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Monday, 22 February 2021

FFELIX TRANSLATED MY POEM " IN MY COUNTRY GIRLS DISAPPEAR" TO SHENG!


Felix Omondi


FelixSheng is a slang language that originated in the '50's in Nairobi' s Eastland suburbs/ghettos as a way for the young people to communicate amongst themselves without the older generation getting in on their discussions. The language which borrows words from English kiswahili and other ethinic languages in the country grew in prominence in the 90's through the local hip hop scene of the likes of Kalamashaka- a hip hop group - and is now mostly used by many youths in their daily communication instead of English and Kiswahili.



In My Country Girls Disappear 


The Sheng version 



Chibok

Kabila ya madenge yenye 

Ililoba wakati gova 

Ilikua inachea monopoly na magaidi        wenye 

Waliwasanya 

Wengine wao walirudi bure            wengine 

Wakagenya na uzito

Wangine bado wako kwa iyo ngori        na 

Wengine hawakuwai rudi 


Uwa

Mi uomba mercy kila time naandika poetry juu 

Hapa 

Sir-godi anaweza geuzwa vumbi 

Niaje mdenge anaweza omba ku 

Bakwa, kukat(i)wa, kupeanwa mbele ya 

Msalaba? 


Tina 

Stage yoyote  karibu na mtaa

Ni shooting range 

Hakuna mwenye alivuka baro in time 

Kumchapia eti kusimama ni catfish 

Wakati sanse ni synonym ya point alafu 

Angusha 


Jennifer

 Wakidaisha mdenge ameiva 

Kenye wanamaanisha ni -        je

Ako old enough kudishiwa?

Hapa, ni carnival kwa mtoi kunajisiwa 

Na mafadhelaa kadhaa


Girls 

Kwa zile kesi zaidi ya thao zinatendeka daily 

Wakiuliza victims timestamp, zabe gani

Na vile alikua amedunga 

Ni kaa izi vitendo vya kinyama 

Ni design flani ya sherehe



~ Translated to sheng by Felix Omondi




    Art: © Opeyemi Matthew Olukotun (@opeyemiolukotun).
    Art: © Opeyemi Matthew Olukotun (@opeyemiolukotun).


    The English Version




    Chibok

    A tribe of girls went

    Missing while the government

    Played monopoly with the terrorists that stole them

    Some of them returned empty         some of them died burdened

    Some are still in harm’s way           & others never returned


    Uwa

    I ask for mercy when I write poetry because here

    God can turn to dust

    How does a girl ask to be

    Raped & mutilated, offered in front of a cross?


    Tina

    Any bus stop near home

    Is shooting range

    No one took the road in time

    To tell her that standing is catfish

    When the police is synonym for point and kill


    Jennifer

    When they say a girl is ripe

    What they mean is  -                              is she old enough for us to devour?

    Here, it is carnival for a child to be abused by multiple men


    Girls

    & for thousands of daily unfolding cases 

    They ask victims for timestamps, locations & outfit styles

    As though this inhumane invasion is some sort of feast



    My thoughts:

    Each language in my opinion gives a different kind of depth, it possesses its meaning & it has a distinct texture on the tongue. So it means so much to me that this poem I wrote about a very sad but significant event in my country Nigeria has taken meaning in another tongue, in another language - Sheng!

    This means a lot to me and I hope more of my pieces get translated across the board!

    Thank you, Felix!


    Roseline Mgbodichinma


    Monday, 11 January 2021

    ON CREATIVITY, BODY SHAMING, FASHION & PERSONAL STYLE - AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA OBOCHI

     

    Plus size fashion



    Hi, please introduce yourself 


    My name is Alexandra Obochi My friends call me Alex or Xandra or pretty much any of the variations they like. I recently graduated from the University of Benin with a bachelor's degree in international studies and diplomacy and I'm currently awaiting NYSC call up. I am a professional makeup artist, a content creator and aspiring creative director. I'm also a curve model, basically what you would call a plus-size model. I am the convener of fashion and curve, a plus size fashion show that had its debut in the city of Benin in 2019. Hopefully, we'll see a 2nd edition soon. I love everything fashion and my style is alte, retro and vintage. 


    plus size model cover girl


    Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem and at what point did you become very confident in your skin


    I've never exactly struggled with low self-esteem for a long period. There have been times in my life however that I've let myself be down on confidence because of what people or family said to me concerning my weight. But ultimately I'm a very confident person so I eventually get back up or come up with ways to do so.



