- Funmi Iyanda
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Typically, there is tremendous pressure on people, including criminals to meet the demands of the season. It is therefore expedient to remind us of certain risks associated with the season and how these could be mitigated.
*Be alert and aware of your environment. Keep low profile.
*Always secure gates, doors and windows to your residence.
*Ensure security lights are functioning.
*Do not give vital/personal information to persons unfamiliar to you.
*Always let close family members know where you are going, and when you would likely return.
*Vary your route to work or leisure locations.
*Avoid late outings unless it is absolutely necessary.
*Avoid crowded places.
*Always have your mobile phone with you, in case you have need to make emergency calls.
*Do not discuss financial matters in the open.
*Avoid huge cash transactions. Use ATMs or online transfers, where necessary.
*When coming out of a bank, watch out for suspicious movements.
*Do not carry black polythene bags or big brown envelopes. It may attract criminals.
*Always pre-plan your journey and ensure the vehicle is in good working condition. If you must travel by public transport, use registered and well known transportation companies.
*Discuss travel details only with family members.
*Do not give ride to strangers, including persons dressed in uniform, as they may be armed robbers in disguise.
*Stick to main roads and avoid lonely routes.
*On approaching a checkpoint, stop and obey all instructions
*If at night, turn on your interior lights some distance away from the checkpoint.
*If chauffer driven, brief driver on your expectations of his behaviour on the road.
*When going out (cinema, shopping mall etc), always keep children close to you.
*Discourage children from talking to, or receiving gifts from strangers. It could be a bait for kidnap.
*In the event of an Incident occurring, Comply, Comply and Comply with the demands of the criminals. DO NOT RESIST; DO NOT ARGUE. Do not play the Hero.
*Do not make eye contact with the criminals as they may think you want to identify them later.
*Seek permission from the criminals before making any sudden body movement, such as unfastening seatbelt etc.
*Be calm. Remember, most criminals are under the influence of drug and alcohol and will pull the trigger at the slightest provocation.
Always remember: Your safety is paramount, loss of personal possessions is temporary but your life is irreplaceable.
In an Emergency
Dial Lagos State Emergency Response on 767 from MTN, Glo, Zain, Multilinks & Starcomms.
Report incident to the nearest Police Station
How was the Salah holiday?
I found these pictures from New Dawn archives and thought of sharing it with you
FI on the way to the life class
1. that she’s shy
2. that she’s a glutton
3. that she’s a shameless (because she’s not really good at it) untiring dancer
4. that she’s a poor student, been trying to learn to swim, play tennis and the piano on and off for years.
5. that she’s serious minded but do not take herself too seriously.
It happens all the time but this time someone has it on tape (okay they had the atiku one on tape too but that was then) and we are angry and organizing.
This latest madness was brought to my attention a few days ago and in that time l have spoken with, contacted and got the support and commitment of over 30 top editors, media personalities, reasonable politicians, civil organizations and activists to step up and stand against this.
I hear they are trying to resolve this "internally", but l say no this is not about an individual but about what we will or will not accept as a nation.
Please raise a voice and join a call for swift and severe punishment to this unadmirable admiral and to send out a warning to his ilk.
I had refused to be part of the sort of Obamamania that saw the fiasco of the Madam stock exchange led “Africa for Obama” fund raiser which culminated in her embarrassing boast about carrying an American green card. I was a Hilary supporter, won over by unfolding history but more importantly I am a supporter of true democracy and courage both of which Obama embodies and which the American people saw, supported and elected. It is truly a special country.
Obama is a special man and the fact that everything has conspired to make this day happen is a sure sign that this is a moment that is ripe in history, it also gives me hope that he will indeed go on to be an extra ordinary leader such as the world requires now. He has shown the intellect, decency, courage and humility that can help make that happen.
So why am so sad? My fear has always been that in typical fashion, we will celebrate Obama mindlessly but fail to understand and do those little things that bring about such great moments in history. I fear that in the way we admire, enthuse about and consume the world’s most luxurious and innovative products but fail to make one of our own at any level of sophistication, we will enthuse and buy into Obamamania but we will not “do” Obama. We watch the brightness from such a beautiful spectre and like a fly become transfixed and immobile in the light, at best only flapping our enfeebled wings in admiration. Forever the fan, never the player.
