Friday, December 05, 2008

More Literary Happenings in Lagos Dec '08

Another event worth checking out (Sunday 13th December 2008) if you happen to be in the Lagos Metropolis area this December as presented by Farafina...

Toni Kan - Booking Reading and Signing Event..

If you happen to be in Abuja around this time, check out acclaimed Nigerian author at a reading for his new book - Nights of the Creaking Bed - at the lovely Salamander Cafe (I have a belated review of the place that I must post) on Tues, 9th December 2008 @ 5pm.

Also, check out Cassava Republic for more details on this author and his works. Attend and support the revival of the Nigerian literary scene and authors worth watching.

The Antipathy of Love..

What do you do when love leaves?
When love stops talking to you, it stops seeing who you really are, it stops looking into your eyes,
When love stops loving you?
What do you do while watching love fade, watching it lose its lustre, its shine,
When it starts to lose its meaning?
What do you do when your heart stops skipping and fluttering and that, leaving an empty hollow sound...faint..
What do you do when loves walks past you and doesn't even stop to look at you anymore?
What do you do when love is dead.

This thing called love, so pure, yet so hard to keep, so strong, yet so frail, ..
The love that once was, just sits here, in the quiet, gazing with a blank stare,
wondering and waiting..
directionless, floating....
Gentle, now gone.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

An African View on the Sarah Palin Video

As featured on on Nov.3rd. Check out full article and commentary here.

An African View of the Palin Video
I just again watched the video clip of Sarah Palin being prayed for by the Kenyan preacher, Pastor Muthee, and for the sake of this article, paid special attention to what he said and his prayer points for her. I heard the following: prayer for favor; prayer for finances; righteousness; the breaking of yokes, prayer against hindrances of the enemy; and finally, the binding or rebuking of all forms of 'witchcraft' - words that have since sent America in a tail spin, wondering how Jesus and witchcraft can be mentioned or prayed for within the same sentence. I would like to try to explicate this from a couple of different perspectives.

First from an African perspective - Pentecostalism in Africa is quite mainstream. In the African tradition, even dating back to pre-colonial times, the average African s have always worn their spirituality on their person and have always been very closely linked to their spirituality, whether traditional, Christian or Islamic spirituality. It's never been hidden or considered something to be ashamed of. It is also not unusual in Africa to find a politician being closely affiliated to a religious leader, or to find him or her attending the service of a particular church on a regular basis, or being prayed for in a manner almost identical to that of this YouTube clip. Even if the politician is of a different religious affiliation such as Islam, it is not uncommon to find him calling on a Christian Pentecostal leader for prayer or guidance on a particular issue. Spirituality, on a very ordinary level, is a close part of the everyday African life.
Now, people in America see this clip of Sarah Palin and freak out and the incident literally becomes sensationalized in the media. But, you see in Africa, this is "normal". But Evangelicalism/Pentecostalism in the U.S. is not mainstream and many people here still consider them as something practiced by fringe elements. The interesting irony here also, is that as closely linked as America is to religion, for most intents and purposes, most Americans are still agnostic.

As seen from the clip, the notion of casting and binding evil spirits or rebuking every form of "witchcraft'' is very much in line with the principals of karma and the clearing or removal of negative spirits, negative forces or energy working against a person's ability to do or achieve good. It is not a literal reference to witches with wobbly pointed hats flying around on broomsticks waving a wand that turns a rabbit into a pigeon. Nor is it a direct reference implying that Sarah Palin or anybody else in such a congregation believes in witches and wizards per se.
Jesus himself can be found in the Bible casting out demons (see Mark 5:1-20).The clearing out of negative energy or spirits in a person to make room for good or better to take place is very much in line with the principles shared by ninety percent of many other religions. For example, Buddhist chanting as a form of prayer is an act of clearing away negativity around such a person in order to be able to receive good things or positive energy, is akin to a Christian prayer that says "to bind every negative hindrance working against you in Jesus Name". In the same vein, the principle of Jesus going up to a mountain to fast and pray (going without food or water) for 40 days to commune with God is very similar to Buddhist monks that shaved their heads, climbing to the top of a mountain to purify themselves by purging all negativity in order to enhance their ability to tune into the spiritual in an intense and as pure a manner as possible. The act of purging oneself of negativity has the same idea behind it, whether it is to affiliate it with God, if that is what is believed in, or to affiliate it to some other spiritual being or notion.

In Nigeria for example, the religious convictions of revered Christian (Pentecostal/Evangelical) leaders such as Pastor E.A. Adeboye of Redeemed Christian Church of God or Dr. D.K. Olukoya of MFM Ministries are not perceived as threatening by the general public because they generally stay within the confines of "religion" and do not try to spread their influences and beliefs into the political sphere. They have tended to keep their political views abstract and general -asking the government to help the people that they are governing or that the wealth of the land should be used for all people and not just a select few - thereby offending as few people as possible. But in the U.S., some people, Sarah Palin included, have political views that could be found detrimental to people in general. When one now associates all these different forms of intolerance with the practice of evangelicalism or Pentecostalism, then it now becomes understandable that Americans in general have a negative view of it or are troubled by it when they really shouldn't be. The spheres of extreme right wing politics and evangelicalism have co-mingled in such a way that one has now tainted the other when it shouldn't be that way.

I am a Nigerian-American, have grown up, lived and worked in both countries, and also a Christian of Pentecostal leanings. As a result I have the unique ability to be able to look at both sides of a coin and understand the sometimes-opposing standpoints. But that does not mean that

I believe in the political convictions of some American evangelicals that blatantly advocate for the assassination of America's perceived enemies, or the taking away of a woman's right to choose nor do I believe in aerial hunting, to mention a few.

