratched his head.
“Oh no Terry! You lost your keys again?”
He shoved his hand in his pockets and looked down. “I think I left it in my room this morning.”
“This is the last time I open the door without your mom knowing.”
“Thanks Miss. Afua! This is the very last time, I promise!”
“Sure.” She muttered, already searching through her bunch of keys. Terry’s mom and Afua had exchanged their extra keys just for this very reason, incase either of them ever lost their keys or was locked out. Terry moved aside as she approached and turned the key in the lock.
“Thanks Miss! And please, no word to my mom?” He batted his eyes at her, reminding her of the ten-year old boy she had first met years ago.
“Be good Terry,” Afua called to him as she turned to her door. The hallway was dark and quiet as she closed the door behind her. She sidestepped the stool she knew was beside the door to the guest restroom. The ticking clock sounded very loud in the quiet. The key rattled in her hand. She steadied it with the other hand as she walked into the living room and pulled back the shades.
“And why would you do that?!” the voice growled from the recliner.
Afua began walking backwards.
The figure sat up, revealing the face that had haunted her all day.
“I didn’t see you there Larry.”
“Of course you didn’t, always caught up in your own world.”
“Larry, please, not today!”
He got up, still in his rumpled clothes from two nights ago. Her first sight of him on the train that morning had her almost weeping with relief. In two strides, he was glowering down at her.
“Why did you not answer when I called you on the train? I was shouting ‘Miss, Miss! come get your phone. Why did you drop the phone on me when I called you at work?”
His hands were on her neck. Afua shook her head as the tears streamed down her face.
“You feel you’re too good for an unemployed free loader huh?”
“Larry, please stop! Stop doing this!” She whispered.
His breath stunk from days of drinking. He released her and stepped back, his face crumbling into a watery mesh of skin and tears.
“Why do you make me do this Afua? You know I love you!” He fell to the carpet, sobbing.
Afua sank to the carpet beside him.
“I love you too Larry. But you know I’m not complaining. We have enough money to get by.” She put her arms around him and kissed his bushy head. “Don’t worry; you’ll get a job soon.” She whispered and kissed his temple. He stiffened in her arms and raised his head, eyes flashing.
“How dare you rub my lack of a job in my face once more? Do you remember what happened the last time you did that?”
The punch had her flying across the room into the table in the hallway, shattering the glass frame of the picture they had taken in Las Vegas.
“Oh God” Afua muttered. She tried to get up, but the pain in her hip was unbearable.
“Miss Afua! Miss Afua!”
The front door shook from the heavy banging.
“Terry?” The glass cut into her palms as she crawled to the door.
“Don’t let him in Afua! This is none of his business!” He was getting up. Afua scrambled up and ran for the door just as it opened. Terry held the key.
“Miss, are you alright?”
Afua grabbed his arm and stepped out. Her front tooth felt loose and blood trickled from her mouth.
“Boy, you get out of here while I settle this with my woman!” Larry shouted from within.
“Thank you Terry, but I have to go back in. I don’t want him to get into trouble.”
Terry shook his head, holding on to her.
“No miss. Mom said next time this happened not to let you go back in there and to call the police.”
“What? Did you do that Terry? Did you call the police?”

The faint sound of sirens pierced the quiet evening.

Nike Campbell-Fatoki © 2014

Nike Campbell-Fatoki is an author and producer. She is the author of Thread of Gold Beads, a historical fiction novel published in November 2012 recently adapted to a stage play in the Washington DC area on October 4, 2014. Nike is an advocate for domestic violence victims. She is presently working on her second book, a collection of contemporary short stories dealing with societal issues.

For more information:
Email: nikecampbellfatoki.com
Website: http://www.nikecfatoki.com
Face book: http://www.facebook.com/nikecfatoki
Blog: http://nikecfatoki.com/blog/
Twitter @nikecfatoki

I do not feel safe: Yemisi Ilesanmi

October is Black History/Lesbian Gays Bisexual Transsexual Month. In parts of London and the UK, people have been marking this in various ways. To help us give that some perspective  author Yemisi Ilesanmi, author of  ‘Freedom to love for all, Homosexuality is not un-African’ sent the text version of the interview she did with me on Aukradio.  She talks about why homosexuality is not just an European concept and much more. Enjoy reading.men7

 

 

 Why did you write this book?

 

Thanks. I wrote this book to counter the erroneous impression that homosexuality is Un-African. This is a rhetoric that many African politicians keep sprouting in their bid to defend the discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and Transsexuals. With the upsurge of anti-gay bills springing up in many African countries, it became imperative to provide necessary information and create awareness on the issues of sexual orientation especially homosexuality and bisexuality. Information is power and education is key to human development.  In this digital age, where information is easily accessible, it is sad to know that many people especially Africans still fall for the homophobic, biphobic and transphobic rhetoric that sexual orientation is a matter of choice.