Why is it that the same people who will raise questionable money for Obama will not support anyone or ideal or idea outside our own obviously rotten establishment? As Kenya celebrates the victory of the “son of the soil” and expands her airport to accommodate air force one, what did Kenya do to produce an Obama other than donate Kenyan sperms? Would an Obama have emerged in Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa?
I can ask those questions and paint a thousand similar scenarios but then I will be as guilty as the next person won’t I? The fact is both cynicism and conspiracy are emotional cop out and cowardly. The tendency is to be emotional about the past but analytical about the future when real bravery is being analytical about the past but emotional about the future. If we paint it bad enough we can excuse our inability to resolve it.
Therefore I ask those questions not to disparage Nigeria or Africa but to challenge her. Obama’s victory is not just his but a victory of the American way, the American people, from the early white abolitionists to the marchers, the protesters, the thinkers, the questioners, the sitters, the country, white, black, Hispanic, Asian and all other exotic mixes.
Obama will face huge challenges going forth and I am hopeful that he and the people of America will surmount them but what about us?
So this morning as I sit in my room, I take my own lesson from the Obama journey, I refuse to fashionably stifle my irrational love and belief in Nigeria or equally fashionably paper over her difficulties. Fanatism and atheism in any ideal be it religious, political or otherwise is easy, the continuous quest and grapple for situations of the highest honour to the most humans is the tough cookie and what life really must be about.
Therefore the question for me is how can we make a similar history ours? Like the Americans we are sick and tired of the establishment, the old guard and the old ways. We too and more so have serious economic challenges (please ignore those paid analysts) and even more than America and many countries of the world, we have real issues of education, development, health and sundry.
How do we get to a similar moment?
I think we must go back to Rosa. One commentator beautifully put it thus; Rosa Park sat so Martin Luther can march, Martin marched so Obama can run and Obama ran so our children can fly.
So even as I make a clarion call to us all, I am aware that we cannot fully control the path of history but we must be aware that the laws of the universe are set and one of those laws is that all great things begin with a little thing which when occurring has no true inkling of the way in which its littleness will be transformed into greatness far beyond its wildest imagination.
So even as Nigerians rightfully join the rest of the world (especially the black world) in popping the champagne, I think more importantly is a need for both collective and individual sober reflection on the real beauty of this story, the audacity to hope that a new way can prevail and the willingness to do all that is necessary to achieve this in the most inclusive, intelligent and honourable way.
That sober individual reminder and rededication is the ritual l am performing this morning, the purging of the self of greed and fear which is what drives what we know and the embracing of true often humbling courage to figuratively either sit, march or run in the smallest things and smallest ways firmly believing that one day it will gather its own momentum as all things must. It is not for the now, not for me, not for us but for our children and their children, anything less is sub human. Are we not tired of being less?
For me, I am reminding myself of what is most important and what my core values are, last week, as part of my new show’s pilot, I spoke to people from VI to Obalende and the difference in experience cannot be more painfully graphic. As I stood at the filthy bus stop amongst the multitude in the sun talking, I was aware of my destiny but fearful of the responsibility. This morning I lost my fear and silently steel myself for the kind of role I must play going forth, a role, which the entirety of my life thus far has prepared me for. To do it the way I must, may mean losing support from established financial and political order but it’s a risk I am willing to take, a risk I must take.
For that reminder, I thank Mr. Obama.
Today is the day for the US presidential elections 2008 featuring two giants-Barack Obama and John McCain. Some Nigerians like any other US citizens are eager to see “their” candidate in the White House. This is a waiting game.
Kachifo Limited, publishers of the Farafina Imprint, would like to invite you to a book reading and book signing session.
Eghosa Imasuen, author of To Saint Patrick will be reading at Bambuddha Restaurant/Lounge bar,
Eghosa Imasuen was one of the participants at the 2007 International Creative Writing Workshop organized by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and sponsored by Fidelity bank.
To Saint Patrick and other Farafina publications will be available at the venue. The first five people to arrive the venue will get free copies of the book!
See you there!
Saturday, October 18th 2008 @ 1309A, Karimu Kotun Street. V/Island (red gate next to Marco Polo restaurant)
Tell a friend, bring a friend, Hope to see you there!
