Check out those who get at least 5 A’s in SSCE. What do you realise? They are usually science students!!
It has become quite cliche to expect good performances from science students and poor ones from their arts counterparts. In fact, it is believed that no academically-sound student should waste his intellectual prowess in arts. With this shallow belief, it comes as no surprise that most schools in Nigeria churn out below average art students every year.
As a teacher in tutorials, this trend of having less-than-stellar pupils becomes quite worrisome. Many times, I do a lot of soul searching, trying to decipher the problem. Maybe I wasn’t just good enough.
However, with the improvement I see in the students after several sessions, I realised that I may not be the problem after all. This realisation set me on a new path: one where I sought to demystify the reasons behind the academic mediocrity in arts.
Do you want to know why we have average or below average performances in arts? Read on
- The belief that educationally-challenged students belong to arts.
Sodiq Adesokan Sp Vibes has this to say:
“It is suicidal in nature to ask secondary school students that are performing below expectation to go to Arts Department. I don’t know how some teachers came up with the idea that Arts Department is meant for students with learning disorders. Do they even know that a student who is mentally lazy can’t be in Arts Department? Should we tell them how many plays, novels and poems Arts Students are compelled to read for just a subject? Or we should let them know that without an analytical mind, there can be no thorough analyses of literary texts?
Please, stop sending students who can’t read and write to Arts Department; it is suicidal.”
- The nonchalant nature of school owners. Many of them think that art subjects can be taught by anyone, so they employ every Tom, Dick and Harry to teach art-related courses.
See what Olayemi Deejaysaintq Andrew has to say:
I had to just search and comment on this post. A friend who just finished her NYSC just got a job as a private school teacher. She studied biochemistry and was drafted to teach CRK and LITERATURE to ss3 students preparing for WAEC, NECO and UTME. Isn’t that too absurd?! When she complained that she had no prior knowledge in that field, she was told to read out whatever she finds in the recommended textbooks to the students. Please how long are we going to keep lowering the standard oe education and bastardizing the arts department. Can a graduate of history or English be drafted to teach physics or chemistry?
3. The non-challant attitude of the student: Surely, this is quite glaring in every discipline. However, it is predominant in arts. A teacher once said that he could easily identify art students whenever he visited a school. He pointed out that majority of those who skip classes, those who loiter around during lecture periods, and those who were always standing in the class turn out to be in the arts. Of course, his premise is totally subjective. Nevertheless, we cannot help but agree with him to an extent.
The arts department requires analytical skills. Stop discouraging bright students from going to arts. Likewise, we need to stop the practice of sending lazy and below par students to arts. Art is not a dumping ground.
Wole Soyinka — ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’
Did you know that the management of UNILAG placed a ban on students’ protest?
Well, let me explain.
Every fresh undergraduate is expected to sign an indemnity form. The signing of this form automatically stops every student from protesting because the penalty for such is expulsion. By this, we are expected to remain silent even when our rights are being infringed upon.
This means that students cannot protest against the excesses of the security unit, Alpha Base. Most times, this unit brutalise students for no reason at all. I remember a time one of them seized my bag because i refused to pay bribes to enter JAJA Hostel. Of course, you need to pay bribes if you are a squatter. These individual connive with the hostel porters to extort students because they know that there is no student union to defend us. These individuals know that the students cannot protest because of the indemnity form we signed.
Also, the hostels are really under equipped. Many a student attends classes without having their bath because of the lack of running water. It becomes more pathetic when you see the deplorable state of the bathroom. While you may counter this by saying students are the architects of this “disgustingness”, it is also important for you to remember that bathrooms cannot be kept clean if there is no water. Let that sink. I wish a senior lecturer or the VC could pay an unannounced visit to these hostels. This is an issue that we need to protest against. Sadly, we have no student union, and we are also being restricted by an indemnity form.