In the book Freedom to Love For All; Homosexuality is not Un-African, I put together a collection of my essays debunking the myths that Homosexuality is Un-African. First, I started by clarifying the meaning of sexual orientation and providing accepted definition of the different kinds of sexual orientation and gender identity that we have. The first three chapters delved into known history of homosexuality and bisexuality in Africa. Noteworthy is the wall paintings in ancient Egypt of two black men kissing.

 

They were named khnumhotep and Niankhknum. They were ancient Egyptian royal servants, they are believed to be the first recorded same-sex couples in history. It is the only tomb in the necropolis where men are displayed embracing and holding hands. In addition, their names form a linguistic reference to their closeness. Niankhknum means joined to life and khnumhotep means joined to the blessed state of the dead, together the names can be translated as ‘Joined in life and joined in death’.

 

Also, there are other cultural practices in Africa that indicates not just the existence but acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality in Africa.men 6

For example, in Uganda some members of the Buganda royal family suggest that homosexuality was existent and tolerated before colonial rule. To this day, it is said that many members of the Buganda royal family are gay.

 

Also, until the practice died out in the early 20th century, male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely married male youths who functioned as temporary wives.

 

Matriarchy was and is still strong in Calabar, Nigeria. In the absence of a male child, the eldest daughter in the family is allowed to marry another woman and have children together to carry on the family name.

Some African cultures viewed transgender persons as gods. They were revered before imported, intolerant religions started making waves in Africa. It was the advent of colonisation and the import of foreign laws like sodomy law, which brought homophobia and intolerance into many African societies.

 

For example, Sango the Yoruba god of thunder was often described as a beautiful woman who dressed like a woman, had his hair braided and accessorised like a woman. Sango priests all men, still dress in clothing traditional associated with women when performing rituals. Homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality are not concepts alien to Africa, Sexual orientation is not just a cultural thing, it is a biological.

 

It is 2014 and you would think most people are more accommodating? Is that your experience?

Sadly, that is not my experience in 2014 Africa. In civilized, western countries, the laws and people are tending towards tolerance, better understanding of diversity however, most African countries seem to be doing the opposite. Bills and laws criminalizing gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transexual are now the order of the day. Homophobia is celebrated as a godly thing. Since when is oppressing your fellow human being a thing to celebrate, especially when the person does not pose any threat to you or the society.  I do hope with the right information, education, and awareness, we will overcome this tide of hate that Africans are projecting towards LGBTs. As you said, it is 2014; human relations should be getting better not worse

 

In your book, a lot of Nigerians have very myopic views to homosexuality. Could our generation change things?

I believe every generation has a responsibility to leave the world a better place than we met it. The generations before us fought slavery, fought for the right to be treated as full members of the human society, women got the right to vote, inter-racial marriage was decriminalized and accepted as a normal thing, this generation is a beneficiary of the dividends of these civil rights movements struggles. It therefore lies on this generation to fight the good fight for equal right for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals. We hold in our power to effect a positive change and I know we can. We have access to information; we just have to let go of our myopic views and embrace rationality. Learn to love not germinate or spread hate.

men 8

What annoys me is the hypocrisy with which Nigerian leaders deal with homosexuality. Are they capable of rational thought?

 

Unfortunately, rational thought and Nigerian leaders do not belong in the same sentence.

Corruption, hypocrisy, Boko Haram, stolen funds, bad infrastructures, bad governance are words that belong in the same sentence with Nigerian leaders. However, as the saying goes, every follower deserves the kind of leadership they get. Maybe Nigerians deserves their leaders after all the leadership is a reflection of the followership. I do hope there will be a positive change in the mind-set of Nigerians. The kind of change that would embrace rational thought, logic and tolerance. It is difficult but it is not impossible

 

 

What is life like for people who are victims of homophobia? What more can we do to highlight the fact that my sexuality is not your business?

 

Victims of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not allowed to be who they are because of the oppression, and discrimination, hostility expressed towards gays in Nigeria.

 

Gays can lose their life due to homophobia. Public humiliation and lynching are possibilities lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people face. 14 years imprisonment for same sex couples is now law in Nigeria. Many are ostracized by family members and friends, loss of economic income, and loss of human rights are some of the injustice gays, lesbians, and bisexuals face in Nigeria and many African countries.

 

The law must highlight the fact that every Nigerian is entitled to inalienable human rights. The constitution asserts this, and laws that contradict the spirit and words of the constitutions should not be passed and if passed, the judiciary should step up and pronounce such laws null and void.

 

What consenting adults do on the privacy of their rooms is not the business of the law. Nigerians should stop poke nosing into the bedrooms of their neighbours. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals have the right to engage in same-sex relationships just as heterosexuals have the right to engage in opposite sex relationships. It is their right. My right, my body, my choice, not your business. As long as I am not forcing you to have a relationship with me, you should mind your own business and keep out of my lovelife and sex life.men 11

 

Homophobia is a crime in the UK isn’t it? Why do you still work so hard on the message? Are people not getting it?

