Friday, 30 May 2008

Mama Africa @ the Southbank Centre

I love working at the Southbank cause of the sheer diversity of programmes on offer. Mama Africa is an event series that will be running through through July with some exciting listings!

2008 Caine Prize Readings
Sunday 6 July 2008, 7pm
Experience the finest new African writing at this annual event. The shortlisted authors read from and discuss their work, highlighting the extraordinary breadth of the continent's literature. The writers are Mohammed Naseehu Ali (Ghana), Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi), Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa), Gill Schierhout (South Africa) and Uzor Maxim Uzoatu (Nigeria).

The prize has launched the careers of many African writers, including Helon Habila and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who's work I have read and thoroughly enjoy!)

Colin Grant
Tuesday 15 July 2008, 7pm
Colin Grant's book Negro With a Hat illuminates the life of Marcus Garvey, a vital, yet often misunderstood, figurehead of the black diaspora. Garvey rose to fame as leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1920s Harlem, and went on to inspire future black leaders and artists with his mesmerising speeches, yet his life was dogged by controversy and the whiff of corruption.

Alima Bashir & Damian Lewis
Friday 18 July 2008, 7pm
Halima Bashir discusses her remarkable new book Tears of the Desert, the first memoir from a woman born and raised in South Darfur. In an incredibly powerful first-hand account of the genocide, Bashir recounts her story as witness, victim and then an exile from the tragedy. She discusses the book with writer and film-maker, Damian Lewis. The event is chaired by novelist Kamila Shamsie.

Bernardine Evaristo
Saturday 19 July 2008, 7pm
This is the launch event of Blonde Roots, Bernardine Evaristo's brilliantly inventive new book. The novel is an ingenious reversal of the slave trade, in which Africans are the masters and Europeans held captive, blending historical detail with sharp characterisation. Bernardine reads from the book and takes questions from the audience.

check out for more information and for ticket booking (concessions available)

Southwark Playhouse: Call for expressions of interest

This is me being a little selfish as I work not too far away from Southwark Playhouse and well I need something exciting to do during my lunch!

Southwark Playhouse Secrets is an exciting opportunity for artists and audiences to come together in cutting edge live events during lunchtime, early evening and late evening timeslots. We have several potential non-auditorium performance spaces as our home is underneath London Bridge train station's Platform One. We have a bar with a late license that we want to fill with your work. We are looking to attract non-traditional theatre audiences to engage with this programming and want artists to respond to this call accordingly. All art forms are encouraged.

Time Slots
Lunchtime:Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 1:15 to 2pm.
Pre-show: Negotiable and case specific. Cannot start before 6pm, and must not distract from the theatre audiences' ability to enter the bar.
Late night: Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:30 pm till late.

We are now accepting submissions for our July season.Deadline 12 noon 02/06/08.Download the application

Fresh on the Stage

Saturday 5 July 2008, 10pm

Royal Festival Hall Clore Ballroom
Southbank Centre Emerging Artists in Residence Riz MC and Yemisi Blake curate a late-evening show of music and spoken word, with a series of specially invited guests.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


Africa Beyond presents


In collaboration with SABLE LitMag

Saturday 31 May – British Museum, Clore Education Centre, 13.00 – 20.15

Admission free, no prebooking

A celebration of African literature and languages!

After the miserable weather we had on Monday (Africa Day)
here's something to get excited about, plus its indoors!


BP Lecture Theatre

13.15-14:15 What kind of English is that! 2 writers read from their work and discuss the way experimental and imaginative they use the English language plus a reading and discussion on Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa famously written in 'rotten English'. With Ben Amunwa (Nigeria) Biram Mboob (The Gambia), Uchenna Izundu (Nigeria).

14.15- 14.45 (Break)

14.45-15.45 : Imagine This…Prize –Winning Women writers 3 writers read from works that have won them prestigious prizes and talk about it means for their writing careers, their influences and African women in writing today. With Karen King-Aribisala (Guyana/Nigeria) , Sade Adeniran(Nigeria) and Molara Wood(Nigeria) .

