Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To err is human

To err is human.
placing the square pegs
in round holes,
is a peculiarly humane gesture.

To err is mortal,
errors have a life,
as short as that, which is ...
made of clay

To err is civilized,
while perfect-itude speaks military gibberish
streaks of inadequacies,
make beautiful khakis.

To forgive is divine,
this double-syllabled seven-pointer
is the divide between that which pretends
to dwell in high places
and That which inhabits The Highest Place.

by Segun Adekoye ~ 28/11/2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kasuwa, Jumia, Konga, Kalahari and the business of making money online in Nigeria

I have always wanted to write something about this group of people for a while. They have something in common. They are e-commerce sites and they are modeled after the success of Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and one of the most successful internet empires on the face of the planet. However, duplicating Amazon’s success has been a bit of a challenge in sub-saharan Africa. Naspers closed its operations in Nigeria in 2011 after stating that its ability to make near-term profits wasn’t probable. It shut down in both Nigeria and Kenya at the same year. It commenced operations in Nigeria and was only alive for twenty months. It sounded like a less-strategic move as one would wonder “I thought they said Africans were consumers, why then did Kalahari fail?”. I think Naspers failed on the Kalahari e-commerce projects as it didn’t really understand the terrain it was playing in as well as logistics problems it encountered. I’ll explain a bit further. Online business in Africa, especially Nigeria is a bit of a challenge.

Friday, July 27, 2012


The newspaper vendor’s hoot came to a halt. His lean frame bent forward, peered and scurried away. The ice-cream cyclist swerved to the other side of the road, bumped into a waste bin. The old beggar  standing nearby hobbled towards the lamp-post. Honks. Clenched fists peeped out of a braking Camry at the flustered cyclist followed by a resounding “God punish you”. A swarm of startled faces turned towards the speeding car and then back at the bicycle-man. He shrugged, adjusted his bike and pointed away. Some pausing to see the source of his distraction, maybe lunacy. 

Nothing else was more evident than the imposing structure of a 25-storey building; Amex Plaza. Some ran gazes along the walls of the building, and its rusted metal-work to its top till their hands visored their eyes.  A few looked back at the ice-cream seller, shook their heads and shifted their feet as more people pushed their way out of the teeming crowd. He pointed again towards the building but at something else. An overweight silver trash can. Worn-out blankets sitting against the grey pavement. Condom packs. Plastic bags. Crisp dry leaves and broken twigs. A bent, folded Ghana-Must-Go bag. Rustling polythene bags. Rats, cats or snakes perhaps. It didn’t make sense to those dressed in suits, whose laptop bags chafed against their buttocks whenever they moved. They left, at first in twos, then in threes. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reflections: 10 things I learnt from the Seunwrites #endthestory Contest

I recently entered into a short story competition which ended a couple of minutes ago (I am posting this 200 minutes after). The competition had a twist to it. Okay, let me tell you about it. It is a short story contest. The intention of the organizer was to #endthestory he had initially started. The story is titled "The Sex life of a Lagos mad woman". Sincerely, I really can't be bothered if you don't know where Lagos is. Google it. So, as I was saying, the winning entrant ought to get a Blackberry Playbook (not that I can't afford it eh-squeeze-me) and might be considered for a publishing contract (the juicy part) and some other mede-mede (additional benefits). 
Anyhow, the rule stated that we should type in Times Roman Font, blah-blah-blah (the technicalities will bore you) and write a convincing end to the story that would not be more than 500 words. So, I wrote something that I felt would do justice to #endthestory. You can read it here "entry 17".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

African Economy Growth, Foreign Investments and Local Participation

Indeed a new economic era dawns for the continent of Africa. Amid its well-publicized setbacks and fragments of societal imbalance, foreign investors are pushing their ways through into the continent. In the heat individual national dysfunctions and disorders such as the apartheid that scarred the South Africans or the genocide in Rwanda, Liberia’s civil war or the Egyptian revolution that ousted Mubarak, the continent picks up again. Nigeria had its share of the civil war and currently battles with terrorism. Libya is preoccupied with the creation of a stable government after toppling several years of dictatorial governance from Ghaddafi. Somalia is recuperating from economic starvation and stagnation as the conflict brings itself to a gradual halt. Malawi recovers from corruption and is being charted to stability by a visionary leader. Kenya also wrestles with its share of terrorist attacks. It is therefore acceptable to state with verifiable facts and figures that Africa rises. Although all may not be fully well with the thriving economy, it is evident that it will end well.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Letter to the Nigeria that raised me up