 

It is a good thing that homophobia is a crime in most developed countries now, including UK. However, there are still instances of homophobia especially within the black community. Many Nigerians living in UK are still homophobic, they might not express it openly for fear of the law, but that does not mean they are tolerant towards their fellow Nigerians or even family members who come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans. Also, we are unfortunately witnessing some European countries like Russia retrogressing in terms of securing LGBT rights for their citizens. Therefore, we need to keep talking and working to make sure that the few rights that have been gained for and by LGBT people are not just taken away overnight. In addition, we need to build on these rights.

 men 4

Also, we need to keep talking and working to secure LGBT rights in Africa, especially those of us who can do the work from a safe-place like UK. We need to put a face to the many faceless persecuted African LGBTs. We also must give a voice to the many silenced African LGBTs. We must use our safe-space to secure safety, rights, tolerance, and acceptance for our fellow African LGBTs. So the work must continue because an injury to one is an injury to all.

 

You have a very clear message to people who think and say homosexuality is unAFRICAN….. is there a reason why you are passionate about this?

I am passionate about LGBT rights because first, I am an ardent believer in inalienable human rights and I believe every human being regardless of race, sex, gender or sexual orientation deserves to enjoy their inalienable human rights. I am also a bisexual, which makes me a target of the anti-lgbt laws. However, I believe fighting for equality and justice should be the responsibility of every decent and rational thinking human being , regardless of whether they are affected by atrocious laws or not. We should all be passionate about defending human rights for all.

 

If you had a message for governments in Africa who have penalized homosexuality, what would it be?men 3

My message to African leaders who have penalized or thinking of penalizing same-sex relationships is that they should pick up a science book and read, read, read! Homosexuality is not a choice, just as heterosexuality is not a choice. Homosexuality is not harmful to anyone, just like heterosexuality is not harmful to anyone. Homosexuality is not a western thing; it is a human thing. Unless you want to claim Africans are not part of the human race, you do not have any reason at all to criminalize homosexuality, bisexuality, or trans sexuality. In addition, even if homosexuality was a choice, consensual adults have the right to engage in consensual sexual and emotional relationships. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms is not the business of the law. Above all, African governments should concentrate on ridding the continent of corruption, poverty, and bad leadership. Homosexuality is not the problem of starving Africans; homosexuality is not a problem at all. Let African leaders think of ways to rejuvenate the economy of the continent and stay out of the bedrooms of Africans.

 

 

Could you ever live anywhere in Africa? Is there a link between homosexuality and atheism?

 

I am an African and a Nigerian, but home is where you feel safe. Unfortunately, with many African countries passing homophobic laws, I do not feel safe in some African countries including Nigeria. However, I will continue to fight for my right not to be discriminated against in my own country. Nigerian lesbians and gays deserve the same rights every other Nigerians citizens enjoy and that include the right to life, right to privacy and right to freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to marry another consenting adult.

 

There is no link between homosexuality and atheism, but there is a link between rationally accepting the evidence that homosexuality is natural, and linking it with the way atheism is all about logic, rational argument, and evidence. It is foolhardy to continue to criminalise homosexuality when all rational evidence points to the fact that it is natural, not a choice, and not harmful to anyone.

 


men 9Where can our listeners find your book? And perhaps more information about what you do.

My book Freedom To Love For All; Homosexuality is not Un-African is available in paperback and kindle edition on Amazon. My collection of poems titled ‘Reaching for the Stars’ will soon be available on Amazon. It is about empowerment, self-actualisation, culture, human rights, and feminism, tapping into our inner hero and reaching for the stars. So watch this space.

Thank you very much.

 

I am a romance and not erotic writer: Kiru Taye

Kiru Taye is an award winning author of historical, contemporary and paranormal romance. Her stories are sensual and steamy, often leaving you wanting more of her characters and her books.  Her characters are believable, passionate and real. Taye provides heros and heroines who are black and authentic culturally and traditionally, filling a gap alien to main stream authors.
Having read a few of her books, Taye is arguably the best romance author of all times. She is simply very good at what she does. Taye has written twelve books in the space of four years. She writes books she wants to read and to be fair it is hard to keep up with her creative energy.

 

There is no end to prequels and sequels. There is something for everybody in her books. Whilst Taye argues that there is a difference between romance and erotic writing, Taye works to dispel the myth that sex is a recent invention for African men and women.  Kiru’s audience are mostly women as are all romance readers and we are scattered all over the world.

 

Women love Kiru because her male characters are strong, masculine, virile and able to understand the needs of  their women. Many of us who read Taye, want partners -or want our partners to become-  like Taye’s male characters. Plus, we love happy endings. Who doesn’t? A founding member of Romance Writers of West Africa, Taye does us our continent proud. Her latest book Black Soul is out now.