As is popularly said in Nigerian Pentecostal churches, salvation is personal, not the law of the land.

Saymama's Best in City Series - Lagos v.1

Hi folks! I know, I know...
So! I’ve put together what will become one of many series based on my personal reviews and recommendations of certain things or places. This is my Lagos series highlighting where to find the best of certain things. These are my favorite things in Lagos that I can’t live without.

Best Cappuccinos in LagosCandies on Kofo Abayomi in Victoria Island; Orchid on Isaac John in GRA Ikeja

Best Croissants in LagosLa Saison - off Awolowo Road in Ikoyi (Tosan Cakes’ café); Chocolat Royale - Etim Inyang in Victoria Island

Best Breakfast in Lagos – (rankings 1-4 with 1 being the highest) Orchid on Isaac John in GRA Ikeja; 2. Candies - Kofo Abayomi in VI; 3.Chocolat Royale on Etim Inyang in VI; 4. Robert’s Café -Akin Olugbade Street, VI

Best Bread in Lagos – Hands down! And the award goes to Oasis Supermarket -Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, Ikeja; 2. Agoyin Bread from the clay ovens of central Lagos -off Igbosere Street; 3. Chocolat Royale in VI

Best Ofada Rice Lunch in Lagos - And the award goes to Terra Kulture - Tiamiyu Savage Street, Off Bar Beach Road, Victoria Island. Check out their newly updated website above. This is an arts centre that comes with a restaurant, art gallery, book store, to name a few. The rustic ethnic theme of the restaurant sets a somewhat cosmopolitan tone for the authentic nigerian cuisine on the menu. When in the mood for a lunch of very good Ofada rice in particular, this is the place to go as they have managed to maintain a consistency in the quality of this item on the menu. This is a great place for lunch with the girls or business meeting and get this -they actually have reliable WiFi! - in the event that you want to lunch and cyberwork on your lappie by yourself. Ofada and the internet go very well together.

Best Bookstore - Quintessence - Falomo Shopping Centre, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi - This is a unique Oasis that meshes art, books of African and Nigerian origin, magazines, ethnic nick-nacks, music with mellow but rich ambience that makes you forget the bustling madness that is Lagos. This is a favorite haven of mine. Don't be surprised if you go in there just to look around and you end up spending all the money in your purse or pockets. Perfect place for unique book or gift items too for friends local and abroad. Trully worth it.

Best Unique Shopping Experience in Lagos -(if you just wanna get that dress and go and possibly wear the same day or night ‘prêt a porter’)- Tiffany Amber -Palms Mall, Victoria Island(I must say though, that for that unexpected pleasant surprise in an outfit is what one gets on the off chance that you find yourself in a Tiffany Amber store. It beats me though as to why the company still does not have a website, even after 10 years in business! Even if its just for general information with a nice picture of an outfit on the main page. It's almost 2009 people!); Tae in GRA Ikeja; Jewel By Lisa - Ikoyi

Best (favorite) Cafes in LagosOrchid Bistro (can the real Dr. Robert please stand up!)in GRA Ikeja; Chocolat Royal (best and most courteous service); Candies on Kofo Abayomi (best salads and sandwiches in town; the waiters are a bit grumpy, but once you smile they soften up and smile back – usually. Also, it has a decent window view if you want to look out on to bustling Victoria Island will you eat or sip.

Best Chin chin in Lagos – The mama with the big boobies and extended derrière on the corner of Moloney Street in Central Lagos. They have the franchise of the very best chin chin this side of the equator on lock.

Best Plantain chips in LagosLaide’s on Adeyemo Alakija Street, across from Citibank’s old offices (Commerce House), under a big faded Celtel umbrella. She’s got attitude though, so watch out. When your car is slowly moving in traffic as you approach her, she’s quick to tell you, “I can’t run o, I’m not a young girl”. Nor does she deliver (which is quite narrow-minded for a small/micro entrepreneur in Lagos, given the fact that these days, “everybody” delivers for the right price; even the guy selling telephone credit will be happy to deliver to your house if you so choose, since everybody has a mobile phone these days! But you can call her to place large orders and pick up yourself. BUT, her chips are THE BEST. Take my word for it.

Best Cosmopolitan in townOrchid Bistro in GRA. To my utter surprise, I finally found a place in Lagos where cosmos are made the way the gods initially intended and designed, and served in the martini glass that it deserves to be in. At other bars and spots, whom I shall have mercy upon and not mention, if you order for a cocktail drink, especially for something as simple as a cosmo or a spin of martini origin, it will come in a fugly drinking glass (big and unwelcoming), chock full of nastily shaped –looking ice cubes, all watery and nasty* with a big ol’ oversized straw crassly sticking out of the glass. SMH. So if you are ever thirsty for a real cosmo in Lagos, drive down (or up) to Orchid’s Bistro. They have it all figured out.

Stay tuned for new updates in theses series!


Saymama :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saymama's Favorite Things - The July/August Edition

Tae Dress [pronounced Ta-yay with an apostrophe on the 'e']- One of my favorite recent purchases from one of many budding Nigerian designers using the very popular Ankara fabric. The label Tae, is run by Bisola Edun and I got this from a new collection show she had a couple months back at Terraculture. It's a perfect dress-up or down dress, with flats or heels, out with the girls or off to dinner with tha' man. And sorry I must say, very unabashedly, that it looked gorgeous on me:--). I love the ruffle detailing at the bodice. Check out the website here for more info and gorgeous numbers.

