Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tony Allen, Jude Dibia

Some Nigerians on the radio today, and not for a "I am the spawn of Abacha, and I have dodgy loot to remove from the country" type letter. These Nigerians are doing good things. Fela's former drummer, Tony Allen, was featured on Radio 4's flagship Today programme, with Brian Eno (music theorist par excellence) calling him, "probably the greatest drummer that ever lived". Praise indeed. Listen here.

On the BBC World Service, there was Jude Dibia (pictured) talking about his book Walking with Shadows - Nigeria's first gay novel. The obvious question: is he gay? I've done a teensy bit of research, and there's nothing to indicate that he is. If he is though, he'd be Nigeria's first gay public figure, at least as his stock rises. But even if he isn't gay, he should be applauded for writing about a taboo subject. Nigeria is the kind of place where someone will place a fatwa on his head for writing such. I look forward to reading the book when it comes out over here. I just hope it is simply a good book, and not one being hyped because Jolomi and Eze are doing the dirty in the boys' quarters. Nigeria's Sun has a small profile of him.


Jeremy said...

We're starting up a publishing business in Nigeria this year and are on the look out for new manuscripts. We'd love to look at Jude Dibia's work, but given the climate of extreme intolerance to homosexuality, enshrined in the anti-gay law just about to be rushed through the Nat Assembly (the origin of the bill: Baba went to Sa and caught a news story about a gay marriage legal case), and especially given its proscription of any gay activism or association, it would be impossible to publish here: we would find ourselves closed down (and I would be booted out of the country).

This law by the way puts Obasanjo on a footing with Mugabe in terms of anti-human-rights stance. It is impossible to see a repeal in the next few decades, if ever (given the extreme fascistic intolerance of evangelicals), which means that Nigeria will join up with Iran and Saudi Arabia in terms of intolerance of non-heterosexual practice.

Plurality and openness to otherness in Nigerian art and culture will only ever take place in the diaspora, I'm saddened to conclude. A cultural revolution aint going to happen soon.

Anonymous said...

Walking with Shadows isn't great literature but the theme is bold and the author....what do you think...his favourite authors include E Lynn Harris and James Baldwin...go figure

Anonymous said...

I have read Jude Dibia's 'Walking With Shadows' and I must say that it is indeed a very thought provoking book. Bold, Yes! But then again the writer has managed to infuse attitudes from both sides to tell this story.

It is a sad thing when people start to lable the writer based on what authors he enjoys reading, by-the-way he did say he enjoyed loads of other Nigerian writers apart from the American Harris and Baldwin!

The book can be obtained from lulu.com/content/127582