The recent accounts of child abuse perpetuated in the much maligned name of God leaves me incandescent with rage and wanting to inflict bodily harm, lynch mob style. Recently the child witch saga climaxed for me with the raping to death of an 11 yr old girl submitted to a pastor BY HER OWN MOTHER for cleansing of witchcraft. The man left all alone with this girl raped her over days until she died and he fled. Her corpse was found with blood seeping from her vagina. I cannot find the link to the Nigerian daily that reported this but I will scan and put it up shortly.
I can imagine that all this pedophile had to to do was point out a witch child he was lusting after amongst his congregation and the idiotic parent would hand them over unsupervised for any length of time for this demon to rape to his hearts content.
I don kolomental finish!
When in heavens name did chaining children, flogging with wires, rubbing pepper on them, starving and burning become acceptable because some evil demonic charlatan claiming to be anointed by God labeled them witches?
When did we lose our humanity? The abuse and murder of children under the cloak of religiosity has got to stop! Why oh why do religious leaders in Nigeria shy at taking the lead in tackling matters they can have the most impact in solving? If the church is used as a cloak for child abuse, and murder in a way that is even making international headlines shouldn't leaders create a plan to shut down these evil ones masquerading as persons of God?
What is my government doing?
What are we doing?
Last year a journalist from the UK actually came down and did a documentary in Akwa Ibom about these shameful trends.
One thing that struck me was how quick parents and guardians are to believe unscrupulous so called persons of God who tell them their kids or wards are witches. Witches who are responsible for all their bad luck. Of course they prey mainly amongst the poor. In our new culture of blame we attribute our problems not to our selves our bad leaders but to supernatural powers. Nothing is our fault. Taking it to the most vulnerable we can work out our frustrations on seems to be the next step. It used to be old people now we need to add children to this sad mess. At least some outraged people were struggling to care for the cast off kids that survived.
The parents now allow the demons to be cast not through the usual means of prayer but with brutal beatings, starvation, shackling in chains and other atrocities that often leave children dead or damaged for life. I actually heard of a case in Calabar were the neighbours in 'a face me I face you style' compound reported the parents and the pastor to the Police.
We are all guilty of letting this continue. I have a neighbour whose little sister is so painfully awkward in company it is disturbing. She keeps her eyes down when talking and always looks scared. I recently found out her back is a mess of scars administered by her own sister because she has been fingered as a witch by her church. She is beaten regularly, forced to fast and endure untold abuse.
In such cases all parties should be cautioned first then if necessary arrested, named, shamed and made to face the law.
The Police should stop treating abuse as a family matter.
It is a criminal offence.
If you feel a child is a witch then pray for them.
I cant recall reading that Jesus tortured any person he delivered let alone a child.
I have had conversations with people I formerly felt were normal trying to rationalize what they felt were acceptable levels of punishment for witch children. People who fail to understand that they have contributed to all the murders and the rape of that poor 11 year old girl.
Sadly the few Nigerians active in fighting these injustices are overworked, unappreciated, under funded and undermined by our hear no evil, speak no evil attitudes.
What do we do?
I do believe that I have in my usual loud-mouthed manner declared my love for music to you (as though you care or should care). I’ll say it again anyway, whether it irritates you or not (this is my kingdom), I do so very much love music. I have no particular preference but I cannot stand hard-core rap, metallic rock or moronic deep country music, thank you very much. The music I listen to or dance to depends squarely on my moods. I love music from al cultures, all languages, all over the world, but the rule for me is this, the music must have life, soul and verve. I loved Latin music before the gorgeous Ricky Martin ignited the world with his delicious hip jerking, chest straining drop dead gorgeous form of salsa pop or the bodacious appeal of Jennifer Lopez or the sensational success of Carlos Santana. I love Makossa and most African influenced music that encourage the shake of the backside, the swirl of the skirts, the rolling of waists and shaking of chests; male and female is great for me.
My favourite singer is Tina Turner, she has such life, such vamp, every time you see or hear her, she exudes such energy and fun, it lights you up. No matter how bad a mood I am in, play Tina’s simply the best and if the environment is right, I would get on a table and do the hip swinging, leg kicking, hair shaking Tina dance.
