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POET LAUREATE INTERVIEW WITH DAMILOLA OJIKUTU

The poet laureate is easily one of our biggest events as a community. Just as the Nobel Prize is bestowed on an individual who has done exceptionally well in a particular field, with the poet laureate, we seek to honour and crown an outstanding creative every year.

We make sure that our themes border on heavy African narratives. For last year, we had “sankofa yenkyi”, a Ghanaian word from the Akan tribe that means “it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”

gerontocracy in africa

Sugar Cubes

SUGAR CUBES           || Ibiteye Overcomer

Ballot boxes are metaphors for sugar cubes:

Dazzling, inviting, brides of anthills.

Glazed cartons holding frail fragments

of truth, justice, sweetness, of anthills.

Brazen walls of power that makes their builders vulnerable,

or is it the builders that make themselves vulnerable?

Could it be that between the petulant layers of history

and the creamy strands of change,

brittleness is being used as cement?

Ballot boxes are metaphors for sugar cubes:

Bright, luminous,

dissolving on the tongues of thugs and grey-haired godfathers.

Dissolving into nothingness.

This land swallows colors and spits out shadows.

Feeble legs walk on corridors of power with

walking sticks,

while youthful lips are forced to mold into silence

and writhe beneath the whispers of fear.

Threnodies of the sixties on replay,

withered policies of the seventies on display,

masses left to do nothing but pray.

Yet, every morning, I stand by my window and watch

as the sun rises,

as it ignites hope in me.

A hope that one day, we’ll rise in our youthful agility,

flex our fingers

and rip out the brittleness in our sugar cubes,

that we’ll repair the creaky staircases of power

and climb up to leadership,

that doggedly, without compromise,

we’ll chase the anthills away.

BIO

Ibiteye Overcomer is a twenty-year-old Nigerian. She is an avid reader and a poet who uses poetry as a means to express her views and thoughts about pressing matters with ease. You will find her on Instagram @bimolaovercomer.

Read also: 4 African Authors You Didn’t Know Were Imprisoned For Activism

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Poet Laureate Interviews: Meet Temitope Komolafe

I am Temitope Komolafe, a student of Medicine and Surgery in University of Ibadan. I am a very spiritual person and I believe God is and should be the integral factor in life. I write and specialize in screenwriting. I love reading and am very open to learning from everything because I have come to discover that the more we know, the more we discover how much we don’t know

poet laureate

Poet Laureate Q & A: Get Your Answers Now!

What is Poet Laureate?

Poet Laureate is an honorary position conferred by Tribesmen as an institution. After a season of featuring some amazing creatives on our community, this is a season for us to vote for the most outspoken creative. Poet Laureate is translated “The People’s Poet”, to bring creatives together, tribesmen by tribesmen.

Who can participate in Poet Laureate?

Every tribesman can participate in this competition. Every creative is allowed to showcase their art and compete.

What are the categories in Poet Laureate?

There are five categories for submissions:

Prose fiction (1000 words max)

Poetry (1 poem)

Short Story (Non-Fiction) (1000 words max)

Spoken word artistry. (1 minute video)

Art & Photography ( 3-5 pieces)

Note: Art & Photography Submissions are welcome but can’t participate in the competition. We will share it on our visual platforms for appraisal. (Submit to tvotribe@gmail.com)

Also Note: Spoken word submissions can be posted on the creative’s Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account, please ensure you tag us and we acknowledge receipt.

What are the criteria to submit entries for Poet Laureate?

Make sure you meet the following criteria to be eligible.

– You are a tribesman (to join visit bit.ly/JOINTVO)

– You have your entry previously unpublished.

– Your entry fits the theme for this year’s Poet Laureate (SANKOFA).

– You follow the community on all social media platforms (so you don’t miss out on important information.

Can I submit more than one entry?

Only one entry in one submission category is allowed.

Is Poet Laureate open to only Nigerians?

Poet Laureate is open to Africans within Africa, Africans in the diaspora, and those who identify as Africans.

Is there any age limit to participate in poet laureate?

There’s no registered age limit for Poet Laureate. We appreciate creativity from any age group.

There you go! Get to work now! We can not wait to receive your entries, so get to creating!

religion and spirituality in african literature

Religion And Spirituality In African Literature

by Testimony Soyoye

African spirituality simply acknowledges that beliefs and practices touch on and inform every facet of human life, and therefore African religion cannot be separated from the everyday or mundane.”  – Jacob Olupona.

The theme of religion and spirituality in Africa has been amongst the most recurring themes in precolonial, colonial, and post-colonial literature. Religion and spirituality though intertwined are two distinct entities.

Religion is a set of beliefs and practices that individuals believe in and adhere to the belief that practicing such religion would mold one into a better person. Spirituality, as defined by The Cambridge Dictionary is “the quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs of a religious nature, rather than the physical parts of life.”

How do religion and spirituality feature in African literature?

A few African writers like Ngugi Wa Thiong’o have attempted to feature the themes of religion and spirituality in their books. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o in his book The River Between explained that though colonialism has brought about a different religion and way of life, we are still enjoined to hold fast to our religious values.

Are African religious practices as barbaric as people think?

It is quite unfortunate that most Africans believe that practicing their own religion would be tantamount to being involved in barbaric practices. We can see this exemplified by Joshua, Nyamburi’s father in the book, The River Between. He secludes his children to keep them from being influenced by the people practicing the religion of the Gukuyi tribe. It might be true that some of our cultural norms might not be necessary. However, we do not have to deny that our religion is an integral part of our society.

Read here: Immigration in African literature; the good, the bad and the ugly

Whatever choices we make, whatever religious path we might choose to walk, let us all remember that we are Africans and the blood of our ancestors runs through our veins; from the first worshippers of Obatala, a  Yoruba god to Zuku worshippers, a god that is believed to originate from Southern Africa. We all have a duty to end the downplay of our religion and spirituality in our stories, in our collective narrative.