 

She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo from www.blackandoutspoken.com and here is what she had to say.

 

What was life like before you started writing in 2010? How did you learn to write so well?

 

Before I made the leap into writing, I was a project management consultant and had worked in the corporate environment for over ten years. After I had my children, I wanted a slower pace and something that would allow me to spend time with the children while still using my brain.

Kiru Taye 2

I remember reading a romance novel and asking myself why there weren’t any stories about Africans like me falling in love and living happily ever after. I decided to write the stories I wanted to read.

 

Writing has been a great learning process for me. In fact I’m still learning something new about the craft every day.

 

What roles have the gods played in your success? Is this what you believe or  a belief of the characters in your books?

 

Laughs. Nice one. I am not my characters.

 

I believe my writing talent, is given by God just as any other talent is given by God. However, we as human beings have the responsibility of honing the talent and of continually learning and improving. The day we stop learning, is the day we return to our Maker.

 

You have written twelve books, which is your favourite book?

 

That’s like asking which of my children is my
favorite. Impossible to choose. I love all my books.

 

I read three of your books in one morning, what inspires you?

 

Thank you so much for reading three of my books in one morning. Life inspires me. Love inspires me. People inspire me.

 

Many times book sales are lethargic is this your experience?

 

When you start out it can feel that way but with time and as word gets out about your books, sales improve. Like everything else there are sales Kiru Taye 6cycles.

 

I find that the best marketing I can do for my books is to write the next one because the frenzy that goes with every book release I have always boosts sales to my back list titles. So it’s win, win. Old readers get a new book from me and new readers discover my old titles.

 

 

Your heroes are decent virile men with respect for their women …., a bit different from the metrosexual egoistical 21st century men you have today? Is this your experience of men or a desire to portray men in the traditional view?

 

Don’t get me started on the metrosexual (read emasculated man). Really not my cup of tea. You won’t find him in any of my books. Laughs.

 

I love my men dominant and confident in their masculinity. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as they respect their women. The men in my books are like some of the men I have met, are honourable and do not abuse their positions of power.

 

Your women eschew virginity and virtuosity. Not all women are chaste…. Is this a rather broad or narrow view of how you view that women should be?

 

I wanted to balance the view that women have to be virtuous to be of value to men or society. That idea is oppressive and partly what has kept women tied in terrible relationships because they had to conform to an idea of piety.

 

The fact remains that not all women are chaste. Not all women go into marriage as virgins and that doesn’t make them bad women or bad wives or bad mothers.

 

And why is it okay for a man not to be a virgin on his wedding night. But a woman has to be one?Kiru Taye 3

 

Who reads you more women or men? I know that romance writers are mostly women who write for a largely women audience.

 

My largest readers are women and I bear this in mind when I write my stories.

 

Are the men him in your books your husband?

 

Laughs.  I reserve my comment.

 

What are you working on now?

 

I always have several projects on the go at different stages.

 

I’m currently finalising Black Soul, Black Warriors series, prequel coming out October 30, 2014.

 

I’ve also just sent back first round edits to my editor for Scores, book 3 in the Passion Shields series. I’m waiting for the publisher to set a release date. Hopefully Nov/Dec 2014.

 

 

I am also writing the first draft for Riding rebel, The Essien Trilogy book 3 which will be out in Dec 2014.Kiru Taye 5

 

What books have you got on your kindle?

 

At the last count I had 1754 ebooks on my Kindle App. That does not include the ones I have on other reading apps nor does it include the paperbacks sitting on shelves and in boxes. Laughs.

 

Is there a book that changed your life?

Gosh. I’ve read so many books and each book has impacted my life in one way or the other.

But there are so many books from my teenage years that made me dream about writing books.

Shogun by James Clavell

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Trinity by Leon Uris

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

 

Is there a word for your fans, budding authors who want to be like you?

 

I have three words. Read. Read. Read.

For more on Kiru Taye:

Email: kiru.taye@yahoo.com
Blog: http://kirutayewrites.blogspot.com

 

 

Tundun Adeyemo

 

 

 

 

Award winning Author Mahsuda Snaith speaks to Tundun Adeyemo

Mahsuda Snaith is an award winning author and blogger who was born in Luton, Beds in 1981. She  works as a supply teacher  in Leicester. She has been writing since she was eight years old and has an incredible passion for  writing and literature.  ‘Dreams do come true’ is a phrase Mahsuda is likely to reiterate as she has always dreamt that one day she would write full time.

Well, Mahsuda now  has an agent (Charlotte Robertson of United Agents) and she has won three very prestigious  awards in the space of a year. One can safely say Mahsuda iMahsuda_Snaith 1s not far away from that dream.

Her success is an inspiration indeed to Asian, black and carribean women in England and indeed all over the world. All things are possible if we are ready to work for it.