Now, regardless of the type of music or its origin, I play premium attention to lyrics, I appreciate poetry and a well-constructed song gets me all the time (if it’s done in a language I can understand). Maybe I dislike hard-core rap and metallic rock because I mostly cannot ear what the heck they are yakking about and when I do they are insulting their mamas, celebrating violence, worshipping the devil of glorifying crime, careless sex and materialism. I have always been a sucker for love songs, burn me and scatter my ashes on river foolish but I have to admit it to you, I am a hopeless love song lover. I believe in love and pity people who die without experiencing true love. I have often heard people snigger about the existence of the kind of love that would inspire lyrics like this in Aerosmith’s song, I don’t want to Miss a Thing:
I could stay awake just to hear you breathing, watch you smile whilst you were sleeping, whilst you’re far away in dreamland, I could spend my life in the sweet surrender, I could stay lost in this moment forever. ‘Cos every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure. Don’t want to close my eyes, don’t want to fall asleep cause I’ll miss you girl, and I dont want to miss a thing. If you have never felt like this about anybody and are unwilling to, you have not lived.
Asked to give his thoughts on love, the eighteen-century scholar and philosopher Khalil.. said, love will give your life and it will kill you but how dare you live your life without experiencing it.
An indefinable emotion, love like life is paradoxical, it is so wonderful but so fragile. Like life, the moment it is born, it starts to die. It is as though it is not meant to be. A baby, born today, all wonderful, all good, and all precious. Then immediately the forces to take that life begin to encroach, the quality and quantity of the life before it dies is dependent on how you treat that fragile gift all your life. Often times, the factors that determine its quality and/or longevity are out of our control. It is the same with love. It will give you joy which is indescribable but it will give you unimaginable pains too. From the moment of birth, forces of death start to encroach, finances, work, family, race, health all will conspire to kill it. However like life, love never really dies, it changes form and subject but it lives forever. Death in one form does not distract itself from the beautiful gift of life that it is.
Can one fall out of love? Yes I think but it is not so much that you no longer love the other it is that the forces of death have conspired to force a change of form in that love. You never really stop loving anyone you felt true love for, if the pain overpowers the joy, then love changes form and you move on. Perhaps you will get luck and find another. Perhaps not, but my friend, I tell you, do not dare go through life without experiencing all the agony and joy of love. This wonder has nothing to do with marriage (which may be one of the factors anyway), a few lucky ones for whom they feel the gift of love, but like all things precious, it is rare. That however is all the more reason to appreciate love when it chooses you, a bit of heaven and hell on earth, a wonder, to balance it the love songs (no be say I no dey hear yawa music at all o) I listen to the likes of Betty Wright and Millie Jackson. That way one learns to laugh at love and all the foolishness it engenders but never let it be said that it never happened to you.
I am an incurable believer in love, if I have to convince anyone any more about its existence such a one is not worthy of my time or cursor. If love changes for me, I will try again, if it burns me, I will display the scars proudly for my next adventure. It kills me, I will rise again for what is life? Life? Love? Somehow, I don’t see the difference, do you? Just play another love song. Someone is bound to wonder if I am freshly in love or something of the sort. Well, perish the thought. I have been looking through my CD collection and at the myriad of ways people have tried to articulate a truly enigmatic emotion and decided to contribute my bit.
I will never be a bitter old woman disillusioned by love, heck no! I will celebrate love with all its palaver and tell hilarious stories of great loves and love gone awry in my last days. That is my hope.
FI is still dealing with the challenges of Monday’s incident.
However, I know that FI will be interested in the following.
Besides she is looking forward to the Obama v McCain debate today.
Have a lovely weekend!
For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."
White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while if you're black and believe in reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school, requires it), you are a dangerous and mushy liberal who isn't fit to safeguard American institutions.
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.
White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives close to Russia--you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.
White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."
White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.
White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.
White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.
White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.
White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.
White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and then Harvard Business school, and yet, still be seen as just an average guy (George W. Bush) while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then to Harvard Law, makes you "uppity," and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.
White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and that's OK, and you're cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.
White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."
White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and even ask whether or not you ever sold drugs.
