Happy Birthday Bro

It was Nnanna’s birthday yesterday, you see, he is my favourite person in this world. We grew up together in the same houses. Nnanna and I are siblings: Brother and Sister. Over the years I have learnt so much from my brother, one day he tweeted “I am not your role model” and it got me thinking about the way we live our lives as model children, poster children for good upbringing, home training and manners especially in our social media world. That tweet made me recoil, at first it was “what is this boy saying?! Doesn’t he know that he is expected to be a good kid? That being a good kid must mean that he is a role model?” Later it was, “This role model banter is really stifling, ‘Big Brother’ is watching kind of stifling. One cannot simply drink water and drop cup because one KNOWS that the world is watching. Which kind of Orwellian wahala?” So I came to see where my brother was coming from when he made the tweet and my heart opened up to the option of a new alternative.

Let me talk a little bit about privilege: Due to the way my parents and role models brought me up, I think anybody who has any kind of privilege e.g. Good education, etc. has a responsibility to use their privilege-given access to help out in some way, even if it means simply showing a good example by living an honest life, you know, just to demonstrate to others that having privilege means that you must live an honest life. You follow? So this my perspective on how a privileged life must be led, albeit naive, is what I tried to practice and even standardized for others like Nnanna to live by, hence my initial reaction.

A bit of background: My family is Nigerian, Christian, and Educated. The Holy Book has codified the way we as Christians should live our lives and an important aspect of this is excellence. Bible says we are heirs of the father, we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, we are wonderfully and fearfully made, we have been called by the father etc. For my Nigerian Christian family, this means that in the lives we live we must portray the word of God as a way of evangelism which can also be seen as being role models to others that are not yet saved. In practice, we must do well in school, always show respect to everyone, don’t fight, don’t fornicate, clubbing? What is a club? Smoking? If you must smoke do it secretly because it is not a good look as a child from a Christian background and the list goes on and on. It is what I will call Church Culture: this is a consciousness that is cultivated in the minds of Christian children from a very young age, to live by example. I don’t think these rules are bad, instead I think they help to breed adults that end up living in a bubble at best and at worst, being extremely judgmental of everybody else that strays from Church Culture.

My brother has taught me that being who you are by just living your life is the way to go. It is better to be your modest, humble, brilliant self than to be all these things just for the approval. It is best to live your life and know that you are attracting the people who really like you for who you are, than to live in the gaze of those watching out for when you make a mistake. Nnanna showed me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to occupy my space in this world, people will eventually be fine. More importantly, I am accepting that it is ill advised to change with the weather ever so often, for the sake of pleasing people. We are young, intelligent, beautiful and handsome individuals, we are also prone to making mistakes and we mustn’t always judge ourselves harshly. I hope this post makes you think about image and lifestyle and all that good stuff!

John 14:15  “If you love me you will keep my commandments”.



 

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Diary – IJEOMA W.

Ijeoma shares a story of her family, values, and how she has incorporated higher education as self development in her life’s journey with online learning tools.

4TH MAY 2017, 12:31 AM

Learning is infinite in my family. We go to school, rest small, and then go back to school.

My mommy once said to me “You know in this family we are not traders or “business people”, what we do is book, so please read.” Both my parents have at different points in their lives studied for six degrees (combined), including professional certificate examinations. I have known about online education for a hot while now, at a point when I was in secondary school the dinning table in my house was practically a satellite university campus because my daddy was taking a Master’s degree program from a foreign university via the internet. Last year my Uncle Roman Oseghale graduated from the prestigious Telfer School of Management and Centre for Executive Leadership, University of Ottawa, Canada and last week he was the 8th speaker at The Platform. Essentially, “Book” is central to who I am becoming because my role models figuratively said so.

I took my first online course before I turned 18. The thing about having access and privilege is that if you don’t use it, it would have been a waste. On a rather uneventful day in my dorm room (shouts out to Manuwa Hall, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus), I had the opportunity of stumbling upon this website called COURSERA DOT ORG and I became very interested in learning what I was being taught in the classroom by myself, at least the courses I could find, so I started taking online courses that mirrored what my lecturers were teaching me in the classroom.

Part of it I will attribute to sheer curiosity. Coursera offered courses from Universities I could only dream about at the time, the first one I chose (and completed) was by Duke University, my friend Sanmi Oyenuga was studying Engineering there, I wanted to know what being a student at Duke felt like so I stayed up all night, having physically attended lectures during the day, learning and watching all these free lecture videos on my HP laptop with reliable internet courtesy of the “Lionet @ Manuwa” router that was conveniently mounted very close to the Mango tree whose leaves I could pluck if I put my hand through the pigeonhole in front of my room. The WiFi was strongest at night (back when Lionet was still Lionet, oh the sweet memories).