    Have you ever been body shamed, how do you handle body shamers both online and offline? 


    Lol, the answer to this is a big and resounding YES! All my life I've been body-shamed, from family members to relatives who feel the need to give their opinion even when not asked, down to classmates, friends and even partners in relationships.  Been fat automatically means you're a bit different from others and people will never learn how to accept different.


    When handling body Shamers I always put them in their place, I've worked hard on my self-confidence and I don't need anyone to come tearing it down. I've recently been trying to put out more body-positive contents on social media and there's a little backlash especially on Twitter. A lot of times I ignore or block or respond very harshly to these body shamers, they listen to no other thing. Offline however I respond always. It is my life and body so I see no reason why anyone should have an opinion about it. 



    bikini for big girls

    say no to body shaming


    ...fuck society's expectations of what we should be or look like. Self-love is hard but it's the most rewarding thing ever. Never be ashamed of how you look...


    You are a very experimental makeup artist, you play with colours and create amazing looks. Where did this inspiration to be bold and fearless with your art come from?


    Thank you for the compliment. I love colours and love to create looks. The truth is I love being an artist and I have an incredible passion for it. The art of transforming myself or a client is incredibly rewarding to me and I've always loved to see how far I could take it while still looking amazing. I get inspired a lot of times by just thinking of creating or putting ideas together in my head. Other times I'm inspired but amazing artists in my niche and field. 


    cover girl make up

    make up artist


    Been fat automatically means you're a bit different from others and people will never learn how to accept different.

    Have you ever had people tell you that you are doing too much, that you should probably tone it down a bit, if yes, how did you handle such opinion?


    I've never had such an opinion and if I ever do, you'll see me doing more instead of less. Can't ever let people bring me down and that's on period.


    plus sized women

    fashion Icon


    I love being an artist and I have an incredible passion for it. The art of transforming myself or a client is incredibly rewarding to me

    You are a fashion Icon in my opinion, so how long does it take you to style yourself and what do you have to say to people who think plus-sized women should only wear certain types of clothing or outfits 


    I'm not a fashion Icon yet, but I like to think I'm on my way. Styling is pretty easy for me once I've paired up the outfits in my head, I always do the pairing before testing. 


    To people who think plus-sized women should only wear certain outfits. I think that's rubbish and to my beautiful plus sized gals please wear what you wanna wear, if it's cropped top wear it hunnay! If it is a body con dress wear it and own your curves, own your FUPA, own those rolls baby and love yourself.


    own your FUPA

    blazer jackets for women


    On your Instagram page, you combine patterns and prints and it's very artistic, what does being an African woman mean to you?


    Being an African woman is so exhilarating to me. Wearing Patterns and prints brings out the best in me and reminds me that my skin is gold and my ancestry is full of African kings and Queens. I'm so proud to be African and Nigerian at that. And being proud of my culture leads to me imbibe every aspect of my life with culture. 


    African prints

    african woman



    Ankara jacket
    Ankara blazer for plus sized women


    You have a reasonable following on social media. Do you ever feel pressured to perform or fit into a certain Aesthetic, do you think this idea of perfection in the creative space is harmful?


    While I do feel pressured to always put out content, the pressure comes from within myself as I love to push myself to be consistent in anything I do. I feel I have created my aesthetic through my style and creativity and I'm super proud of that. And no, I never feel pressured to fit into a certain aesthetic because I have tried all my possible best to create my aesthetic and make it a lifestyle. So it's not that hard to do especially when you get  used it 


    I think perfection is overrated. Nobody is perfect. Even on Instagram. And the idea of it is harmful. To an extent even I have experienced the bad side of thinking you can be perfect on Instagram. Through pressuring myself to try and be like other people or wear what they wear or do what they do. It didn't help me in any way and I had to learn to curb that need to be perfect or create perfect content like some influencer we see.  


    curvy model

    When handling body Shamers I always put them in their place, I've worked hard on my self-confidence and I don't need anyone to come tearing it down.

    Have influencers, celebrities or Instagram models ever caused you to think about your body image and was it negatively or positively?


    Like I said it's very easy to be affected and think negatively about yourself especially when everyone around you seems to be close to perfect. However, I learnt to not compare myself to people I see on the gram. And to love me a little more every time I feel pressured to be like someone else. 


    I find your younger brother very cool and handsome. Do you style him too and how important is it to educate children on body image and self-confidence.