15.45 – 16.15 (Break)

16.15 – 17.15 Off the page translations: Readings from 3 exciting new books of African poetry in translation! Hear the poetry and discuss the process of translating these works with translators, Mark de Brito and Fathieh Saudi with readings by poets Bashir al Gamar (Sudan) and Isabel Romaine (Cote d'Ivoire).

17.15 – 17.45 (Break)

17.45 - 18.45 Dreams Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African fiction : Celebrate the launch of one of the most important anthologies to come out of Africa this century. It includes work from prize winning and new African writers from all over Africa, the USA, Europe and Australia. Contributors from Kenya, Ghana, USA and the UK will read from the book.

18.45 – 19.15 (Break)

19:15 – 20.00 Finish the day with an acoustic set from sublimeguitarist and singer Modeste Hugues from Madagascar, whoweaves a 'hypnotic carpet of sound'.

Broadcaster Henry Bonsu and Nkechi Ebite present and chair events throughout the day.

Sainsbury African galleries

13.30-14.30Creative writing workshop: Inspired by the textiles, ceramics and sculptures? Tour the galleries with your imagination and write poems and stories with Ebele Ajogbe.

14.30-15.30Storytelling: Listen to Ghanaian stories in Twi/Fante with Nana-Essi Casely-Hayford and Somalian stories with Amina Souliman

15.30-16.30Music and poetry :Bashir al Gamar plays the oud and tells us the stories behind the songs. And Leeds Young Authors, Zodwa Nyoni and Dana Chinyanga perform poetry in Ndebele, Shona and English

16.30-17.30Singing and poetry : Bhelakazi sings in Xhosa and English and performance poetry from Zodwa Nyoni and Dana ChinyangaThe Great Court

14.00-17.00 Arts and crafts activities for children. The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Room

18.45-19.45 Do you have what it takes to be a published author?Ellah Allfrey one of Britain's foremost editors in one of the largest publishing houses, Random House, and David Godwin, one of Britain's top literary agents, whose clients include prize winning African authors tell you what is going on in African literature today and offer tips and advice on how to get your manuscripts to them. (Must pre-book. Limited places available).


Monday, 26 May 2008

Chinua Achebe Lectures at Birkbeck

“The Influence of Chinua Achebe on some Contemporary Writers” By Professor Elleke Boehmer,(Professor of World Literature in English, Oxford University)

6pm Wednesday 28th May, 2008


For more info:

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Live at the Barbican - Wednesday 28th May

The perfect opening to Groove Nations comes from Fela Kuti’s youngest son - Nigeria's Seun Kuti fronting his father’s band Egypt 80.

Backed by a 15-piece ensemble and performing in his father’s inimitable charismatic style, Seun’s driving saxophone melodies and explosive vocals are underpinned by high-energy, jazz-infused afro-beats. His powerful lyrics revive the political voice of his father.

Cited as a big influence on Fela Kuti in the 70s, long lost hero of afro-soul funk, Sierra Leonean Geraldo Pino and The Heartbreaks re-form especially for this concert.

Wed 28 May 7.30pmGroove Nations – Seun Kuti & Egypt 80Silk StreetEC2Y 8DS020 7638 8891Tickets £12.50/15/20

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Africa Day

May 26

The annual Africa Day festival (organised by the GLA) takes place in Trafalgar Square, with African music featuring Les Amazones de Guinée, Busi Ncube and Bassekou Kouyate. A licensed bar, African food stalls and kids’ workshops are all part of the day.

Africa Day, 1-8pm, Trafalagar Square, W1. Charing Cross tube/rail.

May 15-June 28Angaza Afrika
– African Art NowAn exhibition of major African art, plus the launch of the ‘Angaza Afrika’ book by British Museum curator Chris Spring.October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester St, WC1 (020 7242 7367) Holborn tube.

May 17 London Adventist Chorale – Down by the Riverside LAC sings famous spirituals.Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 (0871 663 2500) Waterloo tube/rail. May 21-29Mosaique Festival Human rights charity Sandblast hosts Saharawi music and handicrafts from Western Sahara made by women refugee workers in Algerian camps.The Chocolate Factory, Unit B104, 5 Clarendon Rd, N22 (020 8881 6483) Wood Green tube.