Cool Restaurants Istanbul - I discovered this book while sipping capuccino's at Salamader Cafe in Abuja a few weeks back. There's an entire collection of books in these series for different cities around the world. It feeds into my cafe and restaurant design obsession right now and gives quite a lot of ideas in terms of themes and the like. I'm on a mission to own all 15 in the collection. So far I have 2: Istanbul and Capetown. They make great coffee table reads too.
The Chloe Cyndi Tote - love it, must covet it and it's only $2,000. *Smirk*. Nuff Said. Here.

Love Quotes Scarves - These are sooo gorgeous. Must get these in every color. And regardless of the weather or country, a nice pashmina throw classes up any look - whether you're going for jeans casual chic, or a knee length tunic or if like me you're at work and your neck is always cold. These are particularly lovely. Plus they make great gift ideas for that special chica-sister-lover-friend. It's all in the wrapping :-)

The New Mack Book. I salivate. Not only is the packaging it comes in beyond sexy, it also lists what comes in the box upon delivery (or purchase): a display cleaning cloth to boot! Imagine, isn't this accessory obvious? But as all notebook lovers know, this never comes with a computer. And to be totally frivolous, the packaging alone just makes me...happy. Now to the computer itself. I currently use (and am about to dump) a Sony Viao. A pretty computer, but has been a most heart-breaking experience to put it mildly. Within the first 6 months of ownership, it crashed on me twice. I lost all important documents and unfortunately for me I hadn't backed up. Their customer service is awful, I got transfered to India and conversed with a totally clueless and barely intelligible unhelpful rep. Aside from that my Viao overheats because apparently, the Intel processor used for my laptop is of the cheap Chinese kind (Celeron). I've heard that some from this model had been known to catch fire. Go figure. The battery life sucks beyond measure. My Viao (from which I type)'s battery life after less than 2 years old is less than 20 minutes from full life. My friend's Macbook is 'over' 2 years old and the battery life on his still exceeds 3 hours!! Then lets not go into all the virus attacks and issues I have had nearly from day one. And lastly, for this entry, but certainly not the least, it took Sony almost 2 months to get the bloody thing to me from the day I placed my order. Macbooks ship in 24 hours. Of this alone I am ecsatic. I have, my whole computer literate-adult life, shied away from Macs, because I thought they were so cumbersome to use and incompatible with everything. In addition, I didn't like their previous keyboard arrangement and that just turned me off. They've since changed all that and Saymama's loving the prospect of a future of virus-slow processing-overheating-free life. They come in 2 colors: black and white. I'm loving the white. So off I go to the nearest Apple store..through the Atlantic, across the Sahara, over the hills and whatever else it would take to get me there. Steve Jobs, you rock.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Naeto C - Artist and Album Review

Storm Records’ newest Naija cross- over sensation, Naeto C, is making his contribution to the ever changing ever fresh Naija music and export-worthy scene. I saw him in concert for the time a few weeks ago at the D'Banj album launch. He was quite good, appeared a bit shy, but I'm sure with more stage experience he will get better.
Naeto’s roots I find particularly interesting. He’s among a new crop of guys bursting onto the music scene in naija (and by no means do I mean to come off as elitist inclined here): aje butter aso boys abandoning the ‘must please daddy and do something respectable with my life (doctor, lawyer, IT Guru, bleh bleh)’ who are pursuing their passions and delving fully into the arts (music in this case).

A profession formerly perceived to be unrespectable (somewhat) and non-lucrative; left for the high, rebellious and mostly school-drop out ilk. There’s since been a paradigm shift, that you can be well schooled and well brought up and pursue a career in music in ‘Nigeria’ “AND” be successful at it, financially and socially. The other notion in the past is that Nigerian aspiring artists had a better chance of achieving stardom in the West - SEAL, Sade, Femi Kuti, Nayo – to name a few. Now it’s cool to be proudly Nigerian ‘in’ Nigeria. And so it should be.

Naeto C is young, fresh, quite authentic and very much a repping member of the new Facebook generation. His album is an excellent groove to play while driving through Carter Bridge traffic on a pressure-free Saturday evening. For the first time, I don’t really have anyone to compare him to, which I think means he’s holding down his own with no references necessary. According to TP, his brand of music is poetry with street cred.

Naeto makes it easy to be Nigerian but still have multiple identities with easy global appeal for all, whether you’re Nigerian or not.

Purchase your copy from your nearest steetpreneur ;-). Saymama gives 4 stars (out of 5).

Fave tracks:
8 – I’ve Been
9 – One 4 Me feat. Wande Coal
7 – Lagos City Hustler*****
15 – Bami lo feat. Morell
10 – Ashewo feat. Wande Coal

Monday, July 28, 2008

Celebrating Me..

It's my birthday and as of today, I'm officially not 31 anymore as I was yesterday. There. I said it. I was going to sob about that, but I've decided not to. So today, I'm making a conscious decision to embrace and love myself and make a conserted effort to forge ahead like as though the challenges of yesterday did not exist. So I have come up with a list of birthday resolutions as well as 'slightly-past' mid year re-resolutions. I think that publishing this will force me to make an effort to accomplish those things. So here goes ( and this is by no means exhaustive)..
  • Love me more

  • Fear not, mull not, just do it

  • Get back into the gym and stop being afraid of passing out at first try

  • Tidy up on securing funding for projects

  • Get back to working on my book before the idea and concept shrivels up in my mind

  • Work harder on my friendships - call more, email more and not rely soley on facebook for primary interaction! (pathetic almost)

  • Finish ALL uncompleted personal tasks and projects and I mean like yesterday!

  • Get on those advanced french classes I've been trying to take for past 2 years

  • Investigate photography classes and up my 'amateur' photography game

  • Investigate TBS franchise opportunity for West Africa

  • Alter my sometimes attitude to life: be more solutions oriented!