I have met so many wonderful lecturers in the department, some of whom are my friends on Facebook. Likewise, I have also met the ones who may sometimes be inconsiderate. How would you describe a lecturer who misses classes, only to fix them at a date that isn’t feasible? Let me explain a scenario. In 100lv, many students do a lot of borrowed courses. For example, law take electives from English, medical sciences take from pure sciences while English take from linguistics. With this knowledge, it is expected of the lecturers to reschedule their lectures when all the departments that take the course are free. But this is often not the case because these lecturers dictate when they would teach, even at the expense of their students. This explains why a linguistics lecturer held classes before the exam for students in his department. Mind you, other departments were not aware. Perhaps, this should offer an explanation to why two different courses offered by students may run simultaneously. Remember, we can’t protest against this because we are bound by a form. Remember, these same students are going to take up positions in the society someday; hence, truncating their ability to fight oppression is synonymous to promoting injustice in the society.
Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Signing an indemnity form isn’t unreasonable. However, it should probably be modified to suit the challenges faced by students. Students should be allowed to kick against injustice without having the fear of expulsion. Need I mention that UNILAG students living off campus are also victims of SARS harassment? A student union, for sure, would provide a great platform to tackle this.
Just like Wole Soyinka said, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.’
Restore the student union!
Modify the indemnity form!
Give us a platform to protest against injustice!
© It is none of your fucking business
(Please, take your time to read through)
I was seeking a suitable picture that portrays me as a teacher. Despite having a plethora to choose from, I settled for this because it was taken by a student without my knowledge. Also, I realized that, in terms of dressing, I am rather unconventional — I rarely dress cooperate. Therefore, it became important for me to display this quality.
I am Chiedozie Ude. My students call me Atomic, Uncle Dozie; I hate it when they call me “Mr Dozie” because it makes me look too old.
I started my teaching career by tutoring in a primary school. I used to have a lot of pictures but my younger brother misplaced the phone I used to take them. The careless upstart!
As of now, I have taught at nursery, primary, junior and senior secondary, and A-level. I would have included the university level but I don’t think unofficial tutorials count. Currently, I specialise in preparing students for SSCE and UTME.
With the above, it would seem as if my teaching career were jolly and totally pleasant. Well, that has never completely been the case. Read on to find out…
I started teaching JAMB students even as a JAMBITE. I taught without pay for that year; it was more like an internship programme. Luckily for me, it was on a part-time basis so I could take other teaching jobs. As fate would have it, I found a job at a secondary school. While the school was aware of my qualifications (or the glaring lack of the qualifications expected of a teacher), I was offered the job based on the fact that I impressed the management during trial period. In fact, according to a co-teacher that was employed the same time that I was, I was chosen ahead of her to teach literature at the senior secondary. She was a graduate.
I do not aim to use this avenue as a means of self aggrandisement, so I would skip the part I mentioned above. Like I mentioned, I was not totally qualified. However, I was good at what I did. This fact became evident in the life of one of the students who had been written off as poor. All of a sudden, she improved in her writing and analytical skills. I was not perfect, but I was the suitable teacher for her.
I grew into the job. I loved it. I love teaching. I love imparting knowledge. It helped my self esteem. It helped my mental health become better because as at that time, I was still languishing in the shame and pain of missing out on admission. That particular job gave me a purpose. Things were going smoothly and the students were learning. What could possibly go wrong.
I write this piece because I still feel hard done by. Maybe not as much as it used to be. Well, just like I have constantly said, I had next to no qualifications save for my SSCE certificate. The school grew and more teachers were employed. This set of teachers were more conventional; they were the regular tie-wearing and mean-looking teachers: old-fashioned. One Tuesday morning, the owner requested to see me after I was done with my class. That day, I even extended the class beyond the allotted time without intending to, for the class was really lively that day. I remember vividly because I was discussing Bayo Adebowale’s Lonely Days. The head teacher had to intervene for the class to end. I went to see the proprietress.