White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you "dangerously naive and immature."
White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because a lot of white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.
White privilege is, in short, the problem.
The much publicised Arugba, a new cultural inclined film by top Nigerian filmmaker, Tunde Kelani has been scheduled for screening at Silverbird Cinema and Lagos Television Channel 8 hall.
Apparently, the confidence built by his production outfit, Mainframe, is the buying power coupled with the fact that Arugba seeks to correct social disorder in line with UNESCO clamour for a rethink of local languages abandonment and cultural erosion.
The movie is written by Ade Adeniji and produced/directed by Tunde Kelani himself. The filmmaker explained that the collaboration is based on experiences got at the annual Osun Osogbo festival and the latter’s inspiration from his previous documentary about the festival.
Set against the backdrop of a corrupt society seeking cleansing, rebirth and nationhood, with all the attendant intrigues, Arugba must perform her annual traditional role of carrying the sacrifice in a procession to the river.
The line up for the public screening of Arugba begins at Silverbird from Friday 26th September through October 1, being Independence Day, while Lagos Television 8 hall is expected to begin showing from Saturday September 27th through 29th at 12noon, 3PM and 6PM daily.
You can watch the film’s interesting trailer here
On a brighter note, my beautiful, smart, funny and talented friend Chimamanda has won the Macarthur genius award, she and was told about it on her birthday but it was officially announced yesterday. It is of course just another of the many great things coming to her for there are few as deserving as herself. Her full potential is only just unfurling and one day will be unleashed on the world. We are kindred in our deep love for our country and even deeper wrangling with the realities of it and our role in that.
I watched our true reality in calm numbness.
I cannot blame the people, they are all operating in the way most humans will in such a hopeless situation but yet I blame the people, why do they not refuse to live like this? I blame myself, why do I not refuse to live like this?
Truth is I am right now too disorientated to do more than auto operate, I will get to the issues when I have clarity. Now I have two injured and hospitalized people to care for.
People often ask how we are able to take it all in our stride. This is one of the reasons: After the attack, a taxi driver who had witnessed it all came around and put my injured people in his taxi, drove them to the police station to get a report (you still cannot get treatment for gunshot wounds without police report even if you are bleeding your essence away) and then waited around to drive them to the hospital, ensure they were okay and then quietly left without asking for a dime. Only a Nigerian can understand the many risks he took. If any of the victims had died in his car, he would be in jail before he knew it and would need either a lot of money or a lot of years to get out.
It is because we recognize the potential in our people and ourselves for great acts of kindness and good that we keep going in this sometimes heroic, sometimes heinous existence. The question is, will we ever realize that potential and what will it take for us to do so?
I am doing my 8 year ritual, allowing the spirit of New Dawn infuse me as I centre my soul and spirit for the day’s show. It is an important ritual because I need calm and equanimity in case something goes wrong, usually a lot goes hilariously, painfully, frustratingly wrong. The one thing I swore to early on and a guiding principle of mine is that whatever the situation I am in, that part of the equation, which is in my control, will be done to my absolute brilliant best.
Thus when the set falls down, the generators pack up, the guests come late, storm off, get uncooperative or the whole days episode is lost in some idiotic production error I know that when that light blinks on my lead camera you will not see a sign of it on my face. For someone with my deeply felt, even deeper expressed emotions, this is a tough call but I do have my lights on war cry in my head which switches me back on. So you have times when I am so angry I could tear someone apart limb by limb or in so much pain I can barely stand or so hurt my spine shakes, I would swallow the tears, bite down the anger and stiffen my core to deliver a great performance. I have broken down and cried, I have spoken in deep anger and I have danced maniacally on TV but all in response to what is happening before the audience, never for any of the behind the scene drama (weeeell there was the bloody newsmagazine false story saga but that is another story) of which there were too numerous to mention.
I am very fond of my NTA years and I do admire, respect and love many of the people I worked with from management to crew but as an institution, NTA ..(trying to find a polite word here)… lets just say I have a future book to write called How Not To Do Television, My NTA years. I was warned of course, some of the best hands in the industry from Tunde Kelani to John Momoh, Abike Dabiri and Dejumo Lewis can write similar books.
