I was interviewed by the Atheists Republic Cape Town on their ‘Meet the Atheists’ segment. Below is the full clip on their You Tube channel. Enjoy!
It’s Black History Month and the theme this year is Proud To Be. I am Proud of everything that makes me Black.
I am proud of my Black Heritage.
I am Proud to be African.
I am proud to be an African Woman.
I am proud of the hospitality of my people.
I am proud of the creativity, the arts, rich culture and music that we have generously given the world which unfortunately are often appropriated without acknowledgement of the Black origin.
I am proud of the contributions of my people to Science and Technology.
I am proud of the exuberant nature of my people and the way we express ourselves with all our body gestures.
I am Proud of the renowned hospitality and welcoming nature of my ancestors.
I am Proud to be a Black African woman.
Africa is the cradle of life, it is the continuent that keeps giving even though they keep exploiting its human and natural resources, my people are resilient and continue to radiate hope.
They say Black is bad and not good enough, yet they refuse to return the beautiful Artefacts they stole from us that today still grace their museums.
They say Black is ugly yet they go under the knife to look like us to copy the very physical attributes they called ugly.
Still we rise because we know, and we know that they know, Black excellence is real, Black is beautiful. in and out.
To forget our history is to assimilate the lies of the colonisers and exploiters.
I know my history and this is why I Am Proud To Be. #HappyBlackHistoryMonth
As part of my celebration of Black History Month 2021 and in keeping with its ‘Theme ‘Proud To Be’ , I recited the poem ‘Africa my Africa’ by David Diop and shared with my work colleagues as a BHM video compililation project. Enjoy!
Africa my Africa – David Diop
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral Savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun?
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.
I first saw the hashtag #WivesNotCook when a Facebook friend made a response post on it, which she titled “SO YOU WON’T COOK?”. When I read the post, right from the first paragraph, I cringed. I wanted to ignore it as I have ignored most things Nigerian lately. However, the post has been shared many times on Facebook, mostly by Nigerian men, who are using it as a reference point to chide women who support the hashtag #WivesNotCooks. Many have even used it as a point to bash single women, single mothers, divorced women and blamed all woes imaginable on feminism.
The post and the comments it generated made me realise we really have a long way to go in educating even the educated about the meaning of feminism. I understand that sometimes when we don’t want to engage, we still owe it to posterity to engage on some issues. Hence, why I decided to write this response to dissect the post and point out the problems with it, as it relates to feminism.
I was so surprised that someone who self-identified as “an unapologetic feminist” starts her argument against the hashtag #wivesNotCooks with these remarks- [Read more…]
As much as I try not to be so bothered with the ignorance displayed by fellow Nigerians daily, sometimes some things come up that one can’t in good conscience ignore because they are issues too important to ignore. The online assault on Miss Anambra by the homophobic, ignorant, religious extremist Nigerian mob is one of these issues. Now I must put my two cents in.
Since the alleged sex tape of Miss Chidinma Okeke, the winner of the 2015 Most Beautiful Girl in Anambra pageant competition, was leaked, there has been heated debate, fury, condemnation and all sorts of righteous silliness.
The sex tape showed Miss Anambra sexually pleasuring herself with a cucumber in the company of another lady, identified as her friend, Miss Adaobi Nzekwe, who was also a beauty queen, third runner up of the face of democracy, Anambra, 2014.
The tape was released without the consent of Miss Chidinma Okeke. She initially came out to state that she was not the one in the video and that the sex tape was released as a revenge porn. It was also alleged that she was drugged and the video filmed under duress. If the video was filmed under duress and she was drugged, this must be totally condemned. Forcing women to make porn videos to use as a sort of hold or collateral against them is horrible.
In a message posted on her Facebook page Chidima Okeke wrote- [Read more…]
On Saturday Sep 24th, 2016, the Nigerian community in UK organised an award dinner ceremony to honour 56 uncelebrated Nigerians in five different categories as part of Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary.
I was proud to be nominated for the award and was really honoured to receive the Uncelebrated Nigerians Award for contribution to Legal, Security & Law enforcement.
In my acceptance speech, i dedicated the award to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Queers in Nigeria and diaspora. Every Nigerian deserves to be free from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT Rights are Human Rights. [Read more…]
UK Black Pride was held on Sunday 26, June 2016 at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London, with the theme “Transforming Our Community”. It was a blast with positive vibrations, diversity and thousands of vibrant people.