  • Get Olori website up up up!

My optimism runneth over. I'm also going to learn to celebrate myself. How hard can that be? Happy Birthday to Me! It is Saymama's celebration week. Check back shortly for daily postings in lieu of this for the next one week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Timi's Letter to Obama

This is a letter that my budding "ata wewe" political activist of a brother wrote to Barack Obama. A saucy if not interesting read. I have often told him to forward his thoughts to me as I think they were worthy of publishing. Let's discuss.

My Problem with Barack

By Timi Odulate

I was born in Washington DC to Nigerian parents. I am a Philadelphia, PA resident, and I graduated from Temple University with a double in Computer Science & Political Science with a minor in French. I drove 2 and a half hours from Washington to Philadelphia to vote for Barack in the PA primary due to the fact that I’m still a Pennsylvania resident, after telling my boss that I was taking part of my day off to assert my constitutional right to vote.
I also braved the commute because it was one of the most motivated periods of my life. I was intrigued, zealously so, by somebody who had adopted the right views and positions about the path that this country was long overdue for, despite the paradoxically suicidal path elected officials had assumed, and their willingness to continue bleeding the country until it was dead. I was captivated by someone who wasn’t afraid to change the fate of this country. The citizenry, prior to Barack’s emergence on the national scene, were comparable to a dying person refusing a blood transfusion. How else could you explain the re-election of our current president and the world’s subsequent declaration that Americans were stupid, embodied in a UK paper’s headlines on Thursday November 4, 2004, The Daily Mirror, “How can 59,054,087 people be so Dumb?” Americans made this decision with the knowledge that the basis for war, weapons of mass destruction (now affectionately known as WMDs) was manufactured and thus non-existent.
It was frustrating that what was common sense to the rest of the other 50 million or so voting electorate was apparently rocket science to the remainder of that said electorate. The Republican Party, and George Bush, until recently, were immensely averse at using issues to polarize the electorate and using dirty tricks to smother their opponent. An excursion into the annals of political science will reveal that that concept has been historically utilized for a considerable amount of time, and it tends to benefit Republicans more than Democrats because Democrats will usually respond negatively to dirty tricks by their candidate as opposed to the same by a Republican candidate and his supporters. Gay marriage, weakness on our national defense, and a charge that the Democratic candidate was wayward, shamelessly convinced the rest of the nation into voting for a weaker candidate thus plunging the country into deeper economic mediocrity whilst lowering our moral standing with the international community.
I never understood why such a number of people allowed themselves to be confused or polarized by the aforementioned tricks. I supported Barack because he spoke the truth from the beginning. I firmly believe his stark increase in popularity was due to the fact that the truth never goes away and can only be discovered. He spoke against the war. He said we didn’t properly assess the consequences and that was true. He said we rushed into it and that was also true. We were told by Republicans, including McCain that the oil would pay for the war. Huh? The long-held Democratic view that Bush’s tax cuts were only benefitting the wealthy and were ruining the economy and middle class is being proven more and more every day. The weakening of the US dollar against all other major currencies and its contributing effect on oil prices has put the majority of the country in an immensely compromising situation. Did anybody notice that America is being bought up by the world? All part and parcel of the status quo. I just can’t remember when it’s been this bad. When the first Bush was in power, we had a bad economy but our standing in the world was above par, and the economy wasn’t as bad as it is today. When are we going to fully realize the extent to which this country has been mismanaged? When gas is $6 a gallon next summer?
What’s hurtful about Obama is my belief that his incredible success has gone to his head, of late, and is clouding his judgment. There’s no doubt about it. Do all politicians, including McCain, do it, and as a matter of fact, do it more? Yes. But Barack is supposed to be different. On issues such as FISA and whether or not the telecommunications companies should receive immunity for unlawfully aiding the government in eavesdropping, his position clearly shifted. He categorically labeled it as illegal and unjust. His position now, indicating that he’s for that immunity, is clearly different from the one he adopted before. Who’s he trying to fool? Barack also previously stated that he would fully utilize diplomacy and talk to states America considers hostile. Not only is that a great position that had been adopted by respected former presidents such as Kennedy and Roosevelt, it is also common sense. It saves lives, resources- both military and monetary- and aggravation. Anybody can be talked to, and wars aren’t as great as they’re built up to be. His position on that obviously changed to a more confrontational one, especially on the Iranian front. He’s shifted his position on guns when he didn’t have to. Bill Clinton was anti-gun throughout his eight years in office. Lastly, but certainly not least, not by any means, was his statement regarding Iraq stating he would be opening to refining his position. Sometimes I wonder who’s being paid to sanction these statements and positions in light of the fact that they’re silly and just don’t add up. He beat Hillary on Iraq. Why would he even try to appear to be open to modifying his position on Iraq, for political purposes?
The Republican Party did erroneously label Barack as a leftist. By leftist, what they really meant was that he was on the other side of their positions which all appear to be wrong by the way. Politicians and political pundits alike have blurred the line of left and right. Left and right would normally be associated with mostly conservative and liberal principles that the Republican and Democratic Party have identified themselves with, like abortion, small government versus big government, taxes, social programs, gay rights, and the like. They are now being used, in the context of what’s being discussed today, outside of the core principles. If McCain and the Republicans say drill offshore for oil and the Democrats say don’t drill, that is not a traditionally conservative or liberal position. When McCain said American forces could stay in Iraq a hundred years if needed and the Democrats said hell no, that had nothing to do with conservatism or liberalism. It’s policy, not left or right, nor conservatism or liberalism. And some of it is just common sense. Barack’s Obama sudden, yes conspicuously sudden, adoption of a whole bunch of issues championed by Republicans was stupid. It doesn’t make sense to start abandoning your positions that were slated to usher in change so you can be more appealing to people who either will be open to you or not. Those hard right Republicans who aren’t being affected by the economy aren’t going to vote for him. To give an air of being open to modify his position on Iraq, something that’s been proving him right every day, is as big a blunder as anybody could ever make. Thankfully, it either hasn’t been fully noticed, or the electorate realizes he’s twice as good candidate to deal with what ails America as McCain. In playing sports, I remember being told, and seeing, that you don’t change a strategy if it’s working. If you’re beating a team, you don’t drastically adopt a new tactic. You keep at it. He opened up double-digit leads over McCain in several polls just so he could shoot himself in the foot? Talk about being self-destructive.
Now, I don’t think McCain or Hillary, or anybody would have fared any better. Hillary had her own huge gaffes when she outright lied about sniper fire and called it a misspeak, my favorite word of 2008. McCain’s a huge flip-flopper, if there ever was one. Barack was supposed to be different though and didn’t have any reason to start acting weird.
I still like and support Obama. I know he’ll be a great president. I’m just worried about a few silly things he’s done. I’m not as enthusiastic or as zealous as I once was. I don’t feel the need to massively abandon my job as myself and three hundred fellow employees once did to vote for him. Maybe when Election Day dawns, I’ll further see how enormously flawed McCain is and how he really is an extension of failed policies, and find a way to vote for Obama.
By the way, if Republicans want a small government, why don’t they refrain from running for office? Government would be a lot smaller without them in Congress, the Senate, and most notable the White House.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Momma - A Celebration In Life