    Thank you so much. Yes, I style most of his outfits, he manages to pull them off with his insane charisma and model poses. 

    I wish someone has taken the time to educate me on body confidence when I was little. Knowing that there's nothing wrong with our bodies and with how we looked at that age would have been freeing. I think it's very important to educate children so that they'd know early on how important it is to love their bodies and selves. 


    fashion for kids

    face art for kids

    cool kid on the telephone

    kid celebrities

    coolest kid on the block

    locations for childrens photoshoot


    I think perfection is overrated. Nobody is perfect. Even on Instagram. And the idea of it is harmful.

    Overall how has your creative journey been and is it slightly more difficult for plus-sized women in the creative industry?


    Overall, my creative journey has been insane. At least that's the one thing I can fully say I achieved last year. It's been amazing and even looking through my Instagram page you can clearly see growth. 

    I believe it is a bit difficult for plus-sized women. Sometimes getting people's attention is hard, and even more painful is when a normal-sized person does the same thing or less of what you did, people flock the content. That is really discouraging.


    plus sized women in the creative industry

    street style

    rainbow background photography

    holiday vibes

    chilling in an eatery

    I feel I have created my aesthetic through my style and creativity and I'm super proud of that. I never feel pressured to fit into a certain aesthetic

    Any advice for women, especially young girls who are ashamed of the way they look and find it hard to accept themselves because of society? 


    Girlllll. The one thing I have learnt this year is to fuck society's expectations of what we should be or look like. Make sure your own opinion comes first. Make sure you are your top priority and not what people think of you. Self-love is hard but it's the most rewarding thing ever. Never be ashamed of how you look especially if its something as normal as saggy boobs or stretch marks or even back rolls. Those are incredibly normal and you should never feel bad about having them on your body. 


    live, love and breathe

    plus sized women


    What do you do for fun, give us three random facts about you?


    I love to read Manga, Romance, fiction, play music, dance and have fun family time. 

    Random facts about me; I hate honey, I'm insanely curious and I cry for every movie. Doesn't matter the genre I will cry. Even if the ending is happy or sad or scary!



    Thank you for doing this! 



    Saturday, 19 December 2020

    ON HUMANITY, ART & STORYTELLING - AN INTERVIEW WITH PEARL ADA

    Humanity and kindness


    Hi, pearl. Please introduce yourself


    Hello:) My name is Pearl Ada and I am a storyteller.



    You recently started a website - a free resource hub where people have access to resources and information on the dangers of sexual violence and abuse. Tell us more about it and why you thought this was such an important step to take, Did you receive any push back whatsoever before and after it was created?


    Consent Haven is a free resource hub for all individuals, organizations, and groups that are interested in abolishing the normalized culture of sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria. We tackle rape culture through consent education.


    To be honest, I started Consent Haven out of desperation and I guess helplessness. The plight of the girl child in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is something I just can't wrap my head around. It's alarming, to say the least. With the rape and murder of Uwa, I felt like I wasn't doing enough. Are my conversations about this enough? Am I part of the problem? I found myself struggling with these thoughts...I was really losing sleep for days, then I spoke to a wise friend of mine about it..:) He gave me an assignment, asked me to brainstorm - to come up with something I can do. That's how Consent Haven was born. I had all these pieces of information I wanted to share, so I got to work. I reached out to some creatives including you Roseline...:) Thank you for helping me out...


    I can't tell you how many emails I wrote to organizations, schools or the amount of influential people I reached out to, just to get it out there. None of it worked and that's okay...no one owes me anything

    In regards to push-back, I actually didn't receive any while working on it. I just lost a lot of sleep - because it was a one-woman team from the creation of the website, its design, the resources and all that. I am used to not sleeping much anyway...(laughs) I got a lot of praise from friends and family after its creation, I was truly grateful for that but to be honest, that wasn't what I was looking for.


    With Consent Haven, more than anything, I just wanted people to share the website and its resources. I can't tell you how many emails I wrote to organizations, schools or the amount of influential people I reached out to, just to get it out there. None of that worked...(laughs) and that's okay. It just reminded me of something I have always known, the fact that no one owes me anything and that I need to work really hard to have a platform, build an audience so that when I share projects like this, it can reach people.


    6ft 3


    I believe evil can never outdo good, there's just as much good as there is evil in this world. People are good! People are kind! People will help you!