May 21-29 Mosaique Festival Human rights charity Sandblast hosts Saharawi music and handicrafts from Western Sahara made by women refugee workers in Algerian camps.The Chocolate Factory, Unit B104, 5 Clarendon Rd, N22 (020 8881 6483) Wood Green tube.

May 25 Africa at the Pictures. A day of film screenings and talks, forming part of a broader festival.Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 (020 7613 7498) Bethnal Green tube.

May 26 Africa Day The annual Africa Day festival (organised by the GLA) takes place in Trafalgar Square, with African music featuring Les Amazones de Guinée, Busi Ncube and Bassekou Kouyate. A licensed bar, African food stalls and kids’ workshops are all part of the day.Africa Day, 1-8pm, Trafalagar Square, W1. Charing Cross tube/rail.

May 29 What We Buy Speakers from Fairtrade, Anti-Slavery International and Rugmark explore the patterns of consumerism that made, and still perpetuate, slavery. Includes a panel discussion. Booking essential.6.30-8pm. Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 (0870 444 3855) Canary Wharf tube/West India Quay DLR.

Word From Africa (© Thierry Bal) May 31 Word From Africa A free, all-day celebration of African language and literature, with readings, talks and a market.1-8.15pm. British Museum, Great Russell St, WC1 (020 7323 8000) Russell Square tube.

May 31 The Legacy of the Slave Trade in Sierra Leone A talk by Professor Tunde Zack-Williams, of the African Studies Association of the UK. 3-4pm. Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 (0870 444 3855) Canary Wharf tube/West India Quay DLR.

June 5 Exploring Black British Writers
A panel of writers, including Courttia Newland, discuss forgotten black British writers. Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 (0870 444 3855) Canary Wharf tube/West India Quay DLR.

June 12 African Writers Evening A fifth birthday event, with Ghanaian writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes. 8pm, £6. Spirit Level at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 (0871 663 2500) Waterloo tube/rail.

June 12 Nuru Kane Senegalese musician Nuru Kane and his band, for one night only.Vibe Bar, 91 Brick Lane, E1 (020 7426 0491) Aldgate East tube.

June 14 Docks, Slavery and Empire A day-long study of the West and East India Docks and the slave trade. 10.30am-4.30pm. £20, concs £15. Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 (0870 444 3855) Canary Wharf tube/West India Quay DLR.

June 24-August 2 Torn Femi Ogun’s play ‘Torn’ returns, with its tale of two lovers, one African, one Caribbean, facing cultural tensions.Arcola Theatre, 27 Arcola St, E8 (020 7503 1646) Dalston Kingsland rail.

June 28-29 Carnival de Cuban Afro-Cuban festival, with bands, music, food and workshops. Sat 12noon-9pm; Sun 12noon-8pm. Southwark Park, SE16. Bermondsey/Canada Water tube.

July 6 Caine Prize
Authors shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Literature read from their own work, in advance of the winner announcement the following night.Southbank Centre, SE1 (0871 663 2500) Waterloo tube/rail.

July 13 Talking in Tongues Part of the London Literature Festival, this event features UK-based African writers and performers, including the Southbank Centre’s resident writer Lemn Sissay and hip hop artist Breis. £7; free African Allstars show at 9pm.Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, SE1 (0871 663 2500) Waterloo tube/rail.

July 23-August 9 Gone Too Far Bola Agbaje’s Olivier Award-winning play depicts a world where respect is always demanded but rarely given.Royal Court, Sloane Square, SW1 (020 7565 5000) Sloane Square tube. Then at The Albany, SE8 and Hackney Empire, E8.

July 28-August 2 Tiata Delights ’08 A festival of six new plays by African playwrights resident in the UK, ending with a concert of music by Jamiroquai’s Sola Akingbola. July 28-Aug 1, 7.30pm, Aug 2, 6pm. Concert 9pm. Almeida Theatre, N1 (020 7359 4404) Angel tube.