I fear that I am beginning to bore you as you can sense there is some “beta gist” which I do not want to talk about for now, so quickly to what I can talk about.
I sat in the studio that morning in April, as usual, there is no electricity, the generator is not working, my guests are getting restless and my director is getting her pants in a twist because she fancies she can see a hint of a nipple through my NTA approved dress (no knees, no shoulders, no arms, no breasts) for the show. I keep supplies of body tape, shawls, legging, body suits and sewing kit for all such “emergencies” as we have had shot and approved (3 levels of censor verification) shows rejected at the network because of so called non complaint dress. Agatha Amata’s beautiful interview, the only one in which she spoke about her painful marriage break-up was rejected because the strap of her long dress was not wide enough. Agatha is a respected TV entrepreneur and host and a conservative dresser.
So I had gone backstage, taped my nipple into compliance and checked that I will not be leading any pious viewer astray when someone raised the issue of what we are allowed to talk to the guest about and not, this after getting approval to bring said guest on at all.
Usually I take it all in my stride, I did not win my success Digest award for tenacity and innovation for nothing. The whole of New Dawn’s experience with NTA, the frankly fraudulent advert agencies and clueless media owners has been one of the need to continually adapt, evolve and fight back. We were of course also guilty of naivety, poor negotiating skills and poverty although it is easy to forget that at the time we started there were no big sponsors (MTN’s second interview in Nigeria was on NEW DAWN) MNET had no Africa magic or interest in Nigerian content, no Silverbird, no independent productions on channels and so on.
Part of my love hate relationship with NTA, especially NTA 10 is a deep loyalty to the station for trusting a red haired, hot headed, quick tempered 29 year old to independently produce their flagship show, they gave me my voice. For that I will always love NTA 10. One of my driving desires is a need to get big enough to help some of the old retired hangs.
As the debate about whether we can have the guest or not died down and I am left alone in the studio, I sit in the darkness listening to one of my pep up songs on my ipod and suddenly I had clarity. The past 8 years slowly rolled along my minds eye, the first converted studio space, the years living in a guest house and driving from Festac at 5am, the wait for a proper studio, the battle to remain on air, the pregnancy, the birth, the people, the shows, the battles, the causes. I also saw the emerging media environment and how the challenges we keep battling with diminish the quality of work we do, I know I operate at 20% of my full talent capacity, I know the finished product has technical flaws but even its strength is watered down by the poor airing. I clearly saw that my warrior nature had fought so long, she did not realize the battle is won, the war is unimportant and it was time to let her creative medicine woman loose. Up until that moment I had failed to understand fully what people meant when they say, Funmi you can do so much more, you must do more. The truth was that somehow I had become afraid of success, I continued to fight a meaningless but familiar battle when there is a brand new territory to conquer.
Right there and then in that darkened studio and in that moment of clarity, I jumped, I shut down New Dawn and I stepped into my daytime. So when the studio light came on and that familiar red light on the camera, l winked conspiratorially at an old friend and announced to the shock of all that this will be the last quarter of New Dawn and I had eight more show to shoot.
When I made that announcement, we still had adverts running, we had opening for potential sponsor for the first time in eight years and our older shows were having a second life online plus I was getting a lot of recognition and accolades outside
The ongoing, sometimes painful, sometimes miraculous story of our transformation is something I may or not tell you in bits as we go on.
What I’d like to say though is this: I was done on the dawn, done with inspiring people (which I never set out to but honoured to have achieved), I am set now to ignite those who would like to come along with me to exciting new possibilities the beginning of which will be a brand new show.
The beauty of it all is that I am discovering that when your intentions are clear and unselfish and you are true to your DNA and journey, it is true that the universe does conspire to give to you that which you most deeply desire and richly deserve.
Hopefully, someone out there may recognise themselves in a situation similar to mine and jump but don’t worry, by Monday, I’ll stop this cloying internal haemorrhage on virtual paper and join you and the rest of the world in minding other people’s business.
Have a great weekend.