It was such a joy to be at UK Black Pride, 2016. It was fun in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with lots of foods and drinks to share, great music, great dance steps, lots of twerking and yeah, sexy, lovely people! LGBT BMEs do know how to party!
Did someone say “Why Black Pride?” [Read more…]
Dating in this generation has a whole new meaning. It is all about choice or rather the illusion of choice, leading to confusion, pain, and a life wasted on swiping profiles for the next hit. This Facebook note by a Facebook friend, got me thinking about dating. As a single woman, i must say, i agree totally with his take on it. In this age of online dating, it is all about the illusion of choice and the uncertainty that comes with it.
Back when i was a teenager growing up in Nigeria, 20 something years ago, dating was not even a thing. You were either in a relationship with someone or you were not. It was straight to the relationship phase. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy asks girl, “Will you be my girlfriend?”, if girl likes boy, she plays coquettish long enough to not appear desperate, then says yes, and bingo, they are in a relationship. No dating as it is known today, no testing the waters, that was done at the ‘eyeing her/him up’ stage. The courtship stage did not normally involve alone time together. Maybe time with friends and families where you both sussed each other out, until one of you makes the move. [Read more…]
#BeingFemaleInNigeria is a hashtag that went viral in Nigeria just barely hours after it was first tweeted by members of a small book club. The hashtag started trending in many countries including UK. I would have loved for the hashtag to read ‘BeingaWomanInNigeria’ because the word ‘Female’ has its own social construct problem. However, i am over the moon that this very important conversation, which got the whole nation talking, was started by a very small book club.
The book club members had gathered to read their book of the month, an essay titled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Nigerian award winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. According to a member of the book club, Florence Warmate, the discussion got very interesting and members started sharing their personal experiences of sexism in Nigeria. They decided not to leave it there but start a conversation on social media about what it is like being a woman in Nigeria.
Florence Warmate posted her first tweet on the subject using the agreed hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria. Hours later, it was trending on twitter. It was interesting that a small group of women could ignite a national discussion via social media in a matter of hours. Clearly, it was a discussion Nigerian women (and some men too), were dying to have. [Read more…]
When Rachel Dolezal was outed as a Caucasian woman in blackface, the story almost broke the internet. Several days later, we are still trying to put the pieces together. So far, the story has served as a platform to discuss racism and cultural appropriation. However, it has also served as a platform for transphobes to pontificate on gender and redefine transracial.
Rachel Dolezal, 37 year old part-time professor in the Africana studies program at Eastern Washington University, was outed by her Caucasian parents, Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal, as a white woman pretending to be black. Following the social media attention, Rachel Dolezal handed in her resignation as president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). She tendered her resignation without any sign of remorse, later followed by an exclusive live interview with NBC News where she insisted-
I definitely am not white, I’m more black than I am white. That’s the accurate answer from my truth.
Rachel seems to think her chosen truth trumps facts. You can choose your truth but you can’t choose your facts. She seems to have a history of choosing her truths with total disregard for facts.
On several occasions, Rachel Dolezal has claimed to be the victim of hate crimes. However, Investigators have not been able to find evidence to substantiate her claims. In fact, it was an effort to connect the dots in her latest hate [Read more…]
On March 20, 2015, xenophobic attacks broke out in Durban, South Africa, some disgruntled South Africans turned on their neighbours, viciously attacking foreigners, mostly immigrant black Africans. This set in motion a wave of anti-immigrants attacks. The locals accused migrants of taking local jobs. They wanted the foreigners out of their country. Since the attacks, many deaths have been recorded and thousands of foreigners have fled for their lives, with many rendered homeless and in hiding.
A Mozambican man, Emmanuel Sithole was stalked, stabbed and murdered on the streets by vicious South Africans, According to reports, many including policemen watched while he pleaded for his life.
I am not a fan of the menstrual cycle but i understand it is a natural part of making new human lives and this is great. If there was any intelligent designer, aka God, women wouldn’t need to bleed every month for new human lives to be possible, and this is one reason i can say God is not a woman.
It is sad that the society portrays menstruation as an obscene, dirty thing women should be ashamed of. As a teenager, I was scared and ashamed to go into chemists’ shops to purchase sanitary pads and it did not help that the people behind the counters were usually men. Most times, I found myself going from one shop to the other, praying and hoping there would be a woman behind the counter. If the shame i felt could kill, i would have died at the spot!