The internet has been good to me. So far, I have expanded my knowledge base and I am open to learning more about the world around me. I have started this free Bioethics course by Harvard University on edX.org today. It started in April, slated to end in October. I hope I finish it within the stipulated 7 weeks at a personal pace of 2 to 3 hours of study per week. Where I’m from, they measure accomplishments based on how much “Book” you know and how many lives you use your knowledge of “Book” to change for the better. I figured, I have unlimited internet data and I want to be successful in my village so why not take a course? On the 25th of April I watched a movie: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, based on a book of same name credited to the incredible medical investigative journalist, Rebecca Skloot, two days ago my Americanah friend Ayi Daniels reminded me of the uproar that is Roe vs Wade and today I signed up for Professor Cohen and the team at HarvardX to school me on Medical Ethics, a course my lecturers have previously taught me in class, just because life is all about patterns, haha.

Thanks for reading to the end, buy yourself a bottle of Fanta!


Originally Posted On Facebook.

All-Inclusive

Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

‘Tis the season to be jolly! And to deal with your family members, once again! It is also snowing on my blog! I don’t recall setting snow but let us enjoy this little gift of snowballs dropping while we read this blog post now shall we?

Emonena turned the big eight-o two years ago, it feels like such a long time ago but I remember the details of that event so vividly because it was the last time most of my family members came together to party in December and…wait for it…IN THE VILLAGE, If you are Nigerian I’m sure you already know what this means. It was Christmas at Grandma’s! People do not easily forget Christmases spent at their Grandma’s or do they? I don’t know.

Emonena is my Grandmother, she’s also the one I get my Ajebutter-ness from, yes, totally. When she turned 80, her babies and other people who absolutely love and respect her decided to throw her a big birthday bash, it was phenomenal. They shut down the village, literally.

Emonena ran an all-inclusive household and she raised her babies to be all-inclusive in their ways. What do I mean by this? Here’s a little back story that will help you understand where this blog post is going:

Two nights to the big party, my mother and her sister teamed up, they decided to organize all the Grand babies a.k.a Third Generation to which I belong, to learn a song and a dance, and we were going to perform this song and dance in honour of Emonena at the party (and we did). In the course of organizing the third generation to harness their collective creative talent, different important questions arose. The one question that inspired this post was from littlest cousin, Tamara, she asked “Why is *Rapulu dancing with us when OUR Grandma is not her Grandma?” Rapulu and Tamara are around the same age, Primary school age, Rapulu’s parent is either my Grandma’s friend or beneficiary and by the reason of Emonena’s 80th birthday bash, there were at least 10 different Rapulus in the house with us, they were all expected to participate in the song and dance. Emonena meant something important to all their parents, in diverse ways, but the fact remained that Emonena was not their Grandmother and Tamara in all her innocence did not understand why they (The Rapulus) were invited to perform in Emonena’s song and dance. Looking back, it was a monumental success, considering all that went down in the two days and nights of rehearsals before the main event, whew, dealing with family (especially teenagers and young children) can be very, very stressful not to mention getting them to learn a song in Isoko and teaching them how to do the electric slide, thankfully they had the shoki part of it all covered. Shouts out to my mommy and my aunty and everyone who contributed, especially Emonena who sat outside in the cold with us during rehearsals, best believe she did.

In an all-inclusive household, All Lives Matter. There is no outsider, everybody is an insider. Big Mama’s House vibes, you follow? Emonena is the reason why being all-inclusive is now one of my personal values, and I don’t mean this in a I-am-Mother-Theresa-of-Calcutta way, or any way in fact. It is just something I have come to learn about myself; that I make people feel at home quite fast, which in itself is not a very wise thing to do, considering the fact that people are inherently wicked and jealous and unkind and filled with bad intentions. That being said, there are good people out there, people like Rapulu’s parents who are appreciative, who come back to say “Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

Merry Christmas!


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Ajebutter – noun – if you behave like your father has money, people will say you are an Ajebutter, i.e you eat Butter at home.

Rapulu – an Igbo phrase which literally translates to “Leaving work”, also someone’s name.