In 2013, Mahsuda won the Mslexia Novel Writing Competition. On her 33rd birthday,  she won SI Leeds Literary Prize for an unpublished novel she had written.

Roughly  about 10 days later, she won the  2014 Bristol  Short story Prize for her short story  ‘Art of Flood Survival’. There were 2,472 other entries  and unsurprisingly, the  years of hard work paid off. She won.

She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo from BlackandOutspoken.com recently.

Can you tell us a little about your self?

I’m a part time writer and supply teacher of Bengali heritage who lives in Leicester. I’ve always loved writing and have had the goal of being a writer since the age of eight!  My main dream is to be able to have writing as my main living.

How did winning the SI Leeds Prize make you feel?

It was an utter shock! I listened as all the other entries read their work and thought I didn’t have a chance. It was great to win mainly because it gave me validation that I was on the right path with my writing.

Is it luck or hard work?

For me, mainly hard work. I supply teach for a living but work part time so I can still write. If I didn’t dedicate a lot of years and hours to writing I wouldn’t have got where I am. At the same time you need the right people to see your work and love it. Not everyone is going to like what you’re doing so to find the people who do is like finding gold dust.

What were the challenges you faced in getting that award?ms 2

I grew up in a Bengali family on a council estate in Leicester. I think the main challenge was that I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t see any writers out there like me.  There was a handful or well-known Black and Asian writers as I was growing up but they were all from middle-class backgrounds. I hope this win shows that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how much money you have, you can still succeed in the field you’re passionate about.

On Saturday, you won another award The Bristol Short Story prize, surely your head must be spinning on this night, how did you keep calm?

My head is still spinning!  I think I’m trying to appreciate this moment while it’s here. You never know how long it’s going to last.

Tell us about the short story that got you both awards.

My unpublished novel that won the SI Leeds is about a British Bengali girl growing up on a council estate in Leicester and how she copes with a condition called chronic pain syndrome.  My short story that won the Bristol Short Story Prize is from the viewpoint of a housegirl (servant) in Bangladesh and what happens when a British-Bengali family come to visit the house she works in.

What are your friends saying about you on Twitter?

I’m not brilliant on Twitter and a lot of my friends aren’t even on it! But I’ve had huge support from fellow writers and lots of new followers. It’s all very exciting for me.

If you had only one wish right now, what would it be?

I’m incredibly grateful for everything that’s happened. I think I’ve learnt it’s best to work hard and see what happens.  Wishing isn’t what gets you anywhere, it’s planning and perseverance!

Would you consider yourself a role model to other female writers in the UK?

I hope I’m an example for both women and Black and Asian writers of what can be done. Sometimes we can be put in boxes but we don’t have to stay in them.

What more can you add as an encouragement to budding writers?

To keep on writing and, more importantly, to LOVE writing. If you don’t love doing it then it doesn’t matter how many awards you receive, it’ll feel hollow.  Of course there’s times when it feels hard and you don’t love writing so much – but if your heart is really in it, you will always go back to it.  Tell your story the only way you can.  Bring something new to the world.

Where can we find more about you?

I’m on twitter and have a website at http://www.mahsudasnaith.com

 

The White Horse by Yan Ge

Yan Ge is the author of several fiction books which include:

  • The Family of JoyWhite-Horse  2
  • The Symphony of Sound
  • Tale of Nine Monsters
  • The Guan River
  • May Queen
  • and White Horse

Her short stories include Spring in Tao Le, Moments of Bliss, Buried in seventeen months. She is in London to promote her latest book White Horse.

White Horse is about a a young lady Yun Yun who lives in a small West China town with her widowed father, and an uncle, aunt and older cousin who live nearby. One day, her once-secure world begins to fall apart. Through her eyes, we observe her cousin, Zhang Qing, keen to dive into the excitements of adolescence but clashing with repressive parents. Ensuing tensions reveal that the relationships between the two families are founded on a terrible lie.

Yan ge 1

About the author

Yan Ge was born in Sichuan in the People’s Republic of China. She recently completed a PhD in comparative literature at Sichuan University and is the chairperson of the China Young Writer Association.

Her early work focused on the wonders, gods and ghosts of Chinese myth and made her especially popular with teenagers. The novel May Queen (2008) saw her break through as a critically-acclaimed author.

She now writes realist fiction, strongly Sichuan-based, focussing with warmth, humour and razor-sharp insights on squabbling families and small-town life.

People’s Literature magazine recently chose her as one of China’s twenty future literary masters, and in 2012 she was chosen as Best New Writer by the prestigious Chinese Literature Media Prize. Yan Ge is in London for a couple of days to promote her book. She can be contacted via her agent and publishing details. (Details below).