Just got a call from a distraught fan in
So let me state that NEW DAWN is still airing on NTA Network till the end of September after which more videos will be available on line. There is also the possibility of re runs on other networks in
We grumble as we must but deep down I think we are all invested in the believe that, the bridge repairs are a necessity and all of this will soon be over. Beyond all these my hope is that we are never in the sort of situation that caused the 30 year development stagnation, which saw that we did not have more roads, and bridges built in that period. How? By not standing by when someone admits he paid a hire assassin (aka juju man) N500m to dispose of a vexatious boss. This just reinforces my sneaky suspicion that most modern day juju men are having more con that magic. Why bother excise your dodgy juju powers when you can simply spend a minute fraction of your fees arranging a mysterious accident?
Bad leaders thrive usually because of all or any combination of ignorant, complacent, conspiring or conniving follower ship as well as a weak systems and processes of governance. No l won’t start.
Otherwise, I am hanging in there and you know what? I (please stress) know the best times and routes to do the great commute.
So why did I shut down NEW DAWN when it is the highest rated, most watched talk show in Nigeria and in the top 5 overall best TV programme in Nigeria, beaten only by multi talent, big budget family soaps and comedies like the damn Mexican soaps, the addictive Fuji house of commotion and the favoured superstory series. Surely I must be mad…. Well hold that thought, I really must leave now to beat the traffic, I will tell you the truth tomorrow.
A lot happened in those seven weeks which I systematically intend to bore you with. It spanned four countries and three continents and before you start sneering about boastfulness and immodesty, quell your inner green monster and admit that as a 37 year old crabby bitch who has been working since age 16 and been in the harse klieg lights for the last 10 years I should be able to afford my insanities and excesses. I no be your mate o, just because I dey follow you wear knickers with leggings (yes I do, I intend to age disgracefully).
Talking about you young urns, why cannot a person go shopping or eating in peace without running into y'all moonlighting as waiters, sales assistants and attendants whilst going to universities around the world? I am so often accosted by ex new dawners (they've been watching me since they were in secondary school so what does that make me) who are focused on getting an education and coming back home that I began to feel a ridiculous sense of protectiveness and responsibility towards them. You know, some sad mother then need to prepare Nigeria for them so we don't loss their skills, energy and talents, as though I could.
These army of young people brightened my days, helped get bargains and also unwittingly spoiled show for me. Here is a typical scenario, I walked into Ann Summers (put your eyebrows down jo!) hunting for a special lubricant the child had told me to get as well as nipple tassels for my agent provocateur witch bra when a friendly assistant squealed, "oh you are aunty Funmi Iyanda aren't you, I love you, I love your show, we used to watch you back home, my mum likes you my grandpa……." Tell me how I am to face this bright faced young woman with my planned purchase, I respected myself and bought a nice saintly nightie.
I did make myself useful apart from the fun and games (the shrimp and co joined somewhere along the line) and excessive consumption and shopping (I found a pair of carries blue milanos in the sex and the city film, the one she forgot in the flat and a blood red patent version of Vivienne Westwood's iconic nurse's platforms on sale! Two urban legends!!). I finished my Tutu fellowship program at the fabulous Oxford Said business school (complete jist later) and volunteered time and skills at a young friends' start up NGO.
To maintain the momentum I shall after work hang out with my gorgeous friends including today's birthday girl (she will slay me) Chimamanda Adichie whom I find that a lot of uppity type psuedo literary oyinbos (white people to be non pc) like to lay ridiculous claim to in several corners of the world.
I am yet to read the news or get into the mad traffic so I know I will soon revert to my default angry Lagosians setting but you know what? I doubt if I'd have it any other way. I love my Nigerian existence and I cannot imagine anywhere else where I can experience the complex documented spectrum of human emotions as well as those still unknown to man, as I can in this city. Surely that is living but once I begin to lose my sense of humour, I step back again to regain perspective and for that l am grateful to God and thankful for the ability to.
E ku ile o, the cat is back. Miaow!
Enjoy the highlights
The “epic” final will takes place on Saturday, 23 August at 5.00am Nigerian time. My whole body is ready for the final; my generator is ready for the task. I cannot rely on NEPA or PHCN for the day. They are bound to disappoint me.
Moreover, the Saturday game made me to flash my mind back at the 1996 final where we met the same Argentina at the Sanford Stadium.
It is going to be a great day, because Dream Team is our only hope for medal at this Summer Olympics. Kudos to the Samson Siasia's boys