She offered me terms she was fully aware I couldn’t keep. She asked me to stay permanently or leave. She knew I was working at different places. When I was unable to meet her demands, she dismissed me. She didn’t even offer me a sack letter. She just told me that my services were no longer needed. She paid me and I left.
I didn’t know whether to cry or get angry. It was not about the money. It was about my worth as an individual. I felt irrelevant. All of a sudden, the depression I was battling because of my luckless search for university admission hit me hard. I was so sure that I was dismissed based on my qualifications and this feeling would prove to be the truth because a co-teacher explained everything that happened. After all, since the school had just bought a building of their own, it would have been an eyesore to have teachers who didn’t meet the required standards. Understandable, right?
That girl whom I said was improving in her studied sat for SSCE and couldn’t make literature. In fact, most of their external students didn’t pass it despite the fact that they were given the answers by the school authority. While this may seem like karma, I felt empty. I knew that I could have done better if only I completed the term with them. We were really on to something special but the school, lacking foresight, couldn’t see that. It came as no surprise when that girl texted me to say that she would have passed literature if only I had been allowed to complete the session. I was the only teacher who understood her difficulties so I could easily break difficult concepts down for her.
Thankfully, I am in a better place than I used to be. I have had many more jobs from high-paying clients who value what I do. I have been able to help hundreds of students gain admission. In fact, many of my students, last year, chose to study English because of me. I had never felt so proud. The only drawback to their decisions to study English is that they are always disturbing me with school work, and I sometimes rarely have time for myself; it is part of what I signed for. Most of these students are in UNN, UNIZIK, UI, UNIBEN, and various state schools. As of now, I know about twenty of them doing English.
Now, the lesson here is for people to respect teachers. Teachers play an important role in the society. A parent of one of my pupils once told me that “a child is as brilliant as his teacher”. This was said because she saw the positive impart I had on her son.
Teachers are often underrated and this shows why teachers are underpayed. Did you know that during the lockdown many teachers in the private sector couldn’t feed their families? I am mentally stronger because of my experiences as a teacher: the beautiful, the regular and the ugly. I have had lots of good times, and if I were to die now, my work here will constitute a huge part of my legacy
Teachers make the world revolve. Teachers are the creators of presidents, scientists, lawyers, doctors, etc. Teachers make kings and queens. Teachers should be valued. Happy Teachers’ Day to every tutor out there; you guys are the real MVPs.
© Chiedozie Ude.
It is sad that people use unfortunate incidents to push their stupid beliefs. One time, a boy committed suicide and a close friend of his used his suicide pictures to preach the gospel. While preaching the gospel is a good thing, we should also remember to respect certain occasions.
By extension, I find it appalling when alleged feminists (olodo misandrists) use sad events such as the raping of a lady to push their man-hating agenda. While it is expected of us to sympathise with victims, we should try not to push erroneous and harmful narratives which depict all men as animalistic, violent, unfeeling, wicked and every other despicable modifier known to humans. I see no reason why I should be punished for what another man did. Likewise, I see no sense in making people suffer the consequences of things they played no part in.
Because of Uwa’s case, one lady posted on twitter to push for the legalisation of the termination of pregnancy when the unborn child is a male. Of course, we all know that this is tongue-in-cheek; however, one cannot help but get worried about the fast-growing penchant to depict men, both dead, living and unborn, as villains. During this same case, many misandrists, in the name of showing wisdom or wokeness or whatever unintelligent thoughts that crossed their minds, deemed it necessary to vilify every man on their timeline. Suddenly, it became a crime to be a man. Suddenly, men who called for caution and systematic investigation into any rape case became rape apologists. Suddenly, all men had no self control. Suddenly, all men metamorphosed into animals. Suddenly, men lost the ability to reason.
Thankfully, those who perpetrated the dastardly murder of USA have been arrested. According to reports, a woman whom the late girl trusted was the mastermind of this act. Allegedly, this lady paid men to kill USA for ritual purposes. So now, do we say all women are potential murder masterminds or what?