About HopeRoad

HopeRoad Publishing is an exciting, independent publisher, vigorously supporting voices too often neglected by the mainstream. We are growing a reputation as promoters of multicultural literature, with a special focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. At the heart of our publishing is the love of outstanding writing from writers you, the reader, would otherwise have missed. Most of our titles are e-books only, but we have ventured into print with three outstanding titles: The Cost of Sugar, Tula the Revolt and Indian Magic. Our list covers fiction, non-fiction, young adult, and works in translation. Very soon we are launching something new: a crime fiction list.

To book interviews or for any more information please contact Rosemarie on 0207 370 5367 or at

rosemarie@hoperoadpublishing.com

 

 

 

Sade's World on Outspoken!

Telling the African narrative is dear to Sade Adeniran’s heart as I listen to her on her podcasts and on radio interviews. She has an uncommon passion to promote African literature. In 2008, she won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book largely due to a tenacious campaign to get the right audiences to read her story Imagine this.  She studied English and Media at the University and her dissertation which was a radio play was adapted and aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Other commissioned pieces have appeared on the BBC. Sade is also a film maker who hopes to win an award in the industry soon. She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo recently.
How can we help shift the remainder of the books under your bed?
I guess by recommending it to readers. If they live in the UK, they can buy it from my website, www.sades-world.com/shop, or from Amazon, although I have to admit I prefer people to buy direct from me because Amazon take 60% of the retail price which doesn’t leave me with much once I’ve paid the postage.
I heard your first edition of Sade’s world: it sounded like you had lots of fun interviewing Chinbundu Onuzo. When is the next podcast out?
I’ve just released the last podcast in this series, which featured a story by the amazing Ama Ata Aidoo.  I’m not sure when the next set of podcasts will be produced.  I have to do another round of fundraising, and then find the writers and actors.  So a fair amount of work still needs to be done before the next set of podcasts hits the airwaves.
Where can people find information about your podcasts?
 
Sade’s World Short Story Podcasts (SWoSSP) can be found on iTunes, SoundCloud and Mixcloud.  Or people can go to my website, www.sades-world.com/podcasts.
Why podcasts?
We live in an age where we’re spending more time at work and in front of the TV.  A lot of people don’t have the time to sit down to read a book; they also can’t afford to spend their money on books.  Add to that, the fact that in most African countries, libraries are practically non-existent.  I figured we could solve some of these issues by providing FREE podcasts of short stories, which people can download or stream.  They can listen on their way to work or while they’re cooking dinner or working out at the gym.  Sade’s World Short Story Podcasts (SWoSSP) is vital to me as a Writer because telling our stories is important, it is a gift for future generations.  We tell stories, not only to evolve and grow as people, but also to make a difference in the world and broaden the perspectives of all human beings. 
What books are you reading now?
I’ve a pile of books to read at the moment and haven’t had a chance to read any of them.  The only time I’ve got to read is on Tube journeys and I don’t have a lot of those because I tend to cycle to places.  However after saying all that, the book that’s been in my bag for the last 3 months is How To Spell Naija by Chuma Nwokolo.
Have you read anything that changed your life in recent times? Can you share it with us?
Nothing I’ve read has changed my life, but I would say some of the books I’ve read that made an impact on my psyche are Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Zenzele: A letter for my Daughter by Nozipo Maraire.  What I loved so much about these books is that they took me to a world I knew nothing about and taught me something new.
What is IT like being Sade? Why do you write fundamentally?
I’ve only ever experienced being Sade, so have nothing to compare it to.   I write because it’s the way I express who I am as a person.
As a liberated woman, would you prefer to have been born white and male?
Being black and a woman has its challenges, but no; I would not want to be born a white or black man.  I like who I am.
Are there occupational hazards attached to your job?
Yes RSI and one can go blind from staring too long at a computer screen.  Okay I made that last bit up.
Who do you think you are?
I am me, Folasade Adeniran, the true daughter of my father as we like to say in Naija.
What would you tell budding authors?
Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
Tundun Adeyemo

Up and Coming Singer Songwriter Dinachi Onuzo

Dinachi Onuzo is talented singer/ song writer whose blend of music is described as ‘an intriguing blend of jazz, folk, highlife and gospel’. She has been heard at a number of open mic venues and festivals across the United Kingdom where she lives. Dinachi (26) perfected her art by singing at ‘church choirs and leading gospel choirs whilst at school and at University’. Even though she cannot stand heavy metal music, the guitar is her preferred musical instrument. She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo recently.

Tell us about your EP. Is this your greatest accomplishment?
Before releasing the EP, I’d been playing open mic nights and shows in and around London for about a year and the songs on the Come Out EP are probably the ones that resonated the most with audiences. ‘Come Out’ is a song that’s very dear to my heart. ‘Ohio Boy’ is a bit of a funny, silly love song, which has a serious side to it. And ‘Mr Tenny’ musically, has very strong Fela influences and lyrically, talks about not sitting down and watching chaos unfold around us but rather initiating change – being who God has called us to be.