My mother turned 60 on the 29th of June 2008. I was insistent with my siblings and my father that we had to mark this particular occassion. I was intent on making her feel special not just to us but to others and making her feel loved. My mother on the surface, is very cool, calm and collected. But at her depth, she is a true diva. And I must tell you, the sleeping diva in her blossomed to no end on this day. I had arranged for a makeup artist to come doll her up in the morning and for my photographer friend Mubarak to bring in his best for a photo session with her as the primary focus before heading out to church. The weeks leading up to this event were grueling to say the least, but I think it turned out beautifully and it was well worth it. Objective achieved. Momma felt like a queen bee all day and she thoroughly enjoyed herself with her nearest and dearest. Pink is her favorite color so we themed the event to revolve around that. She looked gorgeous.
I believe that celebrating those that mean the most to us is something that we dream of doing, but sometimes we don't actually get around to breathing life into it. All my life I have wanted to celebrate my mother in a big way, but it was never convenient, especially financially. Then I realized earlier this year that if - God Forbid - anything happens to a member of our familiy, especially if it's at a permissible age, we, especially in our pan-Nigerian culture, would throw in the works. From aso-ebi to caterers to feed the so-called mourners and sympathizers, to expensive press releases and the like. So I decided, along with my siblings that even though it is not particularly financially convenient to celebrate mom this year, we must find a way to do so anyhow. This is a woman that has spent the better part of her life in sacrifice to us and our well being; a woman that has endured so much for our sakes. This birthday was simply an excuse to celebrate her in so many ways and to show that in her life and while she is here, we are grateful to God for her and the pillar she has been to us and more. And so the plotting and the planning began and voila! We certainly couldn't have done it alone and I'm so thankful to all those that contributed over and beyond and helped to make it happen. It was trully a beautiful day. One to remember for many years to come.
Happy Birthday Momma.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Truth - By Temi Adepoju

(With humble permission from a friend, Temi Adepoju, who wrote this..don't think I could've articulated it on..)

As women we are divine beings- made to love and be loved- I mean, men want and need to be loved as well- but women - we need it on a whole new level. We can choose to accept this important part of our makeup or deny it and run away from it- creating a lot of uneccessary pain, hurt and bad choices (in love).I've always believed we have much more at stake as women- afterall, we're the species that release the hormone progesterone after sex -talk about catching feelings faster and deeper than the guy- Then we have the babies (lets not even talk about the excruciating pain of that), whose umbilical cords contains this magical hormone as well so we're designed to always be in tune with our offspring and cannot abandon them- unlike most animals in nature. We are usually the #1 caregivers and home makers, the nurturing mammals under whose care the family blossoms, we're instinctive and intuitive, basically able to plan stages ahead for the unexpected and all over the world we are the worker bees, the mules and the pack horses (especially black women) . There're more women engaged in breadwinning activites including farming, both in developing countries and the West! So whats the point of having all of the responsibilty and none of the glory, sweetness, the loving, the divine feminine aspects? None! But we do this to ourselves- we let ourselves be treated like pack mules, instead of the beautiful, fragile, but strong creatures we are. Remember, "people treat you the way you let them" (Oprah W.)Let me break it down this way- Sisters- enjoy your femininity, elevate your womanhood, revel in your abilities, enjoy the love and respect of your men- and teach your little girls not just how to be the 'little helpers' but how to engage the boys and men in their lives to support, protect and love them. Teach the boy-child how to love and protect his sisters/mothers/cousins, how to encourage and help them flower into beautiful powerful beings- If your men won't then teach these boys the practicals of cooking, opening the door for ladies, ideals of 'ladies first', holding out the dining chair and all around chilvalry- don't complain about the lack of these qualities (as if you're not contributing)- afterall we're mainly in charge of raising the family and crafting these young 'uns minds and behaviors. (No doubt, I've made a huge assumption that you've chosen your mate, carefully and in faith that you have the same ideals, and plan to walk the earth and grow together as long as possible- and he is your #1 supporter)Speak your truth, speak it often- take time out for yourself. Allow yourself to be pampered- ask for it! Show and tell- don't expect a mind read ladies- especially if your guy is african- most likely he wasn't brought up this way- but I assure you he is willing and open to pleasing his queen, the way she pleases him and blesses his life with her love, grace and beauty!