It is high time we dropped gender stereotyping. Let us stop shielding people by calling out their entire gender. If a person commits a crime, let the person pay for it. This is not a defence of men. No. It is simply a clarion call to everyone. Make use of logic in situations.
Also, learn to respect the dead. All who promoted the narrative that Uwa was pregnant for the pastor will suffer for 600 years.
Hopefully, justice will be served!! Say no to rape!! Say no to gender stereotyping!!
Going by the notions of self-isolation, intermittent lock downs, heightened level of insecurity, inflation, poverty, retrogressive economy and some other catastrophical things, anyone should be convinced to argue vehemently that indeed COVID 19 is a curse to humanity. Behind this horrible mystery (phenomenon) are, majorly, psychological and religious reasons which put me in a confident state to argue that COVID-19___despite its seeming disastrous effects__ is a blessing, a such that should be appreciated and embraced. There are three unfathomable assumptions about the emergence of COVID 19: one, the assumption that some countries are fighting for superiority and through which the provision of vaccines for the deadly virus, this superiority will be revealed. Two, the assumption that some countries deliberately want to decrease the population of the world so that meritorious economies can be achieved. Lastly, the assumption that sins have become boundless that God decided to afflict humans with a disease that will bring them back to their sacred and humble states. Although these assumptions seem to contain some elements of verisimilitude, one cannot be so gullible to accept them exclusively. Without doubts, the reasons in the unfolding paragraphs should make my stand more vivid and logical.
COVID 19 is a blessing because it awoke the spirit of patriotism and also made some indigenes realize the importance of their country. It is so sad and disheartening that many citizens of a country (most especially the influential ones) find it so difficult to invest in their country. The country’s social and economy growth is left retarded. These citizens together with their family members go to comfortable places where they believe life is perfect, and they are only sighted meddling in the country’s affairs when it’s deemed necessary or when they are affected. Their allegiances are completely far from reach. Nigeria, for instance, is greatly affected by the outbreak of the disease. The economy is dwindling day by day and people’s patience is heading towards waterloo. No wonder stealing, mutilation and harassment are now very rampant. People now have to go to work on routines for survival while education, social and religion sectors are still incarcerated. It is actually this virus that dawned the spirit of patriotism on many Nigerian citizens. First of all, every citizen residing in other county where he/she is not an indigene is asked to return to his/her own country. Thus, leading to the homecomings of so many Nigerian citizens. These comings were so ignominious as so many of them who had thought there was nothing that could not be got outside Nigeria were disappointed. The rich citizens of Nigeria came to realize their shortcomings, how they had neglected their beloved county and constantly running away to land they thought was greener. They were all asked to isolate themselves from some days. The loopholes in Nigeria’s economy, education in terms of technology, management and independence are made vivid to them. Undoubtedly, many of them now have a greater sense of patriotism though still being remorseful. It could be foreboded that when things go back to normalcy, a great number of them will be on the move to facilitate the growth and development of the country prior to reality they encountered.
Of course, COVID-19 brought about the consciousnesses of God and the reverification of faith. For the past years, mankind have been living so strongly dependent on what they believe they created. They channel all their energy towards the development of human race that the reason behind their existentialism is hardly thought. No wonder some religious scholars believed that the disease is more or less an affliction from God to lead humans out of their wrongdoings back to the consciousnesses of him. Some people unconsciously worship money, some worship their fellow humans, others worship man-made things either for interior or exterior motive of which greediness, dishonesty and desecration cannot be underestimated. Gradually, humans are treading the paths of elasticity of some fixed supernaturality. Imagine scientists looking for ways to elongate humans’ life span, people replacing the naturalness of some things with artifices. All these are far beyond limits. The idea of constantly want to prove if God really exists or some kind of human illusive mentalities that aim at bringing about fears and cautiousness of actions. Some are even of the idea that aftermath is nothing but a kind of forgery. Beside this consciousness of God, reverification of faith also surfaced. It has got a stage where one begins to think whom people serve? The religious leaders or the God? The mosque’s or church’s structure or God? many a congregation has been bamboozled believing the efficacy of the religious leaders rather than God. To borrow and reverse a biblical statement, I will say the dues of Caesar have been given to Land and vice versa. COVID-19 therefore, subtly, rectified this. People of the world come to realize that both the churches and mosques together with the religious leaders are nothing but representatives of God. People now have time to reflect and to reverify their faiths. Every household has become a microcosm of their religious stands as all religious gatherings have been duly disassembled.
