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Fifteenth Caine Prize shortlisted writers

The shortlist for the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced today (Tuesday 22 April) by Nobel Prize winner and Patron of the Caine Prize Professor Wole Soyinka, as part of the opening ceremonies for the UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 celebration in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.c

 

To commemorate fiteen years of the Caine Prize this year, £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer.

 

The Chair of judges, award-winning author Jackie Kay MBE described the shortlist as, “Compelling, lyrical, thought-provoking and engaging. From a daughter’s unusual way of grieving for her father, to a memorable swim with a grandmother, a young boy’s fascination with a gorilla’s conversation, a dramatic faux family meeting, to a woman who is forced to sell her eggs, the subjects are as diverse as they are entertaining.”

She added, “The standard of entries was exceptionally high so much so that it was actually very difficult for the judges to whittle it down to a shortlist of only five stories. We were heartened by how many entrants were drawn to explorations of a gay narrative. What a golden age for the African short story, and how exciting to see real originality – with so many writers bringing something different to the form.”

 

The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 14 July. The 2014 shortlist comprises:

 

 

The 2014 shortlist comprises:

Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) “Phosphorescence” in Cabin Fever (Umuzi, Cape Town. 2011)

Diane Awerbuck is the author of Gardening at Night (2003), which was awarded the Commonwealth Best First Book Award (Africa and the Caribbean) and was shortlisted for the International Dublin IMPAC Award.

 

Her work has been published internationally and translated into a number of languages. Awerbuck develops educational materials, reviews fiction for the South African Sunday Times, and writes for Mail&Guardian’s Thoughtleader. Awerbuck’s collection of short stories, Cabin Fever, was published in 2011. Her most recent full-length work, Home Remedies, was published in 2012. Her doctoral work and non-fiction deal with trauma, narrative and the public sphere.

Efemia Chela (Ghana/Zambia) “Chicken” in Feast, Famine and Potluck (Short Story Day Africa, South Africa. 2013)

Efemia Chela was born in Chikankata, Zambia in 1991, but grew up in England, Ghana, Botswana and South Africa. She graduated with a BA in French, Politics and Classical Civilisations from Rhodes University. She completed part of her Politics Honours at Institut D’Etudes Politiques in Aix-En-Provence, France.

 

When she grows up she would like to be a midwife of great literature, a better writer, a translator, subtitler and graphic novelist.

 

She is married to a film camera. They go everywhere together and have many square children. She gets her thrills from remotely attending international fashion weeks, artistic intertextuality, old black and white movies and tasting new cuisines.

 

Efemia lives in Cape Town and is currently unemployed which allows her to focus on her writing. “Chicken” was her first published story and it won third place in the Short Story Day Africa 2013 competition, “Feast, Famine and Potluck”.

 

Tendai Huchu (Zimbabwe) “The Intervention” in Open Road Review, issue 7, New Delhi. 2013Tendai Huchu is the author of The Hairdresser of Harare. His short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Warscapes, Wasafiri, The Africa Report, The Zimbabwean, The Open Road Review, Kwani?05, A View from Here and numerous other publications. In 2013 he received a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Sacatar Fellowship. His next novel will be The Maestro, The Magistrate, & The Mathematician

Billy Kahora (Kenya) “The Gorilla’s Apprentice” in Granta (London. 2010)
Read The Gorilla’s Apprentice

Billy Kahora is the managing editor of the Kenyan literary journal Kwani? and the author of The True Story of David Munyakei (2009). His writing has appeared in Granta, Kwani?, Chimurenga and Vanity Fair. His short story ‘Urban Zoning’ was shortlisted in 2012 for the Caine Prize and in 2007 ‘Treadmill Love’, was highly commended by the Caine Prize judges. He is working on a novel titled, The Applications and is writing a book on Juba

Okwiri Oduor (Kenya) “My Father’s Head” in Feast, Famine and Potluck (Short Story Day Africa, South Africa. 2013)
Okwiri Oduor was born in Nairobi. She is a 2014 MacDowell Colony fellow. She is currently at work on her debut novel.

guest-nwakaegoaghedo

A Poem for Women on IWD

Ego Poetry(real named Nwakaego Aghedo) as she likes being called is a pharmacologist turned poet who founded a literary society that gives scholarship to student writers/poets in her home country, Nego Poetry Corner has been her brainchild since 20 8 She has a huge passion for poetry and insists that poetry choose her, little wonder she did a poem titled “INEXCUSABLE WOMAN” for women in the world over. Enjoy

RANDW HUB AFRICA 1

“Inspiring change” International Women’s Day 2014

Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.

Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for our internationalwomensday.com global hub and encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.

The vast array of communication channels, supportive spokespeople, equality research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives means everyone can be an advocate inspiring change for women’s advancement.

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

Some groups select their own International Women’s Day theme, specific to their local context. For example, the European Parliament’s 2013 theme was “Women’s response to the crisis” and their 2012 theme “Equal pay for work of equal value”.

The United Nations declares an annual theme:

- 2013: A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women
- 2012: Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty
- 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology
- 2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all
- 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
- 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
- 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
- 2006: Women in decision-making
- 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
- 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
- 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
- 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
- 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
- 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
- 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
- 1998: Women and Human Rights
- 1997: Women at the Peace Table
- 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
- 1975: United Nations recognizes International Women’s Day

randw hub africa

“57 years after” – Ghana

The people of Ghana have been celebrating the end of colonial rule and the dawn of their independence.

Most workers have been given the day off – tens of thousands have gathered in the capital, Accra, to greet the independent country’s first prime minister, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

The Duchess of Kent has been attending the celebrations. Last night, she opened the Independence Monument, erected near the spot where in 1948 members of the Ghanaian ex-servicemen’s union were shot when marching to present a petition to the British Governor.

The Gold Coast Legislative Assembly was prorogued at midnight to cheers from the waiting crowd outside.

This morning the Legislative Assembly building, now the building of the Ghana parliament was packed with members dressed in their national costumes. The first Governor-General of Ghana, Sir Charles Arden-Clarke has been sworn in.

Message from the Queen

The Duchess gave a speech, setting out the Ghana Government policy. She also read out a personal message from the Queen to the people of Ghana.

In it she said: “The hopes of many, especially in Africa, hang on your endeavours. It is my earnest and confident belief that my people in Ghana will go forward in freedom and justice.”

In reply, Dr Nkrumah said: “My government fully realises both the advantages and the responsibilities involved in the achievement of independence. It intends to make full use of these advantages to increase the prosperity of the country.”

Earlier, the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, made a speech welcoming Ghana’s move to independence.

“The government and people of Ghana have set their hands to a great task. We are confident whatever may be the difficulties which will face them they will maintain and develop the principles of tolerance and freedom which are inherent in our parliamentary system. We shall give them all the help we can.”

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Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart lists on Amazon 100 Lifetime Books

Chinua Achebe’s classic novel, Things Fall Apart, has been named amongst the 100 books that must be read in a lifetime by Amazon.

Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, recently released the list of essential books everyone must read before dying, and Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe made the elite list with his celebrated first novel, Things Fall Apart.

The list was compiled by Amazon Books editorial team, and contains a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books.

The oldest book on the list, which spans decades, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which was published in 1813. The most recently published book on the list is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, released in 2013.

The Amazon Books editorial team plans to audit the list regularly in order to ensure it always stays culturally relevant.

“We listed the books alphabetically by title because our assumption is that no book is more important than another,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Print and Kindle Books at Amazon.com.

Things Fall Apart was published in 1958, when Achebe was barely 28 years old. It is considered by critics and book lovers to be the single most important piece of literature out of Africa. The 50th anniversary of the 200-odd page novel was celebrated all over the world in 2008 with festivals, readings, symposia, concerts etc. The novel which has been likened to epic Greek tragedies has been translated to more than 50 languages and has sold over 10 million copies. It is taught not just in literature classes but in history and anthropology departments in colleges and universities across the globe. The archetypal theme of the meeting of the white and black races makes Things Fall Apart an epochal event in the annals of world literature.

Chinua Achebe died at exactly 11:51pm (US time), that is 4.51am (Nigerian time), on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the Harvard University Teaching Hospital, Massachusetts, USA, aged 82. He was buried on Thursday, May 23, 2013 in his native Ogidi, Anambra State with President Goodluck Jonathan and Ghanaian President, John Mahama, in attendance. Tributes came from all over the world.

Nelson Mandela famously called Mr. Achebe “the writer in whose hands the prison walls came crashing down.”

Former American President, Jimmy Carter, numbers Mr. Achebe as one of his favorite writers.

“Achebe bestrides generations and geographies. Every country in Africa claims him as their own,” Mr. Achebe’s distinguished colleague, the Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, said.