Isoko – Ethnic group in Nigeria with it’s own language and food and everything unique to an ethnic group

Shoki – Contemporary Nigerian Dance Step, the jury is still out on who the originator is. Google if you may.

Buy The Song

My friend from before the war, KidMarley has 2 EP’s to his name AND YOU SIMPLY CANNOT DOWNLOAD HIS SONGS ILLEGALLY. He has sense.

What happened?

So today I wanted to buy Adekunle Gold’s album, GOLD, off SPINLET where I go to buy the type of music I like listening to (music in which language native to Nigeria is used alongside English language to make a masterpiece) and 4 different debit cards later “INTERNAL_ERROR(3)” told me ntor gi . I gave up. I asked Spinlet to send me a 2.00USD voucher via Twitter and *crickets*.

Why?

Music is inexpensive and everyone downloads illegally, which is not fair. So I buy CD’s in traffic when in Nigeria, albums online when not in traffic, or listen on YouTube when I have free WiFi/can’t afford the album/when it’s not the type of music I like (refer to the first paragraph) to have in my private collection or stash. I started buying music in 2014. I got Ajebutter22 -Anytime Soon and Asa  – Bed of Stone on third mainland bridge and since then through Spinlet I’ve added Flavour(nabania) – Blessed, Phyno – No Guts No Glory, Falz – Stories That Touch and Sean Tizzle – The Journey to my stash.

The Future

I want to buy Fela’s discography (for posterity and most importantly for the culture ) in VINYL!!! So I have been looking at hybrid turntables on Amazon….those things cost money. When I save up enough to afford one I will do a review-blog-post about the one I select, the process of buying, shipping, et cetera. I am in the market for an iPod, it will eventually mark my introduction to the iOS universe and it will also serve as a repository for my stash. An added advantage is I get to download iOS Apps that I NEED for medical school (this message is not sponsored by Apple, I wish it was). I hope my favorite musicians jump on the “Apple Music” bandwagon, just in case Spinlet decides to keep messing up I need to be able to BUY THE SONG from a trusted source. I haven’t looked at TIDAL and good ole SPOTIFY is not supported in my region, cry with me please.

Music and Me

The thing with Music and me is that I use music to store memories and emotions. It is something I discovered I could do as far back as 2011 and since then I’ve used it to my advantage. Other’s cram or use other means to retain big mental data, Ijeoma simply listens to music while she ruminates on the idea or concept that she’s trying to never forget and whenever she needs to recall (slow smile) she presses PLAY. All the details come back, it’s just like a movie. Wait, this happens to others too right?

A Little Bit of History

Our parents made my older sister and I start Piano from when I was around 3 years old, yes, I am a watered-down geek. I used to perform (musical prodigy) in parts of Lagos back in the late 90’s with my sister. I also own a Violin and it is PURPLE!!! (R.I.P Prince). My sister is a DJ, she plays the Piano + Guitar and my brother is interested in everything JAZZ, he’s currently in the market for an entry-level Saxophone. We once had a family friend visit and he looked around our living room and said he felt like he was in a recording studio (Laughs). My dad used to be a DJ in Enugu State in the 80’s, he also played the Guitar while my mom is a veteran Chorister of the Anglican Diocese – Delta state and Lagos state Nigeria respectively. Music is important to me and my loved ones, suffice to say I come from a very very “Musial Family”.

Conclusion

Frankly I’d like to see my favorite musicians earn monies from their art. My friend from before the war, KidMarley , has 2 EP’s to his name AND YOU SIMPLY CANNOT DOWNLOAD HIS SONGS ILLEGALLY. He has sense. The entire internet does not have MP3 copies of his music in circulation, you ask how? They’re all on his SoundCloud and anybody that must listen has to go there and play it from there. This way he gets to have total control of the distribution of his art and most importantly, profit from his art is assured. I wish other Nigerian musical businessmen and women were as smart.

Advice to Singers/Musicians: Monetize your art. This message obviously doesn’t apply to the artistes that create free music.

WORRY IS MADNESS is my favorite on the Days B4 Denim EP by KidMarley, I hope you enjoyed listening and reading. Please tell me your favorite Nigerian songs in the comments, right now I am loving Jukwese by  Humblesmith!



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EP – acronym – Extended Play: An EP is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP.

ntor gi – Igbo – sorry for you

Theory of a Dead Man

This short piece came in last night, upon my request if I must add and the author has asked to remain anonymous. He’s blogged here before so go figure who the mystery man is! If you so desire. 😉
Continue reading “Theory of a Dead Man”