Even after its demise, the unity COVID-19 instigated will forever be recounted. This sounds so ironical and abysmal but it’s just the acrimonious truth. Some people have been living as if their life depended on their work. The 21st century is indeed a very busy century. Communities, households, cities, countries etc are now unified to some large extent. They are all working fervently to find cure to this virus, and alongside interpersonal, internal and international relationships are built. It was really stupefying when a girl from a very rich home said she wished COVID-19 would never end. The girl later explained the reason behind this vexatious statement. She said her parents were always busy. Working and making more money were all they cared about and evey other thing was given given little prominence including her and her siblings. Now that everybody has to stay at home forcefully, she said her parents had begun to physically, emotionally and psychologically pay a great deal of attention to her as well as her younger siblings. She didn’t have to seek the advice of outsiders for her personal ordeals anymore. She felt delighted and grateful. No wonder the youths of Nigeria who ventured into stealing people’s property in the disguise of Corona virus, poverty and lack of employment didn’t succeed. Many of them were caught while others were met with ghastly penalty. It was unity that made this restraint to be achieved. Undoubtedly, someone somewhere may want to argue otherwise with the idea that disunity has been the order of the day as so many sources of income and happiness have been disrupted and short-lived. But this contradiction is threadbare. People have now realized that the most effective way to overcome this period is by living in oneness. If I may ask the doubtful someone which are more important in the unfolding alternative questions: work or family? Working or staying healthy and alive? Cooperation or disagreement? Another amazing thing is that so far so good many citizens who have feared that poverty, idleness, isolation and boredom will mar their stays at home making them hellish were miraculously nonplussed. Apart from the palliatives given by the governments and some local government chairmen, so many generous movements and programs to help alleviate poverty, hunger and tensions were founded. Even some audio and visual programs prove extremely helpful in this period. Solidarity has suddenly become a familiar concept among peoples.
Without locomoting words, I believe without doubts that COVID-19 should be seen as a blessing rather than a curse. It’s time we understood the fact that not all things that have disastrous physique are always disasters and dooms. Some are just there for some reasons which can not always be made known to us. We should also try as much as possible to always see the positiveness in what appears to be negative. Some are not always curses, but somewhat blessing in disguise. Without much ado, I deem it necessary to halt here.
I’m fortunate to have both of my grand parents alive. I’ve spent the past weeks with them and I have a story to share with you.
My grand parents told me about the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu)- caused by a virulent type A virus. It is documented that about 21 million people died from the disease over a 12-month period, and perhaps 200 million at the end of the pandemic.
Grandma said it was called “OKORU OGBUE”. A centralized Igbo name would be “OFEE OGBUO”. The name implied that the disease was very contagious and that infected individuals most often died from the disease.
The disease was introduced into Nigeria by passengers and crews who arrived overseas through ships. Within months it was all over the place- every community in Nigeria. Anecdotal reports from my grandparents and others showed that every community lost between 50-80% of its inhabitants.
Documented reports, though, showed that about 500,000 Nigerians, out of a population of then 18 million, died in less than 6 months, and between 50 and 80% of the population was stricken. Undoubtedly, majority of the cases especially in villages were not reported.