Asa's coming to Lagos! Finally!

Latest and hottest thing happening in Lagos this coming weekend: Asa the great will be in town!

Performing at the Civic Centre June 14th 2008. Tickets N15,000

2nd show @ Oceanview Restaurant in VI - June 15th 2008. Tickets N10,000

Apparently she will be showcasing her new album. Another new album while the current one is still raging? Wonderful abi? I've never seen her in concert before..the late bloomer that I am. If I go to the show, I'll be sure to post my review.


Notes on Happiness..

(Written 16th April 2008)

"It is God who gives happiness, true happiness, not man. If you try to seek or get your happiness from the world, it will always escape you. You won't get it". "Life is too short my dear, for you not to be happy from 'within'. make sure you lead a life that's happy". This was my Aunt Anita talking to me last night. I cannot begin to tell you, how badly I needed to hear that. She'd been in Nigeria for the past two weeks with my cousins (her sons) to bury her husband (my late Uncle Ayo). We were having a long chat late into the night about many things; mostly about her, life, etc. I found it amazing that even in the thick of her grief over the sudden loss of her husband and the one tru love of her life, that she was still able to say these words and make me a believer. So just as I was leaving and saying goodbye to her, as it was very late at night and I still had to drive quite a distance back home, was when she said those words above to me. It felt like she was sent specifically to say that to me. The directness and randomness of it was quite eerie. I realized in that moment, that those words were specifically intended for me to hear. And to top it all off, the timing couldn't have been more appropriate. Those words have since had me pondering. It is indeed true, that our happiness should not be made to be anybody else's burden or responsibility. It is specifically because we do that, that it is so fleeting and inconsistent. Happy today, misery-filled the next, maybe even angry the next day after that. Unhealthy. Take charge of your own joy and don't leave it to someone else to manage for you. I think of this conversation everyday...especially on a day such as this..

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Saymama’s Favorite Things: The June 2008 Edition

Here are a list of things that I’m loving right now…

1.Hooter Hiders - Whenever I’m moody ‘cause I’m broody, I’m all over this site. I think they make such cool gifts to new and nursing mothers and they come in a variety of different cool colors and patterns. Imagine these in Ankara patterns? Hmmm….

2. Azaria Vudu Bag My good friend and Lagos-based bag designer Buki De La Zaria* designed this hit of a bag. When I returned home after my one year hiatus in early December last year, this bag was all the rave in Lagos. I got me one in blue. It’s huge and perfect for that awful Heathrow ‘one carry-on bag only’ policy type travel. It’ll house your laptop for the flight, a sweater or pashmina, wipes, duty free purchases and every other thing that you’d ordinarily patrol the airport with and more! For more details on how to get this bag, or to check out other Azaria gems for the modern African gal, email me at for more details. And click here for other a bit more info on Azaria.

3. Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume – Oh my! This scent is
absolutely divine! It’s my favorite perfume ever and it coups my nearly two decade long love for Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. It is light, sophisticated, modern and has the ability to make me feel beautiful, from the inside out. Not to mention the gorgeous bottle it comes in.

4. Sasha’s CD – this young and sassy female MC’s current album is off the chains! I first saw her on stage back in 2003 where she opened for Joe’s concert at the Oceanview in Lagos for the valentine’s weekend concert (my first ever concert in Nigeria I must add!). I remember her performance being solid, original and very well coordinated (with her dancers). I remember thinking, our very own Naija female rapper? And she pulled it off? Fantastic! This was when I first noticed the trend and re-emergence of bonafide and talented Nigerian artistes bursting on the scene. Blog notes for another day. Back to Sasha. The second encounter with her was at Tejusho market about 2 and half years ago (before it burnt down, sob!). I was standing in front of a sequins stand making a purchase when she came up to the same stand to do the same. She then said to me “are you a designer or stylist?” I said, “no. Aren’t you Sasha the rapper?”. She smiled sweetly and said yes. We went on to have a nice little conversation and I gave her my card. She was so personable. Then I was in traffic just a few days ago, feening for some new music material to listen to since I pretty much have a collection of all the popular naija music that’s out right now. Then I realized I’d heard snippets of her more recent work but was hesitant to buy the entire album. Anyway, on this day I bought it. Put it in the cd player and boy was I beyond impressed!! It rocks! The material is original, ‘grooveable’, and almost each track gave up something new and different with a good flow throughout; which is rare. I looooove it! This you must get! She deserves all the success she gets and much more. I must alert the TB onto this new CD. We share a love and appreciation for the impressive emerging naija music scene. Sasha is definitely and unquestionably one of our finest “Proudly Nigerian” export yet. And she’s here to stay. Eve needs to top her hat off to our home girl. Plus they have a couple things in common; they are both First Ladies of their record labels. Sasha P (as she is fondly called) is the First Lady of hot Nigerian label, Storm Records. Saymama gives 4.5 stars out of 5!
Favorite tracks:
-Adara (track 3)****
-Only One (track 4)***
-Not 2nite (track 5)**** (this track is perfect for an open rooftop drive in a 4-wheeler of your choice, be it an Escalade, Rover Sport, or the GL 450 wagon, which I’m loving to no end right now, with cool or hot air blowing through that long hair or $600-weave..LOL!)
-Baba mi (track 9),
-Run with it (track 13),
-E wa ba mi jo (track16)*