Thanks to feminism and the liberation it brings, I now buy my sanitary pads and tampons with pride. Gone are the days I made extra efforts to keep my sanitary pads hidden under the bulk of my shopping, now i make a point of not hiding it under any grocery/shopping. This ‘little’ act feels like liberation from century old shackles. [Read more…]
Our society is not doing enough to address bullying of vulnerable young people, especially young people with disabilities. I grew up in a society where even teachers laughed at and maltreated students who suffer from learning disabilities.
There was this particular case, which even decades later, still makes me furious. Whenever I hear of children with disabilities who are bullied by adults, I instantly think of this boy in my junior high school class in Nigeria, who was constantly bullied not just by students but by teachers too.
The boy, I think his name was ‘Jamiu’, was always falling asleep during class sessions. We were told or rather, there were rumours that the boy was bitten by Tsetse fly and as a result had ‘sleeping sickness’. For years, I was terrified of flies. Obviously, the child suffered from some sort of sleeping disorder, and he constantly fell asleep in class. Teachers told us to mock him for falling asleep during class sessions. Teachers made him stand in front of the class where he was humiliated with the whole class staring at him like a freak. Since it was our first year in high school, we were between the ages of 12 and 13, but it seems the boy was much older. He was also bigger than most of us in the class. However, I rarely heard him speak. He seemed to bear his constant humiliation with stoic fortitude.
This young boy had learning disabilities and did not perform well in class. He sat at the back of the class. Looking back now, it seems that young people who had learning disabilities were always sat at the back of the class. The ‘bright’ ones were always sat at the front rows, while those who did not perform well were pushed to the back seats. The further down you are, the lower you are in the hierarchy of ‘intelligence’.
I used to feel so sorry for the child but also I was terrified to go near him for fear of ‘catching’ this sleeping disease. I felt sorry for him because he could not have been [Read more…]
Like many West Africans, I was aghast when I saw the picture of what Jamie Olivier tried to pass off as Jollof rice. Twitter was set ablaze by the righteous fury of West Africans, protesting the audacity of an international white celebrity chef, who dared to plagiarised (and badly so too), West Africa’s much beloved dish, Jollof Rice. To an outsider, this might seem like much ado about nothing, but hey jollof rice is not just any rice, it is a national treasure, a national signature, and as #Jollofgate fury has proved, it is an African pride. Touch our Jollof rice; we will come at you with united fury! [Read more…]
As part of the celebration marking Black History/LGBT Month, I was interviewed by Tundun Adeyemo, presenter of the program ‘Outspoken’ on www.africaukradio.com. Below is a text of the interview, also available on her blog.
October is Black History/Lesbian Gays Bisexual Transsexual Month. In parts of London, people have been marking this in various ways. To help us give that some perspective is author Yemisi Ilesanmi who joins us from London to talk about her book and why homosexuality is not just an European concept.
Hello Yemisi, Many thanks for joining us.
1- You have written this book ‘Homosexuality is not unAfrican.’ Why did you write this book?
Thanks. I wrote this book to counter the erroneous impression that homosexuality is Un-African. This is a rhetoric that many African politicians keep sprouting in their bid to defend the discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and Transsexuals. With the upsurge of anti-gay bills springing up in many African countries, it became imperative to provide necessary information and create awareness on the issues of sexual orientation especially homosexuality and bisexuality. Information is power and education is key to human development.
In this digital age, where information is easily accessible, it is sad to know that many people especially Africans still fall for the homophobic, biphobic and transphobiic rhetoric that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. In the book Freedom to Love For All; Homosexuality is not Un-African, I put together a collection of my essays debunking the myths that Homosexuality is Un-African.
First, I started by clarifying the meaning of sexual orientation and providing accepted definition of the different kinds of sexual orientation and gender identity that we [Read more…]
Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day! According to Wikipedia
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as a gender identity or sexuality minority. The day is observed annually by members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies on October 11
Whether you are Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, Gay, or even Atheist, coming out of the closet is always often a difficult experience for many. Most times, it is a decision that subjects us to a lifetime of discrimination, isolation, ostracism, and judgements not just from the society but unfortunately, also from those we care most about i.e. our family members and friends.
For me personally, all the isolation, judgemental remarks, ostracism, discrimination or jail terms in the world are not enough deterrents to keep me in the closet about my sexual orientation or non-belief.
The Freedom to be me, Freedom to love, Freedom to express my love and shout it from on top mountains, Freedom to assert my sexual and gender identity, Freedom to proclaim my non-belief in religious nonsense etc. are things I will not trade for the safety of the closets.
I cannot and must not let my Freedom to be me be curtailed by people who rejoice in wallowing in ignorance and hate.
Closets are for clothes; I am more than my clothes. [Read more…]