Why should anyone listen to you? Who else in your family sings?

I’m nice so I must write nice songs. People should listen. Both my sisters, my dad and a lot of my extended family on my dad’s side sing.

Who are your musical inspirations? What kind of music do you listen  today?

The likes of Nina Simone, Fela and Tracy Chapman because they sang about light hearted things but also about the deeper issues of their times. Most of the music on my phone would fall under gospel and Christian music. I’ve been getting into jazz of late and a bit of folk, soul, R&B. I also listen to a lot of music that you really can’t limit to one genre. I think they describe it as Alternative.

c18e8d_f9f28545135542a6b8fe8957e6eea3f4.jpg_srz_p_352_529_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzWhat embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on where you’re standing, I don’t think you’ll find any.

Where would you most like to perform?

Gotta dream big, Royal Albert Hall, baby! Having said that, I love the pure sound you get in old cathedrals.

If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be? What genre of music can’t you stand to listen to? 

Probably singing. Although, I could see myself in art school. I think it would be pretty cool to sing in a jazz band.Maybe heavy metal but that’s probably because my ears aren’t tuned to appreciate it.

Where can we find more about you?

I’ve got a website – dinachionuzo.com. I’m on twitter – @DinachiOnuzo and Facebook – facebook.com/dinachionuzomusic.
You can also listen to my music at soundcloud.com/Dinachionuzo

Dinachi Onuzo’s debut EP, Come Out, is out now on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other online stores.

African Literary Evening

We are holding an African Literary Evening

An evening of reading, conversation and inspiraiton with the best of new generation African writers. The event will be a mixture of literature, poetry and spoken word performances, as well as a panel to discuss issues relevant to writers in the UK.

Topics
African literary evening November 2014
Is it possible to make a living as a writer?
The future of publishing in the UK: is it traditional publishing, self-publishing and collaborative publishing or hybrid publishing?
Beyond print: moving with the digital revolution: ebooks, podcasts, audio books and short films
Who is our audience? Our community or beyond?
Genres: moving beyond expectations placed on African writing

On the African Literary Evening panel are:

  • Abidemi Sansui – Author of several books
  • Abimbola Dare – who started her writing career as a blogger in 2006
  • Irenosen Okojie – Writer and Arts Project Manager
  • Tolu Popoola-Publisher, Accomplish Press.
  • Adura Ojo – Author, poet, and blogger
  • myself Tundun Adeyemo

Plus many more

This African Literary evening takes place on Saturday 8th November 2014. 5-8pm at The Proud Archivist, 2-10 Hertford Road, London N1 5ET

Our host is Mr David G Balogun and the tickets cost just £5

Book your ticket on eventbrite

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/african-literary-evening-tickets-12822098241

The Queen of Words: Adura Ojo Uncovered!

Adura Ojo is a British-Nigerian author, poet, blogger and a mother of two. She is the author of ‘Life is a Woman Breaking Eggs’ – her debut poetry collection. She is a graduate of English, Law and Social Work. She has worked as a lecturer, trainer and mental health practitioner. Her work is published in Sentinel Champions, Sentinel Nigeria, The Poetic Pinup Revue, and a number of websites. She lives in the UK where she is currently working on her debut novel and a second poetry collection.  She spoke to Tundun Adeyemo recently and here is what she had to say.
                                                                           
Why this collection of poetry, why now?
 
I wanted to do some stocktaking – write about how fragile life is and I wanted to do this from my point of view as a middle aged woman who has lived for a while. ‘Breaking eggs’ is about trauma; it is also about living outside of society’s rules. It could also mean surviving on the margins of society. It can be life affirming as in ‘finding the yolk’ to be your own person or it can really mess up a person’s life The ‘breaking eggs’ experience becomes a marker in one’s life for good or bad. The collection is divided into three sections: Albumen, Yolk and Woman to identify three spheres of human experience from childhood to adulthood. Along with that, there are philosophical themes and ideologies that go into each section.
Has your dad read your collection? What are his thoughts on Dance with my Father?
Unfortunately, my dad is at that stage of dementia where he can no longer read and process thoughts like the average person. Conversation is difficult most days due to memory and thought processing issues. My ‘before dementia’ dad would approve and so will my ‘after dementia’ dad. He is still the same person. 
 The poem on domestic violence, how personal or otherwise is that? You work on themes and life events, what prompted that poem?
                                                                                
Yes, my poems are based on life events. I ensure that I strip each poem of any characteristics that may link to a particular individual. Some of the poems are also about me. What I’ve done is fuse experiences wherever possible so that the people in my poems and I are one.  As a social care professional I have worked closely with survivors of domestic violence. Women’s issues are close to my heart. That particular poem (‘Girlfriend’) is a montage of survivors whose stories have impacted on me in a profound way.
You use a lot of imagery and every day words.  Was it hard work connecting with your audience?
I’m pleased with the feedback from readers so far. I have an international audience on my blog: ‘Life is a Woman.’ Most of my readers are fiction readers and writers who don’t usually read poetry. They tell me that they find my poetry accessible and that’s why they read it. I’m happy about this because it is one of the reasons I write poetry – to reach those who would not usually give poetry the time of day.                                                                
 