5. Farafina Magazine – This magazine is published by Kachifo and also affiliated with Farafina book publishers; publishers of the local versions of popular books by Nigerian authors Half of a Yellow Sun, Everything Good Will Come, Purple Hibiscus, Goodbye Lucille, etc.
It’s a shame that this publication is not made more widely available. Perhaps that’s intentional? However, I would tell you that the articles are of the intellectual ilk, insightful and extremely well written, touching on Nigerian/African issues that other media shun to discuss and talk about. I comes out once every 3 months (I think, please do not quote me on this) and features some of the most interesting topics you’d ever come across. You can find the online version of the magazines here and if you’re in Lagos you can pick up a copy at Glendora’s or Quinessence at the Falomo Shopping Centre on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sex And The (Lagos) City

Blimey, it’s June already! So much has happened this year, and I just had to propel myself out of my self-inflicted anti-blogging mode and get back into the “blog” of things. I have lots to post, but let’s start with the most pressing topic on my brain at the moment; the Sex in the City movie!! This is a review as well as the experience endured in the process of trying to see this movie yesterday – The Lagos experience.

First off, kudos to the Silverbird Cinemas people for making sure they brought the movie to Nigeria and it was being released here the same day as it was in the UK, United States and every other major city in the world that’s filled with Sex (Carrie and co.) crazed fans. And I might add, that makes Lagos a major world city, whether that’s acknowledged internationally or not is another issue entirely. But this weekend, we Lagosians were proud world citizens.

So, back to the actual experience. My dear friend BDZ, aptly planned a themed party-gathering type social event around the movie. Just like several groups of girlfriends around the world were getting together with limo Sex In The City –themed parties, BDZ planned a champagne cocktail party at the Silverbird theatre for a whole bunch of people, along with text messages instructing us to dress up fashionably conscious and like your favorite Sex* character – or whom you think yourself to be most like. Personally, I think I’m most like Miranda with inner specs of Charlotte and Carrie. But I’d say 70% Miranda. Anyway, getting all excited in anticipation for this excuse to be socially “among”, I tried to gather as many of my friends as possible to be part of this exercise, and you can imagine how tough that was, I don’t really have that many friends in Lagos. After all, the whole point of Sex* is the relationships we have primarily with our girlfriends. And the friends of mine that truly fall into that category for me are all scattered on a couple different continents you see. Nonetheless, I tried to gather a few of my good ones living here in Lagos and classically, they each fell out of the plan, due to one excuse or the other. ND dropped out, because she was pissed she’d lost her diamond pendant the night before, so she definitely was in no mood for camaraderie (and I don’t blame her), and AP had babysitter issues and couldn’t leave her kids, and BIM (my favorite cousin in law) had exams the following day, so as all smart girls should, she prioritized – “exams over Sex*”. I don’t know if I would’ve been so graceful. So as a result, I ended up going by myself as I couldn’t bare to wait another day while the rest of the world watched and had they’re fill. It had already been 2 days since it opened, and I couldn’t wait another. Tried to see it on Friday, the day it actually opened, drove my zealous self to Silverbird to try to reserve tickets for the evening showing, got there and was told that the movie was “on ground” and at the “airport” but not yet actually in the theatre yet. Hilarious bordering on the ridiculous. But for Carrie, I rose above those issues and faithfully pressed on. Then I was told by the ticket agent that he’ll “personally” try to reserve tickets for me and will call me in a couple of hours to confirm. Then I got a call from ND that she heard Nike Oshinowo was having a red-carpet event to commemorate the opening, which I took to mean that she took it upon herself to have a “Sex in the City Premiere” event in Lagos. O-K, I thought to myself in exasperation. Nike is about to cramp my style and possibly make it impossible for me to get tickets on the opening day. The mere thought of my sister and friends watching it in the States before me, made me want to bite somebody. Myself at this point. In any event, all attempts to watch Sex on Friday went up in pink hazy smoke (smoke is already hazy, right? Whatever). With my tail between my legs, I went home and looked forward to watching it on Sunday (yesterday) instead along with BDZ’s posse event.

Fast forward to Sunday. BDZ had reserved and gotten almost 60 tickets for a bunch of people for the 5pm show. But champagne and small chops were in waiting beforehand and a critical analysis party to discuss the movie afterwards. I got there at about 4.30pm (rushed there actually, as I wasn’t for any reason not going to get a good seat or miss a minute of the movie starting) and a section beside the popcorn stand had been quardroned off for “us”. I got there to meet with a thick diva stink in the air, girls checking out other girls (uniquely Naija style), designer bags looking like designer weapons and ladies looking Carrie/Samantha/Miranda/Charlotte-ified. I guess that was the whole point. And I admit, I wore a floaty wrap dress with a flower in the corner, casually over jeans, as I imagined it was the type of outfit Miranda would wear. And in the movie, I even had a similar hairstyle to hers (except my hair color wasn’t ginger ;-) ). There was a photographer arranged and waiting and after feeling starred down enough and just totally outta place with the vibes, I decided to quietly get my popcorn sans champagne and chops and go into the theatre to get myself a good seat and wait.