American President, Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle said, “A revolutionary author, educator, and cultural ambassador, Chinua shattered the conventions of literature and shaped the collective identity of Nigerians throughout the world. With a dream of taking on misperceptions of his homeland, he gave voice to perspectives that cultivated understanding and drew our world closer together. His legacy will endure in the hearts of all whose lives he touched with the everlasting power of his art.”

The Full Amazon List of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

1. 1984 by George Orwell

2. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

4. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

5. A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: The Short-Lived Edition by Lemony Snicket

6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

7. Alice Munro: Selected Stories by Alice Munro

8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

9. All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

10. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt

11. Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume

12. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

13. Beloved by Toni Morrison

14. Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

15. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

16. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl

18. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

19. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

21. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney

22. Dune by Frank Herbert

23. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

24. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

25. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

26. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

27. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

28. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond

29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

30. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

31. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

32. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

33. Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

34. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

35. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

36. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

37. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

38. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

39. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

40. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

41. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

42. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

43. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

44. Moneyball by Michael Lewis

45. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

46. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

47. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

48. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

49. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

50. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

51. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

52. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

53. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

54. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

55. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

56. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

57. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

58. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

59. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

60. The Color of Water by James McBride

61. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

63. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

64. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

65. The Giver by Lois Lowry

66. The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

67. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

68. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

69. The House At Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

70. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

71. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

72. The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr

73. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

74. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

75. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

76. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

77. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

78. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

79. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

80. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

81. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver

82. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

83. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

84. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

85. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

86. The Shining by Stephen King

87. The Stranger by Albert Camus

88. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

89. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

90. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

91. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

92. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami

93. The World According to Garp by John Irving

94. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

95. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

96. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

97. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

98. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

99. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

100. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Feel free to point out any book you think should have made it on the list but didn’t and any that shouldn’t have.

“Homosexuality is unafrican they say” – Chimamanda Adichie

Her writing prowess again is put into this amazingly simple story where she tells how sochukwuma is victimized for being different as she speaks against the anti-gay law recently passed in Nigeria which has caused a lot  of buzz in the country, you might not totally agree with her view point but i feel you should if not for anything enjoy her wordplay .  READ

“I will call him Sochukwuma. A thin, smiling boy who liked to play with us girls at the university primary school in Nsukka. We were young. We knew he was different, we said, ‘he’s not like the other boys.’ But his was a benign and unquestioned difference; it was simply what it was. We did not have a name for him. We did not know the word ‘gay.’ He was Sochukwuma and he was friendly and he played oga so well that his side always won.

In secondary school, some boys in his class tried to throw Sochukwuma off a second floor balcony. They were strapping teenagers who had learned to notice, and fear, difference. They had a name for him. Homo. They mocked him because his hips swayed when he walked and his hands fluttered when he spoke. He brushed away their taunts, silently, sometimes grinning an uncomfortable grin. He must have wished that he could be what they wanted him to be. I imagine now how helplessly lonely he must have felt. The boys often asked, “Why can’t he just be like everyone else?”

Possible answers to that question include ‘because he is abnormal,’ ‘because he is a sinner, ‘because he chose the lifestyle.’ But the truest answer is ‘We don’t know.’ There is humility and humanity in accepting that there are things we simply don’t know. At the age of 8, Sochukwuma was obviously different. It was not about sex, because it could not possibly have been – his hormones were of course not yet fully formed – but it was an awareness of himself, and other children’s awareness of him, as different. He could not have ‘chosen the lifestyle’ because he was too young to do so. And why would he – or anybody – choose to be homosexual in a world that makes life so difficult for homosexuals?

The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.

A crime is a crime for a reason. A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime? Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love. This is a law that will not prevent crime, but will, instead, lead to crimes of violence: there are already, in different parts of Nigeria, attacks on people ‘suspected’ of being gay. Ours is a society where men are openly affectionate with one another. Men hold hands. Men hug each other. Shall we now arrest friends who share a hotel room, or who walk side by side? How do we determine the clunky expressions in the law – ‘mutually beneficial,’ ‘directly or indirectly?’

Many Nigerians support the law because they believe the Bible condemns homosexuality. The Bible can be a basis for how we choose to live our personal lives, but it cannot be a basis for the laws we pass, not only because the holy books of different religions do not have equal significance for all Nigerians but also because the holy books are read differently by different people. The Bible, for example, also condemns fornication and adultery and divorce, but they are not crimes.