Mother, do you recognize my face? See I haven’t changed much. You remember my sheepish smiles. I still wear them. I have tried severally to remind you about who I am but you seem to grow more distant. I swear I’ve changed. I’m older and wiser and stronger. You remember how you shove NTA at me and stuffed all its  contents down my throat. Well, that was what you had at that time and I’m grateful for them. My childhood memories, hang, like my muffler around my neck. I remember Cadbury Breakfast Telly shows and all the cartoons I watched. I doubt you remember watching some of them with me. There was Superted, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, The Little Prince and Jabber Jaw. How will I not speak of Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Kidi Vision 101 and Voltron. Oh no! there was Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Some Mothers Do Have Them, The Adventures of the Famous Five, Rent-a-Ghost, and Behind the Clouds. Little Mama would give me One Naira and Fifty Kobo to buy a loaf of bread so that I could eat as breakfast with Pronto and Dano Milk before going to school the next day. You were not exactly the perfect mother at that time but I wasn’t complaining. Maybe I knew too little to complain. Mama provided my basic needs and I thought she could sustain providence because of your benignity towards her. As little as I was, I was an observant child as well as a keen listener. I didn’t have 2000 channels in my face or the internet tugging at me. I could observe, eavesdrop, relay and remember as young as I was.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A private matter

A private matter

He  started like a preacher. His face, grim and unsmiling. His eyes, narrowed, unfriendly and fixated on nothing but moping at everything. He wore a navy-blue shirt, neatly tucked in a pair of brown cashmere trousers, streaked with black zigzag lines. His belt, brown, broken and bent at the tip held his trousers high, above his abdomen. I couldn’t help but notice the belt-holes around his waist and how they overlapped on top of one another like the tightened tip of a garri sack.
“Treasures appear in subtle packages my dear” Keffi nudged at me. She seemed to knock me out of the climax of my daydream.
“Hmmmm”. I was wondering why she made such statement in this 49-seated-99-standing lorry. The air smelt of roasted fish and tomatoes and sweat and rowdiness.
“That may be your future husband” Keffi chipped in.
“God forbid! Tufiakwa” I retorted, twirling my hands above my head and dusting them over her head. “It’s your portion Keffi. Not mine”
“I already have my darling Kunle” She chuckled.
Yeah right. I giggled. My stomach tightened. I shuddered at the thought. My eyes darted to and fro the preacher’s body and lingered on his chest.
What kind of love or desperation would make someone like me marry a man like this? I thought.
His shirt, faded, missing a button somewhere above the belly. His hair, uncombed, divided like ridges on  a cassava plantation. He had thick upper lips slightly parted by two rabbit-like incisor teeth. He didn’t even have the looks that I wanted in a man. His body structure, small and frail.
Who knows?  He might not even have eaten for days.
Even if he did, by the miracle of the beauty and the beast, have the looks, he certainly lacked the svelte composure that turned me on, the type that Keffi’s fiancĂ© had.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When we GEJ out

You slightly touch your belly. It’s strike day four. Papa’s forehead shines in the distance as he raises his hands.
“Fellow Nigerians”. His voice makes you retch. It is a mixture of Hennessy and hypocrisy.
You bend over and let out soft moans. You can feel Natalie’s eyes on your skin. You feel it every month when you bend like this. Her silence doesn’t annoy you. She is like that.
You feel a grip on your arms. “Madam, hope no problem”. The grip is so tight that you can hardly breathe. You are certain it belongs to a man and you want to sue him for battery. Yeah, battery. Mr. Olajumoke, your torts lecturer mentioned it last December.
“I’m fine. Thanks” you wrench his fists away from your arms without looking up. Your gaze is dim. You can hardly make out your dark brown slippers from the brown sands on the ground. You blink your eyelids and that leeching tear drops.
Who pulled me into this battle? You ask yourself.
Two hands wrap themselves around your breast, pulling you up away from the swirling dust thumped up by the swarm of legs.