August 16 Out of Africa
Picnic at the Shoreditch Festival Craft and food stalls, drumming and African stage shows. 12noon-7pm. Shoreditch Park, New North Rd, N1. Old St tube.August 17Out of Africa Street Party Lower Marsh, near Waterloo station, hosts music, art, crafts and food.11am-8pm. Lower Marsh, SE1. Waterloo tube/rail.

Black History Month
A UK-wide celebration, with everyone from local councils to church halls and arts centres hosting events celebrating black culture in the UK, including films, exhibitions and kids’ events.

November 7-17 BFM International Film Festival
The tenth BFM (Black Filmmaker Magazine) festival presents cinema from Africa, the Caribbean and USA. For details see ICA, BFI Southbank, British Museum and venues in east London.

Nov 28-Dec 7 Independence Days A festival celebrating 50 years of African independence and cinema, presented by the group Africa at the Pictures, which promotes African filmmaking. For full details see Mix Cultural Foundation, BFI Southbank, Barbican Centre and other venues.

Lemn Sissay Under the Influence of the Liverpool Poets

Thursday 26 June at 7pm
Lemn Sissay was born in 1967, the year The Mersey Sound was first published. Within its pages Lemn found the confirmation he had been looking for, that poetry should be for the people, by the people.
This event is part of Liverpool 08.
Tickets £10 and £7, venue The Arts Theatre.
Find out more at

Monday, 19 May 2008

Afrika! Afrika!

To those who have been to the spectacle that is Afrika Afrika, you know what I am talking about, to those who havent yet seen this, you have until 31st May to catch the London showing at 02.

For ticket see:

Thursday, 15 May 2008

timaya dem mama

Nigeria Na My Country Oh!

Re: TimeOut Magazine

I posted earlier about request for photo's of London by African Photographers and I am delighted to say one of my friends Saratu Maman was selected to be featured read/ see more pics on their site:

Mother Africa and the Diaspora

I have just returned from a two and a half week trip to Nigeria, reluctantly might I add!
Having been born and breed in London, England, I fall under the term Diaspora, however I haven't felt more Nigerian in my entire life!

Probably the most widely appreciated art-form in Nigeria is music and the appreciation of Nigerian music within its borders and on the continent continues to grow. Contemporary music gains support not only from the public but arts awards seem to be directed this way (at least by the British Council Lagos).

Literature is also at a high standard with writers such as Chimamanda Adichie shining a limelight onto Nigeria, both Historically and culturally ( side note: Wole Soyinka was on my flight back I was so star struck). I myself have been a fan of Nigerian literature for about two years, working my way through Chinua Achebe (No Longer at Ease), Peju Alatishe (Orita Meta) and Helon Habila (Waiting for an Angel) to name a few. During this trip I made my way through Yellow Yellow by Kaine Agary, which highlighted issues around the Niger Delta that fed nicely into my visit to the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos (CCA Lagos), run by Curator Bisi De Silva.

The current exhibition Paradise Lost: Revisiting the Niger Delta is a solo exhibition by photographer George Osodi, raising similar issues around the major oil companies and their treatment of the people living around the Niger Delta area. The images are thought provoking, hard hitting and sincere to the everyday issue faced by the residents.

CCA Lagos is a great spot for contemporary art, comprised of a gallery and library space over two floors. With regularly held artists talks and collaborations with various other arts institutes, this is a useful resource for Nigeria's contemporary arts.

CCA Lagos
9 McEwen Street,
tel: +2341 7913274


Pimp my Mayor

As Part of my own learning/ practice I have been embarking on a course with Arts Admin titled I Am Think Tank. The project was designed to allow young people to express their socio-political opinions through processes including performance, discussion and happenings. Working with artist Richard DeDomenici and a selection of invited guest lecturers we discussed methods of actively bring awareness to the issues affecting the group.

Our Final intervention was around the London Mayoral elections. We designed calling cards with the top four candidates and proceeded to leave them around the City of London. The Public could call up the numbers on each card to find out some of the policies the candidates held.

I'm not sure if this swung the vote, in favour of Boris ;)