For supporters of the law, there seems to be something about homosexuality that sets it apart. A sense that it is not ‘normal.’ If we are part of a majority group, we tend to think others in minority groups are abnormal, not because they have done anything wrong, but because we have defined normal to be what we are and since they are not like us, then they are abnormal. Supporters of the law want a certain semblance of human homogeneity. But we cannot legislate into existence a world that does not exist: the truth of our human condition is that we are a diverse, multi-faceted species. The measure of our humanity lies, in part, in how we think of those different from us. We cannot – should not – have empathy only for people who are like us.

Some supporters of the law have asked – what is next, a marriage between a man and a dog?’ Or ‘have you seen animals being gay?’ (Actually, studies show that there is homosexual behavior in many species of animals.) But, quite simply, people are not dogs, and to accept the premise – that a homosexual is comparable to an animal – is inhumane. We cannot reduce the humanity of our fellow men and women because of how and who they love. Some animals eat their own kind, others desert their young. Shall we follow those examples, too?

Other supporters suggest that gay men sexually abuse little boys. But pedophilia and homosexuality are two very different things. There are men who abuse little girls, and women who abuse little boys, and we do not presume that they do it because they are heterosexuals. Child molestation is an ugly crime that is committed by both straight and gay adults (this is why it is a crime: children, by virtue of being non-adults, require protection and are unable to give sexual consent).

There has also been some nationalist posturing among supporters of the law. Homosexuality is ‘unafrican,’ they say, and we will not become like the west. The west is not exactly a homosexual haven; acts of discrimination against homosexuals are not uncommon in the US and Europe. But it is the idea of ‘unafricanness’ that is truly insidious. Sochukwuma was born of Igbo parents and had Igbo grandparents and Igbo great-grandparents. He was born a person who would romantically love other men. Many Nigerians know somebody like him. The boy who behaved like a girl. The girl who behaved like a boy. The effeminate man. The unusual woman. These were people we knew, people like us, born and raised on African soil. How then are they ‘unafrican?’

If anything, it is the passage of the law itself that is ‘unafrican.’ It goes against the values of tolerance and ‘live and let live’ that are part of many African cultures. (In 1970s Igboland, Area Scatter was a popular musician, a man who dressed like a woman, wore makeup, plaited his hair. We don’t know if he was gay – I think he was – but if he performed today, he could conceivably be sentenced to fourteen years in prison. For being who he is.) And it is informed not by a home-grown debate but by a cynically borrowed one: we turned on CNN and heard western countries debating ‘same sex marriage’ and we decided that we, too, would pass a law banning same sex marriage. Where, in Nigeria, whose constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has any homosexual asked for same-sex marriage?

This is an unjust law. It should be repealed. Throughout history, many inhumane laws have been passed, and have subsequently been repealed. Barack Obama, for example, would not be here today had his parents obeyed American laws that criminalized marriage between blacks and whites.

An acquaintance recently asked me, ‘if you support gays, how would you have been born?’ Of course, there were gay Nigerians when I was conceived. Gay people have existed as long as humans have existed. They have always been a small percentage of the human population. We don’t know why. What matters is this: Sochukwuma is a Nigerian and his existence is not a crime.

Feel  free to leave your thoughts.

NECA

NECA calls for nominations as clean workplace boost productivity

The office care and maintenance is an inevitable aspect to be taken care of in order to ensure smooth functioning of your office. Clean and tidy office will encourage the employees to give their best performance while working in the office.  Hence, it is an established practice in every office to keep the office premises clean and sterilized to offer a healthy work environment to the office employees. Such a clean and healthy work environment tends to support the employees to increase their enthusiasm and efficiency to deliver the best possible performance for progress of the organization.

The performance and dedication of the office employees are regarded as the major factors that contribute for the success and progress of any company. The unclean office premises can adversely affect the performance of the office employees. The employees won’t be happy with the unclean atmosphere and will be reluctant to work in such unhealthy conditions. This will definitely affect their work performance and in turn it will adversely affect the progress of the organization. Hence, it is quite essential to clean your office premises on regular basis.

The assistance of professional cleaning services can greatly help to maintain clean and healthy office environment. The professional cleaners are able to offer you a sense of home at your office and due to their effective cleaning your employees will always have a good morale to deliver good work performance.

Nigeria environmental cleaning award calls for nominations, nominate any clean organization or firm for the NECA awards 2014 visit http://www.neca-awards.com. Nominations close in march.