On September 14th, 1918, a ship, S.S. Bida, arrived in Lagos, Nigeria. Some of the passengers were suffering from the influenza. They had boarded the ship in Accra, and on arrival in Lagos, passed on the disease to Lagosians.
The first cases were documented on 23rd September and a few days later the disease spread inland through the railway, appearing in Abeokuta on 1st October and Ibadan on the 5th of the same year.
On 14th October, the disease was brought to Onitsha from Lokoja and in a week or two the entire town and villages in the Onitsha province were thoroughly attacked.
From Onitsha, the epidemic spread to Asaba and all the towns of Western Igboland, causing much panic and consternation.
A report of the Roman Catholic Mission at Asaba stated that the people of Asaba, disturbed by the rumor that influenza was causing havoc, gathered each morning at the Post Office, expecting to hear from relatives who had emigrated to affected places in search of wage labor. One morning, while a large crowd assembled at the Post Office, news arrived that influenza had broken out in Asaba itself and everyone ran home to isolate, the crowd was dispersed. In a few days, Asaba was thrown into mourning as virtually every family had someone to bury.
From Asaba, the influenza spread to Agbor, appearing there on 19th October.
Also from Onitsha the epidemic spread eastward, appearing at Owerri on 25th October, Okigwe and Enugu-Ngwo on the 28th and Aba on the 30th.
Furthermore, the epidemic, having affected the towns on the Eastern Railway, began to diffuse eastward, appearing at Ikot-Ekpene on or about 1st November, Obubra on the 4th, Afikpo on the 5th, Abakaliki on the 7th, Ogoja on the 11th, Obudu about the 11th and Ikom on the 13th.
Every family had someone to bury. Grandma said: “After returning from a burial, all those who buried the dead were required to remove their clothes and burn them before coming into their homes….. But in a few days, they too will get the flu and would die….. When someone die, people cried not because the person died, but because others in the family will die after the burial and so on”.
Traditional medicine men and women died after treating a sick person. Non of the remedies seemed to have worked. But when our grandparents learned that isolation and quarantine was the remedy, the disease was contained.
It was like a war. None of our grandparents went to the markets or farms, because no one does that during a war. They starved, they didn’t visit relatives, they ate cassavas and cassava leaves, they improvised, the government DID NOT provide palliatives, they too, DID NOT EXPECT the government to provide palliatives. They passed through the pain of watching their dead rot away without a burial, only then was the virus contained in 1919- one year after!
Today we have another major pandemic, very, very similar to that of 1918. We know better today, we are more enlightened, we have developed medical sciences. We know that our government SHOULD provide palliatives, but if because of corruption they REFUSE, we should borrow a leaf from our grandparents. Let’s pull through.
You see, the rich and famous brought the virus always, but the poor are more vulnerable and will be hit the worse, because the rich will stay at home and the poor will go out to be killed by the virus or shot by the reckless officers. But whether this pandemic will last less than a year, a year, or more than a year depends on us.
This is like a war. Stay at home to save lives. Obey the Government.
Most importantly, you see those who do not believe that the virus exist, and those who think there should be no lockdown, avoid them because even our uneducated grandparents were wiser than they are.
Ohadike D. C. (1991): Diffusion and Physiological Responses to the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 in Nigeria. Soc Sci Med. 1991;32 (12):1393-9
©Chukwuma K. April 25, 2020
Department of English, UNILAG.
“Akintunde, Come Home” is a free verse poem based on its form. The poem is a reflection of the Nigerian society, just as literature mirrors and reflects the society. “Akintunde, Come Home” exposes political ills prevalent in Nigeria; it reflects the malevolence and corrupt practises of African political leaders exhibited in their act of governing. The poet who seems to be more experienced, elderly and politically vigilant than the addressee exposes dubious acts of African leaders. The poem could be said to be a piece of advice or admonishment to young minds who find themselves in this political realm of corruption. The tone of the poet is rather persuasive as he calls political minds back to order. Apparently, its truthfulness to life is portrayed by the themes that can be derived from the poem. Some of these themes are: oppression; corruption; selfish ambitions; repercussion etc. Also, this poem, as an African poem, portrays core African values as seen in the way the persona employs adages to make his point clearer.