Is there a place for African poetry? Would you describe ‘Life’ as a collection of African poems?
There is definitely a place for African Poetry. There are awards that focus on African Poetry. African poets have a voice. That voice is diverse in its many tongues but it is also a unique voice.
My debut collection – ‘Life’ – is a reflection of who I am. I have lived across two cultures and this is reflected in my poems. So a poem like ‘French’ or ‘Keys’ would have a British overtone. ‘Owu Rubutu’ and ‘Sisi’ have an African flavour. Some other poems like ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Eggs Crack Easy’ are distinctly African as they portray the diaspora experience from the point of view of someone who is proud of their African ancestry.
 Why should a man buy your book?
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‘Life’ is a collection for everyone irrespective of gender. ‘Life’ is about humanity and its challenges, survival, cultural identity and the diaspora experience, and issues of poverty and bad leadership on the continent. These themes are explored from the poet persona’s point of view but that does not make the collection exclusive to women unless we are saying that men do not want to listen to a woman’s opinion on these issues.
Your poems evoke strong feelings. Which of your poem did you write whilst crying or in a broken place?
I have been told this. I’m still speechless when I get that feedback. One of my writer friends said Ojo was the hardest to read as it affected her the most. I had no idea it would come across that way. I would say “The Broom” and “Ojo” were written in emotional spaces that I found difficult to contain. I’m relieved both poems are out of me. XY20 was hard to write too. I edited the poem many times. I was concerned that the person would be dehumanised in some way. It’s a reflective poem about a young man who came to my attention some years ago. I did not work with him but his story stayed with me for a long time. What happened to him said something profound to me about how fragile our humanity is. I could not graphically describe the actual experience in the poem so I euphemised it as ‘foetal absurdity.’ Writing these experiences out of my head is therapy. It is therapy that no money can buy.
   Who is your audience? Your fan base cuts across nationalities it seems.
My audience is everyone who wants to read the stories and thoughts of real people. My audience cuts across Australia, India, USA, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Congo, Sweden, Spain and France. And those are the ones that I know.
 How did you build this up?
I joined some writing clubs. We have writing challenges and got to know one another on various online writing circuits.
How long have you been writing for?
I’ve been writing since 2004. I penned two columns for the Sunday Independent in Nigeria, as a freelance columnist. ‘London Calling’ and a Romance Series, ‘Tequila Secrets.’
       Has this brought you Fame or Money? Neither.
            I’m in it for the therapy primarily.  Would not mind some money though.
    You are also a publisher and an editor, a writer and a blogger. When do you have the time to put family in?
 It’s always a challenge. Sometimes I have to be mean with my time, sometimes I’d strongly feel the need to nurture and ditch all roles except mothering. *Smiles*
Tell us about the publishing side of things.
The publishing imprint is Lafia. It is based in London, England. It has an international reach. We are particularly interested in non-fictional or semi-autobiographical  life stories. We would also look at poetry and short story collections. But we would consider novellas and novels. We have a lot of flexibility in our author packages. One is bound to find one to suit. Some manuscripts are already in and the website is not even up yet. It’s an exciting time. Interested parties should email: lafiapublishers@gmail.com
     Where can people find your book online and in hard copy?
Currently, it is on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. We’re working on getting it to other platforms.
   Who will you be giving your book to as Christmas present?
My mum
  What 3 books changed your life?
Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice
Buchi Emecheta: Second Class Citizen
Barack Obama: Dreams From My Father
     Poetry or fiction?
Poetry
What is your favourite poem and why?
‘I rise’ by Maya Angelou. It makes me dance and cry at the same time. Joyous tears.
   Who is your favourite poet.
Recently deceased US writer Maya Angelou and London based Somali poet, Warsan Shire.
I  can’t choose between the two.
   Why should anyone buy your book?
 It is an inspiring and refreshing collection of poems. It will make you sing, dance, but also misty eyed. It is a sober reflection on humanity, our country, continent, and the diaspora experience. It is also a reminder of the challenges facing women, a celebration of womanhood and of identity and strength.
                                                                                            
     Do African writers stand a chance in the UK?
What I see is that we do not support each other. We are very selfish as a community. Everyone is out for just themselves. Take the promotion of my book for instance. People will not even click to ‘like’ a page. It takes just a few seconds to ‘like’ a page or share a status!  I have had more support from people outside of the Nigerian community. I have had fantastic support from my Australian, Indian and American friends than from my own ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters.’ The problem starts with us. We should support each other before we expect others to carry our cross. Charity begins at home.
Tundun Adeyemo