     



    We are breaking others in search of relief... & when you hurt beauty you hurt yourself... These lines are excerpts from your spoken word poetry 'The person who tried to break me' and 'You are ugly' These lines made me wonder how people hurt people without realizing that they too are undergoing some sort of self-destruction, can you speak more to this? Do you think the world is losing the essence of kindness?


    Hurt people hurt people. That's a fact. It's really difficult to see someone who is at peace with their body, mind, and soul wreaking havoc in other people's lives. When we understand and know love - true love which by the way begins with ourselves, we find it hard to hurt others. It took a while to get here but when a person hurts me, the first thing I think is damn, this person must really be hurting. When you know and feel beauty, you give beauty, you speak beauty, you show beauty. That's how I see the world. Is it a correct view? Dunno. (laughs)


    When we understand and know love - true love which by the way begins with ourselves, we find it hard to hurt others

     

    Is the world losing the essence of kindness? Nah, don't think so. Although it seems the world is just getting darker and scarier, I believe evil can never outdo good, there's just as much good as there is evil in this world. People are good! People are kind! People will help you! That's the mindset I try to live by. Will I meet people who will make me question humanity? Of course! But when I am open to good, I will come in contact with it. As a woman thinketh, so is she.


    Art can change the world


    Do you Believe Art can change the world? You are so multi-talented, I've seen you dance, you write so well, you have very powerful vocals and you do spoken word poetry, among other things. Which of these Art forms do you love the most, which one is more liberating for you.


    I think Art can and is changing the world. I speak from personal experience. I am deeply moved by art, there's just intense beauty in it. I have learned so much from engaging with different art forms and also from creating it. It's one of the most powerful things in the world. I love storytelling, be it through music, dance, spoken words, poetry, drama, I feel so free and happy when I get to tell stories. Truly, all these art forms make my heart race   (laughs) But there's one that makes it beat a little faster than the others, and that is Acting.


    I call myself a storyteller because I don't want to be identified by just one art form 

     

    I am an aspiring actor, I love it so much, it gives me butterflies.  To bring the human experience to life on stage, on-screen - that's my dream. This is the only occupation I don't mind being identified by - Pearl the Actor:))) I call myself a storyteller because I don't want to be identified by just one art form. I can geek out breaking down a scene or talking about an actor who inspires me. I even have a list of actors who I learn from. For me, watching a movie is a study session, I break down scenes, think of the actor's choices, the director's view  It's manic really. (laughs)



    First class law graduate


    You are first-class Law graduate! As a law student, I know this is such a big deal and it is not an easy feat. How was your experience studying law outside Nigeria and what do you think Nigerian universities can do better in terms of providing quality education. Also, any reading tips for law students who are struggling to get their grades up.


    Thank you! My experience studying in the UK was beautiful, truly. It really wasn't easy but I didn't have to go through unnecessary hardships and all that. At the core of their education system is the wellbeing of the student, something which the Nigerian system completely lacks. If you put a student first, they do better, they excel but when a system is designed to attack your effort and hard work, it's just terrible, it's not conducive. The Nigerian universities need to put the student and their needs first, before profit and politics.


    Honestly, I don't know if I am the right person to give study advice, but I would say you should know what kind of student or learner you are. Are you a visual, auditory, or verbal learner? Do you do better in groups or alone? Figure this out and fix yourself where you can thrive. I never made notes in class because I learn by listening, never missed a tutorial or seminar because I learn through discussions, barely attended lectures..(laughs) I don't like group study, so I studied alone most of the time. I preferred my room to the library. Just figure out what works for you. You don't have to do what everyone does. Not sure this helps. :):)



    How to handle lonliness


    What is your experience with loneliness, at what moment in your life did you feel it more and how did you cope with it?


    Funny enough, my most lonely moments were around people. I have always stood out like a sore thumb, starting from my 6'3 height to the way I view the world Never been able to fit in a clique or group, so my most lonely years were during primary and secondary school. I hadn't come into myself then, so I always felt lost and just wrong. I don't think I coped with it at all then, I was just trying to survive day to day. I only realized how much I was struggling later on.


    Why are you so particular about the Humanity of people, how has this acknowledgement that human beings are fundamentally flawed helped you navigate through life?


    I wish I could give you a grand reason but it's just an innate thing. It's really an I was born this way situation. I have always been burdened about people, the world, humanity. I don't know how to live or function without this sense of responsibility. It shows up in everything thing I do and say. For me accepting that people are fundamentally flawed helps me love people better, helps me afford them grace I don't always do this, but I keep trying to be better.


