Steampunk Anti-Colonialism Charity Pin Badge

Steampunk, Victoriana, retro-futurism, or whatever else you may call it, has firm roots in the colonial era, and this was one of the aspects that attracted me to it many moons ago.

In 2007, I was approached by a group of friends to help stage a Steampunk event called Seductive Alchemy, and we spent quite some time planning all the various interactive elements that would be incorporated into the narrative. We built a pre-story that people could engage with, and seeded the idea that sky pirates, clockwork automata, and Her Majesty’s own airship corps would all be at the event…

Self Isolating? Yeah, I got that.

The world is grinding to a halt, or put another way — coming to an emergency stop. No one quite knows how long it will last or how to kickstart it afterwards. Governments are throwing immense sums of money at a crisis they can’t manage, and many of us are in a self-isolating holding pattern waiting for the weakest to fall.

Last week, Boris Johnson informed the nation that “many of our loved one’s will die”, without clear guidance how to prevent such a tragedy, yet across the Channel our European cousins shutdown all non-essential activities to save lives, while…

Out Of Bounds — Ibrahim Mahama

(This piece is in response to an article about diversity in art at TTITD)

There’s a beginning to every story, and this one starts at the very same place I found myself four years ago, standing at the entrance to a long passageway that seemed to extend to infinity. This was where I had a second epiphany and realised that art can change lives, create positive impact, steer a person onto a different trajectory.

I bet you wonder what in the name of all things good, could send me on a collision course with a different destiny from the one…

It’s the penultimate part of my trip, and we are heading to the Ekiti region where my father was born. Although he passed away 10 years ago, the family is still clearing up his chaotic legacy. Well, it is partially not his fault, but on the other hand, you’d expect more from a man who spent a considerable part of his life in the UK, and was an accountant. My dad died but did not leave a will, which has led to all manner of craziness.

Prior to my parents getting married, dad had an illegitimate son. The guy has…

Day 9.
I’m staying in Anara, a small town around 25-miles outside Owerri, the state capital. My hotel is off-the-grid, electricity is supplied by a large noisy generator, which for some bizarre reason is turned off at 5am! In the day time Anara is a market full of the most amazing fresh produce, while at night the streets are lined with vendors cooking hot food.

Nigerians solely depend on generators for electricity, boreholes for household water, drinking water is supplied in one plastic form or another, there’s hardly any sewage/sanitation service, zero refuse collection, and the roads are a mess…

My initial plan for this trip was to visit my mother, see my brothers, and paint the family home, which I had only seen once, but the condition of things in Nigeria have led me to start this journal. Things here are dire, and I am surprised no one is talking about it outside the country.

Olaudah Equaino — writer and abolitionist from the Igbo region

So far, most of what I have written is from the view of being in Yoruba land. Tomorrow morning, in the name of fairness, I head East to the Ibo-land for a different perspective.

Day 7
5am start, there’s no electricity. I manage to take a shower, brush my teeth and get dressed using the flashlight on my iPhone. It’s too dark to make breakfast, so I say my goodbyes, and head out with my young niece Tope, who will help me navigate the intricacies of Nigerian public transport.

Today, my adventure begins in earnest as I visit the oil…

Day 6
Its my first proper day out in Ibadan, and I notice empty plastic bags everywhere, clogging up gutters, piled up on street corners, and embedded in dirt roads. The source of this plastic plague is a phenomenon called “Pure Water” — small transparent sachets from which most Nigerians get the only clean drinking water available. These bags are sold in corner shops, and by street hawkers. When empty, people just discard the single use plastic with no regard for the environment.

Day Two.
A city wide blackout, combined with overnight rainfall has turned Lagos into a flowing refuse dump, as stagnant water from the gutters sweeps piles of putrefying garbage on to the motorways. To catch my 4am ride to Ibadan — the third most populous city in the country — I wade through ankle deep puddles of crap.

Lagos to Ibadan Express Way.

The Lagos to Ibadan Express Way connects the two cities, and counting the number of burnt out wrecks on the roadside it must be one of the fastest routes to death. My initial concern is the multitude…

***The Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for today (Feb 16th 2019) have just been postponed.***

Forgive me mother, it has been 11 years since my last visit…

This isn’t your usual confession, but the start of my return to Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, and home of my mother who lives in Ibadan, provincial capital of Oyo-State.

I was last here for my father’s funeral, and things have worsened to a point that ‘hope’, the one factor that has kept this country alive since my first visit in the 70’s, has been hijacked by a morally bankrupt…

Yomi Ayeni

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