The poem opens with a rhetorical question of an African adage; “if a man’s mouth is small must he borrow a bigger one to talk to his child?” This adage brings us to a typical African society where proverbs are used to convey messages of inspiration, consolation, advice and many more, but precisely, the African adage used at the opening of this poem could be said to convey a message of advice and admonishment. The use of this adage portrays the poet as a typical African who is concerned on voicing his intent to his addressee on a pressing issue. Adages are common in African societies as it opens ground for dialogues; great writers like “Chinua Achebe” make use of adages in their works; novels, essays, poems etc. to make it full of wisdom. Africans believe in the truthfulness and effectiveness of adages on dialogues, even “Chinua Achebe” once wrote; “proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”. Evidently, the adage used at the beginning of the poem shows its truthfulness to life as it shows us a picture of the African society.
In addition, the African society is governed by cold-blooded leaders with selfish ambitions. The poet in a serious manner, exposes the corrupt practises and malevolence of political leaders in the African society. Some of these callous acts by the ruling elites include: unfulfilled campaign promises; disregard for the poor; overpowering the weak, among other things as displayed and carefully highlighted in the poem.
Furthermore, the poem’s truthfulness to life is clearly seen in themes of oppression, corruption, selfish ambitions and repercussion, these themes aptly describe the nature of African politics. Oppression and corruption complements African politics as shown in the poem: “…where life is a race in which the strong trample the weak, dashing for the flattering fragments of stolen trophies”. Corruption takes most part of African politics as African leaders engage in looting of public funds, embezzlement of public funds and the likes. Oppression also is not left out as striving citizens are impoverished through deprivation of some rights. Rich politicians in the society look down on the poor with contempt. All these themes, undoubtedly, are aids that strengthen the fact that Niyi Osundare’s poem, “Akintunde, Come Home”, is one which accurately describes issues that are plaguing the African society.
Niyi Osundare also subscribes to the classical, or rather human law of retributive justice. This belief can be placed under the theme of repercussion. Repercussion, as employed in this poem, denotes that there are always consequences for every human action, be it good or bad. This can be seen in the poem as the speaker admonishes his addressee to quickly return to his roots before he would become a victim of the cases aforementioned. The persona vividly portrays his belief in repercussions in this line: “Come home before the sword you wield turns round to claim your neck.”
In conclusion, the who’ve explanations clearly show the relationship between the poem and realism: its truthfulness to life. The use of an African adage at the opening of the poem and themes that relates to present happenings in the African society evidently depicts the truthfulness of the poem to life. Also, from a mimetic point of view the poem could be said have being written in an attempt to curb political ills.
Ude, Chiedozie Orji.
Department of English, UNILAG
Analysis on Matiiku
It is no news that trying to analyse a live performance is a tricky job. This trickiness may be as a result of different factors such as place and time— or more impressive, the complex nature of literature. Notwithstanding this difficulty, this paper will make an attempt to critically analyse the stage play entitled Matiiku. This essay will succinctly summarise the play and its subject matter, making use of factors such as the stage management and the gestures (which some may refer to as body language) of the actors to defend the choice of subject matter. The attention that will be paid to the factors stated above stems from the technical nature of the dialogue — that is, it was, to a very large extent, exclusively performed in the Yoruba language. However, the focus on the gestures and stage management does not in any way downplay the usefulness of the dialogue in this analysis because its importance in making the play fit its setting, and also, its subject matter cannot be overlooked. Also, it is important to note that this essay will include foreign references — that is, events or even books outside the narrative — which will be used support the arguments expressed in this paper. All these will be combined to comprehensively analyse this play.