    Body shamming is bad


    Some people have chosen to cower and shrink themselves because society has termed them as being overly sensitive or just doing too much. Can you give any words of Affirmation to these kinds of people?


    There are a lot of unhealed people in this world you see. Hurt shows up as jealousy, envy, low-self esteem, gossip, and even ignorance. When you understand this, it becomes easier to ignore the naysayers. People will always have opinions no matter what you do or how you do it, so why not become your highest self?.   Just boldly live your one beautiful life because las las, they will still talk(laughs) Also, you are not alone! Everyone has a tribe, people who they can relate with  You may not have met or heard about them yet, that's all.

    I have always been burdened about people, the world, humanity. I don't know how to live or function without this sense of responsibility.

     


    Do you consider shamelessness to be a good thing? If yes, how do we eliminate the culture of shame? How helpful is shamelessness in chasing and actualizing one's goals and dreams?


    I think the problem is that when people hear the word shamelessness, they immediately think of someone who goes around doing just what they want, how they want, not caring at all how their actions negatively affect other people There's a disconnect because this is not what we mean by it.


    As humans, we are interconnected, whether we like it or not. Also, no person can survive alone in this world, we all need each other... A person who truly lives shamelessly doesn't let other people's opinions, expectations, or world views stop them from being or becoming their highest selves. They acknowledge the importance of advice, care, and community but realize that no one can want the best for them more than they do for themselves. They know how to sift through opinions, they are experts at blocking out the noise, and they know how to learn from advice without letting it control or damn them and their dreams. Every great name you know today lived shamelessly, they blocked out the noise and did what they had to.


    By the way, people who are in tune with their bodies, hearts, minds, and souls don't shame others. It doesn't even occur to you. So, if you participate in the culture of shaming others, there's something fundamentally wrong - and it's not with the person being shamed :)


    Body shamming tall girls is wrong


    Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem and body shaming? How did you handle it, especially in this society where beauty is being defined by unrealistic standards.


    Sure! I am 6'3. Growing up, my height was all people talked about. Both Adults and children teased me Girls are not supposed to be like this, who will marry this one? She's this tall and she's not even that pretty too, how will you kiss your husband? You look like you are going to break, she's so huge! ....

    I struggled a lot, I did not feel feminine at all, finding clothes and shoes that fit was a hassle, and boys weren't even checking for the giraffe girl. I mostly felt like an alien    (laughs) Of course, this isn't the only reason but my self-esteem was non-existent.


    It took a while but I handled it by redefining beauty. Beauty is something that I am, not something that I have to prove. I am beautiful and enough just because I exist. That sounds radical but it's true.


    I don't need to be defined by anybody's standards. Nature chose me. God chose means (laughs) Things are different now though, my height is still what everyone talks about but it's now all about my aura, how elegant, powerful, and graceful I am. Isn't it funny? There were no drastic physical changes, I even got taller but people's attitudes towards me are different. When I walk into a room, you can tell that I operate differently. I believe I am beauty, so I radiate it, and you have no option than to acknowledge it I now carry myself like the queen I know I am.


    A person who truly lives shamelessly doesn't let other people's opinions, expectations, or world views stop them from being or becoming their highest selves.


    What is your current job and what is your dream job? I know mine is to relax and be receiving unsolicited credit alerts, yours?


    Yes to credit alerts! I currently work as a freelance content creator. Acting is my dream job. I wanna be a businesswoman too - hopefully, all these will lead to countless credit alerts (laughs)


    Humanity is important


    I have always stood out like a sore thumb, starting from my 6'3 height to the way I view the world, Never been able to fit in a clique or group,


    Tell us Five Random Facts About you, What do you do for fun


    • I think out loud, so I talk randomly

    • I make lists and notes for almost everything

    • I listen to music in various languages

    • I hold a lot of dance concerts in my room. I intensely dance for an hour or two for my imaginary audience...

    • I love corn - boiled, roasted, dried, popped    corn is corn



    Lastly, Any advice for young people trying to find themselves?


    Be intentional about the growth you hope to see in yourself, however, don't rush it. It takes time to unlearn - and growth occurs in stages. Take things slowly and trust the process. Once there is a clear intention - a clear plan, things will fall into place.



    Millenials should get rid of anxiety 


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