Drama in the theatre. It turns out that a few girls from Team Champagne had gotten the same idea and had decided to come into the theatre to sit and wait. Made sense as it was 13 minutes to 5 and the movie was meant to start at 5pm. I sat in the 2nd row from the top and it turned out that BDZ had originally reserved the top 3 rows for Team Champagne, but due to poor communication on the part of the cinema folks, nobody was manning the area to make sure that other people don’t sit there and the said tape (which I didn’t see as of the time I got into the theatre to sit down) sectioning off the area had been broken and regular people sat there. By the time I got in, the first row was fully packed and seated with people. The manager now comes in to tell the seated folk to get up as those seats had been reserved. They refused to get up, saying that they were not told of any such thing. I’d imagine that other regular folk who walked into the theatre to be seated “on time” before the movie starts, did not see the tape either and proceeded to sit in the top rows as they pleased. With random comments flying across the theatres as people expressed their disgust at the notion of being told to stand up for reserved seats for a special ‘lot’ of people and daring the cinema staff to not show the movie, 5pm finally rolled round and the previews to the movie started. By the third preview, all of the sudden the screen went blank and the movie was turned off. In true Naija fashion, you can imagine the uproar that ensued. The movie had been halted because of the seating issue for Team Champagne, and as a former team member, I sat down to watch the drama unfold. The manager finally comes in again, using a microphone to tell the theatre, now chuck full of people, that the first 3 rows had been reserved and the random people sitting there should please get up for Team Champagne and that they will be reimbursed for the “inconvenience” caused along with a free ticket for any other show of their choice. Mr. Manager’s voice was aptly drowned out by the “collective” retort, with people yelling that they did not want to be reimbursed and they were not going to get up for anybody! It was quite comical to say the least. The movie was then postponed till 6pm instead, until the matter was resolved. All in all, the people stubbornly sat in the seats, refusing to get up or be reimbursed and I guess everybody else had to find elsewhere to sit. Not that I blame them; I do think that the cinema company, Silverbird, handled and planned the whole thing quite badly; because honestly, had I been on the other “side”, and I was asked to get up when I was sold a ticket, was not specifically told not to sit in a particular area’, bought my popcorn, ready to enjoy my show, I CERTAINLY would not have gotten up either. Silverbird, should have numbered the seats, since it’s an extremely popular show, coupled with the fact that it was the opening weekend (worldwide). Then they should have sold/reserved seats 1-50 or whatever to Team Champagne and then sold the remaining numbers out to the public. That way, people have to sit according to the numbers on their tickets. That’s what is done in other countries and would have been the smartest thing to do and would have avoided the near riot that almost took place yesterday. And the movie finally started again. *Phew*.

The Movie Review. In an effort not to completely ruin the movie for my dear readers that may not have watched it yet, the movie in my opinion was awesome. Call it chick-flick partiality if you like, but I was a bit leery of how good it would be because of all the pent up hype about it over the last 2 years almost. Because of its immense popularity, there had been a lot of leaks to the press while the movie was being shot in New York City last year. A lot of pictures from the set had also been released by the paparazzi to virtually every soft-sell on the planet. But true and loyal sex in the city fans (like me) patiently waited and ignored the leaks to the story line. In spite of all these, I honestly and objectively thought the movie was VERY good. My sister, who had watched in on Friday (before me :@), and who is also a tough critic, had said to me that she thought it was fantastic also sans Jennifer Hudson’s performance in it. So I looked out for that and tried not to be biased by that comment. She wasn’t great, but she wasn’t half-bad either. Other than that, I thought the storyline was quite authentic, believable and realistic in terms of relationships and their ups and downs. I could identify with a lot of the emotions and feelings in it, as I’m sure a lot of gals could and it wasn’t as predictable as I’d feared it would be. I’d imagine that it is near impossible to make a movie after a very successful run of 6 seasons of a show. One would think, what else is there to tell “really”? And I must say, that they successfully pulled that off. However, focusing on the fashion element of the movie, which is a BIG part of the flow, I think that overall they over did it a bit. While with the series, whenever the girls went out on the town, they made clear fashion statements in accordance with being true New Yorkers, they were also realistic when it came to just hanging out at home, in sweats or old tee-shirts, etc. But with the movie, even in the laid-back home settings, they were always overly and glamorously dressed up, big earrings and all. Hard to keep up. But hey, that’s why it’s a movie I guess – total or partial escape from reality. Feeling rather melancholic afterwards, I Bibanke-d all the way on my drive home. And actually, there were many moments during the movie where I felt that a couple of tracks from Asa’s famed cd would have been so appropriate; many “Bibanke” moments especially – would have been appropriate. As an aside though, we need to get more of our extremely talents Naija artistes on more Hollywood soundtracks. Debate for another day.

On that note, I won’t go any further, ‘cause that would be telling. Saymama gives Sex in the City 5 out of 5 stars ***** (with a few conditions)! Enjoy and let’s banter about it further in my comments section.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bible Verse for a Broken Heart..

(Written October 2007)

I finally found it! In the depths of my despair earlier this year, I searched and cried for ages, looking for a verse or a reference or something that would settle (soothe?) my frayed nerves and help to heal my sorely broken heart and soul. A balm for the deep cracks. After almost 10 months of highs and lows (mostly lows), while I wasn’t looking, I found it! Psalm 62 and Psalm 63. I could totally have used this back in March of 2007, but reading it now, I feel a fresh soothing, a confirmation that I’m ok. That my soul’s on the mend and that I’m on the cusp of something beautiful.

It’s hard to explain in written word, but I’m sure you get the idea. It is important for us to hold on to some form of faith and hold on to it for dear life; especially when it’s being tested in the midst of an emotional tsunami of issues. I felt so emotionally battered and my world seemed like a pretty dark and grey place. I felt turmoil, confusion, disappointment and deep regret. But day has since broken and I’ve learnt, in place of the regret that I felt, that there was something in it that I had to learn. And one cannot truly learn without first experiencing. I find that I’m ready to face my journey head on and will learn to deal as I am challenged and hope to rise above each time. Higher and higher. Ah Jah Bless…

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Catching Up..

Hey people. Happy belated new year :-) ..

I know I's been ages and have had "alot" going on, hence the procastination, hence the absense. Lots of material and trying to get back into the blog flow.

So watch this space :-)