This segment of the essay will comment on the playwright and the setting of the play. Not much is known about the playwright; hence, we move on to the setting of the play. The play is set during the colonial era, and this is reinforced through the manner in which the stage was set, and the numerous festivities which took place — the market scene; the baby/ritual scene; and the court dispute between the colonial district officer and the people. The latter is unarguably the strongest supporter of the claim that the play is set during the colonial era because it not only captures the communication problems that plagued the colonial masters due to their inability to grasp the local languages employed by their subjects, but also captures the presence of the white man (The district officer); hence, justifying the time setting— that is, the colonial period. The place setting of the play is Lagos. The introduction of three characters at the beginning of the play who represent the three white-cap chiefs of Lagos is testament to this fact. They, unequivocally, strengthen the play’s genre — that is, a historical play.
The subject matter of the play revolves around a man, who was predestined to be king, right from birth. This information was exposed by the narrator, before the start of the play. Hence, one can say that the plot of the play is based on the child, whom the oracle chooses as king. As expected, he becomes the king of Lagos once he attains adulthood; although, the colonial government later wrestled power from him. It is important to state that the fulfillment of the prophecy on the life of the king is a common motif in Yoruba themed plays— that is, the oracle can never be wrong— such as Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame, where the pronouncements of the oracle on the main character comes to pass. Therefore, one can be justified to state that there is a theme of fate (inevitable destiny) in the play. Another thing that is worthwhile to discuss is how the scenes in the play are linked by an interlude of music and dance. These performances (music and dance) may be regarded as entertaining because of the choreographic dance steps employed by the dancers. Being a traditional play, these songs should have deeper meanings, but that is not the focus of this essay. So, this analysis will rate the musical interlude from the standpoint of pleasure and entertainment.
One may describe the stage management as almost impeccable due to the perfect way the stage was set to represent the setting, and also, their flawless deployment of the lighting technique. To me, it is this lighting technique that makes the play stand out. The lights came up when and where necessary, not a second too early or late. Unarguably, the lighting technique was most effective when it was employed to show time — that is, day and night. This topnotch use of this technique is also brought to the fore when the lights were dimmed during the ritual scene. The solemnity and sacredness of the rituals were well captured by the eerily spooky umbrella of semi-darkness. This was enough to make the watcher understand the importance of these rituals. Another important thing I noticed due to the arrangement of the stage is the market scene. The market scene is crucial in traditional plays. The market is known as a place where rumours and stories thrive. Little wonder the birth of the would be king is announced in the market setting. The market scene is also ideal for announcement of the king’s birth because it reinforces Soyinka’s principle in Death and the King’s Horseman of the market place being a strategic location for the meeting of the three realities in Yoruba mythology — that is, the world of the unborn; the world of the living; and the world of the dead. It is important to note that the market place also serves as a link between these realities. Hence, this well believed myth strengthens the writer’s use of the market scene to announce a transition — that is, from the world of the unborn to the world of the living. The stage management was described as almost impeccable at the beginning of the paragraph because it had slight flaws. One of such flaws is the bad sound systems used in the play. Aside this, one can be justified to give the stage management crew an excellent score for a job well done.
Also, the gestures of the actors also enable non speakers of the Yoruba language to have an insight on some of the happenings in the play. The slow pace, with which those who are to make prophecies on the child move, gives insight to the audience that these men must be truly special and of high importance in the society. The greatness which is proclaimed on the baby is evident when the priests and other spectators bow to the child. However, the child’s mother refuses to bow to her child; hence, bringing into play the African belief that expects a child to prostrate himself to his parents, and not the other way round.
In conclusion, if I were asked to give my personal opinion on the play, I would rate it as a largely successful performance. The topnotch techniques employed by the stage management crew played a huge role in this. As a member of the audience who could not fully grasp the dialogues, I was entertained by the dance interlude. Hence, I can boldly describe the play as a successful one. In conclusion, this essay has made an attempt to analyse the production of the play Matiiku.
Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame.
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman.