Archive for the ‘AFRICAN LANGUAGES’ Category

“CHAMS SEEKS REVIVAL OF LIVE THEATRE WITH FAGUNWA’S WORKS”-FROM TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER,NIGERIA,SEPT. 2008

September 17, 2008

FROM tribune

THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER
Since November, 1949

Sun. 7th Sept. 2008

Chams seeks revival of live theatre with Fagunwa’s works

By Akintayo Abodunrin

FagunwaLIVE theatre which has been in the doldrums in recent years is about to undergo a revival through the intervention of Computer Hardware and Maintenance Services (Chams) Plc. The company, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company that supports transactional card-based services, e-commerce and mobile payment solution is aiming to do this with its Chams Theatre Series.
Well aware of the entertainment and didactic roles of theatre in the human society, the company incorporated in 1985 as a computer maintenance and engineering company but which has grown to become a leading IT solutions company with pioneer status in smart card technology, according to Seye Femi Gureje, General Manager, Chams Access, conceived the theatre series as a strategic intervention and contribution to reawaken the stage culture in Nigeria. “It is also a means of promoting our culture and re-orientating Nigerians on the value we cherish”, he said.
At a briefing to introduce the series and its first presentation, an English and Yoruba adaptation of D.O. Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole by Professors Femi Osofisan and Akinwumi Isola last week at Protea Hotel, Lagos, Gureje explained why the company is seeking to resurrect live theatre through Fagunwa. In the company of Professor Osofisan, Dr. Kola Oyewo, director of the Yoruba adaptation entitled Ogboju Ode… and Dr. Tunde Awosanmi, director of the English adaptation entitled Adventures in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons; Gureje disclosed that the company chose the theatre series as a platform to interact with the larger society because of the benefits of theatre.
He disclosed that the company had gotten exclusive rights to sponsor stage adaptations of Ogboju Ode…, Igbo Olodumare, Ireke Onibudo, Irinkerindo Ninu Igbo Elegbeje and Adiitu Olodumare, all works of Fagunwa over the next five years and that the company was almost through with securing the rights to the works of other Nigerian authors.
Gureje disclosed that the series will open on September 13 with the adaptations of Ogboju Ode … and explained why the works of the late teacher were chosen this way: “D.O. Fagunwa’s works were essentially chosen because they portray the values we cherish in Chams. His books teaches lessons in perseverance, hard work, determination, teamwork, patriotism, etc and we also believe that this values are essential for nation building.”

From left, Dr. Kola Oyewo, Mr. Seye Femi Gureje,
Professor Femi Osofisan and Dr. Tunde Awosanmi
briefing the press on the Chams Theatre Series.He added that, “Fagunwa’s books were chosen because his works portray the richness of the African mind with most of his illustrations, and use of strong and unusual characters … The underlying theme of his works promote such virtues as perseverance, gratitude, selflessness, bravery, time management, leadership focus, service to humanity etc.”
Gureje assured that the company did not initiate the series for publicity and that it would not abandon the series midway. He said the project was very dear to Chams and that it is the values in Ogboju Ode… that made the company commence the series with it.
“Ogboju Ode… is a story of leadership, bravery, courage, discipline, industry, endurance and focus. It is a story of man striving valiantly against odds and succeeding. It is one that we commend to society”, Gureje said of the play which will be staged in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan and Ile-Ife.
Speaking on the play which the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode has endorsed and which command performance the ministry and Chams are collaborating to stage in Abuja, the project consultant, Professor Femi Osofisan, said he was privileged to work on the script of a master story-teller.
“Fagunwa is one of the great pioneers of the fiction genre in our indigenous language, a trail blazer in the modernisation and preservation of a traditional culture. Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole is a world classic, a story that will be forever young because it speaks to our fundamental yearning for adventure, thrill and wisdom.”
Osofisan added that he was excited because Chams realised the need to promote Nigeria’s indigenous culture by investing in the play unlike some companies that promote foreign derived shows. “By selecting this work, Chams is rendering an immeasurable service to the preservation of our culture. At a time when our country like others in the so-called Third World are faced with the menace of globalisation, certainly it is such projects as this that will help the process of our cultural rebirth,” the playwright who disclosed that he had to help some female members of the cast tie their wrappers and head tie said.
Osofisan also confessed that the project excites him because, “we all know how nowadays the stage is dying, and how live performances have almost completely vanished from the weekly diary of social experience. We have to thank Chams very specially therefore for this concrete contribution to the life of theatre. Actors are getting employment once again, both on the English speaking and Yoruba theatres, and in such large numbers too; designers and dancers and choreographers are receiving a long-needed push to creative resurgence; and the audience, long starved of direct contact with actors in a live auditorium, will have the opportunity once again of participating in the pleasure and the ecstasy that only a drama production is capable of.”

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YORUBA GREAT FIRST PUBLISHED WRITER D.O. FAGUNWA’S NOVEL BROUGHT BACK ON STAGE!-FROM PUNCH NEWSPAPER,NIGERIA,SEPT. 2008

September 17, 2008

FROM punchontheweb.com

From Langbodo with blood and gold
By Akeem Lasisi
Published: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2008
At the maiden show of The Adventure in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons, an adaptation of D.O. Fagunwa‘s novel, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, the audience have a taste of magical realism.

A scene from the play.
With the magnificent structures dotting its vast edifying ambience, you can hardly mistake the MUSON Centre, Lagos for any other entertainment arena. So it was for members of the public that trooped into the complex on Saturday to watch The Adventures of a Thousand Demons, Femi Osofisan‘s theatrical adaptation of D. O. Fagunwa‘s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole.

But on hitting the entrance of the Shell Hall, which was the venue of the performance, the story changed. A colony of trees on your right, an empire of stones on the left, you were spontaneously transported into a wild forest. It was this forest that ushered you into the expansive hall that also wore the garment of an unfathomable wilderness – dripping with bitter laughter and sweet tears of supernatural spirits.

On the sprawling stage lying ahead of you was a sacred foot path winding meandering through a network of sacred woods. On the roof, and entirely covering the walls of the hall, were ewele mats, which reminded learned members of the audience of the type that Egbere, one of Fagunwa‘s spirit characters wield in the novel. More important, however, was the fact that the eerie stage would soon become the battle ground for the die-hard principalities and brave men on excursion to Oke Langbodo, the ultimate destination of the Fagunwa‘s seven hunters in the mother script. As if you were no more at the MUSON, lions roared, elephants boomed just as wild, wild birds shrieked intermittently to warn the uninitiated of the dangers ahead.

But because the transformation was a make-believe, drums also roared. Tongues wagged in penetrating songs just as practised legs rolled in dance, invoking applause from the audience who were once again jolted back into the beauty of stage plays.

Such were the spectacles that the much publicised play invoked. It was the English version of the script commissioned by Chams Plc, which announced its arrival in the world of theatre promotion and development recently. Simultaneously, revered scholar and writer, Professor Akinwumi Ishola, was asked to write a Yoruba adaptation of the novel, with Tunde Awosanmi and Kola Oyewo directing respectively.

Coming in two parts, Osofisan‘s Adventures into the Forest of a Thousand Daemons captures the trials and triumphs of Akaraogun (Toyin Osinaike) and his hunting colleagues who go in search of a metaphoric Langbodo, for the sake of their fatherland for which they are out to attract resources that will invoke progress.

Since no good thing comes easy – and that is one basic lesson that both Fagunwa and Osofisan teach in the work – they encounter stiff adversity on their way. They have to wrestle with many daemons in the forest. But they too are very much prepared. Apart from physical strength, each of the adventurers has a special natural trait that proves very useful each time the chips are down. For instance, while Kako‘s invincible club can knock even an elephant, Olohun Iyo‘s sweet-singing voice can lure the most dreadful cobra to sleep. Imodoye, a name derived from knowledge and wisdom, is in the team to think and reason intelligently each time his people are in trouble. Very cleverly, Osofisan not only retains such values that Fagunwa wants the reader to pay attention to in human and societal development, he also develops the character of Akaraogun in such a way that he is a symbol of quality leadership – demonstrating determination, perseverance, and sowing no seed of hatred among the hunters he leads.

Among others, the battle with Agbako is hell hot. But for the helping spirit played by Ify Agwu, none of the adventurers would have survived his punch.

Apart from Osinaike, a thoroughbred actor, in the cast were tested hands such as Gogo Ombo Ombo (Elegbede Ode), Taiwo Ibikunle (Olohun Iyo), Martins Iwuagwu (Kako), Simileoluwa Hassan (Efoye) and Afolabi Dipeolu (Imodoye).

Also in action were Tunde Adeyemo (Oba), and actress and poet, Ify Agwu, (Iranlowo), who inspiringly carried the helper spirit that saw the hunters through the promise land.

Although Osofisan is that loyal to the spirit of the novel, he asserts freedom in certain significant areas. For instance, he introduces a lot of songs and dances. Besides, he brings in folklores that he employs to ventilate the structure of the play, while also using such to teach morality. But where he seems to have been extremely creative – or is it the director that should claim the kudos – is the point he introduces the ritual poetry, Iremoje, which hunters use to celebrate a dead colleague.

As fate would have it, the hunters lost three of their members, among who is Kako, whose hot temper remains his insatiable albatross. Now, on returning to their town after about 20 months of search for Langbodo, the hunters burst into Iremoje, and the attempt is very close to the way Yoruba hunters perform the ritual poetry in real life.

Osofisan‘s radical approach can also be seen in his interpretation of Oke Langbodo itself. Speaking through Akaraogun and Iranlowo, the playwright‘s message to the audience is that Langbodo is not a place. It is a moment of revelation, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of what brings peace and progress for the individual and society.

Altogether, The Adventures in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons is a successful exercise in attempting to revitalise live theatre in Nigeria.

Perhaps, the play can be tightened a bit, and this can be achieved by reducing the number of dramatised folklores. Besides, a fat person should have been made to play the role of the elephant.

On the part of Chams, theatre lovers can only hope that it will be able to sustain the project.

According to the company‘s Managing Director, Chief Demola Aladekomo, who led the company‘s workers dressed in dazzling green uniform traditional dresses to the show, it decided to rally the practitioners to the stage because of the roles that drama plays in the society.

“THE WIZARD OF THE CROW”,NGUGI WA THIONGO’S LATEST NOVEL COMMENTS FROM HIS SITE

May 19, 2008

from nguguiwathiongo.com

Revolutionary Magic:
Selected Comments on the Wizard of the Crow

Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o “mounts a nuanced but caustic political and social satire of African corruption of African society with a touch of magical realism – or, perhaps, realistic magic, as the Wizard’s tricks hung on holding a not-so-enchanted mirror to his client’s hidden delusions. The result is a sometimes lurid, sometimes lyrical reflection on Africa’s dysfunctions – and its possibilities.” STARRED REVIEW Publishers Weekly, August, 2006.

“Magic realism drives this mammoth novel set in the imaginary African country of Aburiria, and exiled Kenyan writer wa Thiong’o roots the wild fantasy in the brutal horror of contemporary politics. His ridicule of the powerful knows no bounds as the novel chronicles greed and corruption in Aburiria and in the West, including the Global Bank’s funding of the Aburirian ruler’s Marching to Heaven Tower of Babel. But even more than the crazy plot of coup, countercoup, flattery, and betrayal, what holds the reader here is the intimate story of one couple. Quiet secretary Nyawira, secret leader of the people’s resistance movement, persuades her intellectual lover, Kamiti, to give up his search for himself in the wild, and they embark on a plan to change the world, with Kamiti disguised as a sorcerer. Set off by the global farce, this unforgettable love story reveals the magic power of the ordinary in people and in politics.” HAZEL ROCHMAN. Booklist.

“Ngugi has perfected in Wizard of the Crow an art of radical simplicity, of sharply defined conflicts that, paradoxically, is less reductive than ostensibly more nuanced accounts of Africa proffered by historians and political analysts. At once an epic burlesque of a sick lumbering state and a praise song to the manifold forms of African resistance, the phantasmagoric saga of Aburiria is as clear a view of Africa as we are likely to get for sometime.” JAMES GIBBONS, Bookforum, Summer 2006.

“I have every expectation that his new novel, Wizard of the Crow, will be seen in years to come as the equal of Midnight’s Children, The Tin Drum or One Hundred Years of Solitude; a magisterial magic realist account of 20th-century African history. It is unreservedly a masterpiece.” STUART KELLEY, Scotland on Sunday, August 13, 2006.

“In its best scatological moments, it echoes the great Latin American novels of dictatorship by Miguel Angel Asturias, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez…. It now stands as a vivid portrait of postcolonialism and the banality of evil.” SIMON GIKANDI, in a review of the Gikuyu original in Foreign Policy.

“Ngugi writes with bite on contemporary African themes like corruption and sexual discrimination, but he isn’t caustic or heavy handed. It’s magical realism meets Africa, and it hits the mark.” FLORENCE WILLIAMS, Outside, August, 2006.

“In his crowded career and eventful life, Ngugi has enacted, for all to see, the paradigmatic trials and quandaries of a contemporary African writer, caught in sometimes implacable political, social, racial, and linguistic currents …The tale is fantastic and didactic, told in broad strokes . . . its principal actors wear physical distortions like large, firelit masks.” JOHN UPDIKE, The New Yorker, July 31, 2006.

“The pull and promise of Wizard of the Crow … is evident in the labyrinthine wonders of its opening chapters, which involve the authors most raucus and ambitious combination to-date of satire, social realism and supernatural occurrence.” RANDY BOYAGANDA, Harper’s Magazine, September, 2006.

“The effort to throw off the[se] shadow chains of the [colonia] past while establishing an authentically African continuum has been at the thematic center of much African literature, but in Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s epic novel, “Wizard of the Crow,” this theme may well have found its ultimate expression….[I]t is essential reading for a world that only seems now to be finally waking up to its own reality, bathed in a vision of ever potential hope.” DAVID HELLMAN, San Francisco Chronicle.

“For all the angry force of Mr. Ngugi’s storytelling, his tale ends on a note of hope and, indeed, happiness. “Wizard of the Crow” is not a nostalgic celebration of folk-wizardry, as if quaint belief will solve the troubles brought on by Africa’s encounter with the modern world. It is, though, a reminder that people can find within themselves redemptive resources.” ROGER KAPLAN, The Wall Street Journal.
“This delirious comedy feeds on itself… At its deepest level … the novel is really about re-centering the author’s discourse in Africa itself by a radical focus on multiple African voices. There are many tellers of tales in this saga, and each has an individual authenticity.” KEITH GAREBIAN, Globe and Mail, August 19, 2006.
“Aburiria is recognisable as Africa in all its splendour, squalor, economic malaise and venality, but it comes with more than a touch of magical realism. (…) Despite the book’s faults, it is hard not to be cheered by the spirit of gentle resistance that is at its core, in defiance of everyday greed.” The Economist.

“Wizard of the Crow is the most ambitious entry yet from a writer whose output feels essential for those hoping to understand contemporary Africa.” GREGORY MILLER, The San Diego-Union Tribune, August 6, 2006.
“The shades of humour range from the caustic when lampooning a corrupt politician to affectionate when exposing the frailty of ordinary struggling to survive … it is also a love story that leaves lingering tenderness.” RUTH WILDGUST, Post-IE, The Sunday Business Post.

“Wizard of the Crow … is an impish and hallucinatory satire on dictatorship — as though Saddam Hussein had won a coup d’état in Wonderland, then sent Alice and the rabbit to a Soviet labour camp.” Sunday Times (London), August 26, 2006.

“This novel is restless, epic, allusive. Ngugi wa Thiong’o gives himself scope to tackle big themes, to explore the nature of political oppression and corruption. His book attempts to explode assumptions about the essence of reality. It blurs and frequently juxtaposes visions of everyday consciousness and visionary truth… This is a book about choosing sides. A book above all about the individual’s responses to moral dilemmas… It’s a book of wonderful purple phases (the greatest lyrical description of making love I have ever read, a marvelous evocation of wilderness).” TOM ADAIR, The Scotsman, August 12, 2006.

“Why should a reader invest in Wizard of the Crow nearly 800-page bulk? Simply because this novel is a literary masterpiece, woven in the rich nuance of Africa’s oral tradition, as real as spilt blood, a mythical dance of great power.” SKYE K. MOODY, The Seattle Times, August 27, 2006.

“ …a compelling novel… a first class masterpiece.” Aesthetica, Issue 14, 2006
“A remarkable book, sure to be widely read.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review.
“One of the best reads of the year.” Essence, August 2006.
Links to Articles:

Wizard of the Crow
By Laura Mitchell
sALON.COM

Odyssey of an African Sorcerer
By Stuart Kelly
Follow link, click on “Article Index”
Scroll to “Review” section

Festival Books
Ngugi wa Thiong’o; Doris Lessing
By Rosemary Goring

Inconstancy of Rain, Homes and Politics
By Lesley McDowell

UC Irvine Professor Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
Publishes Long-Awaited Novel

Allegory of Post-colonial Africa Takes Flight
Reviewed by David Hellman

Playing the Role of a Voice for Freedom
By John Freeman

Parable Land
By Tom Adair

The Homecoming
By Cornel Bonca

Fictionalized Africa, Ills Intact
Wall Street Journal

Thiong’o is Back
By Davina Morris

Kenyan novelist, 68, refuses to be silenced
By John Freman

Wizard of the Crow:
Rooted in reality, steeped in the supernatural
By Skye K. Moody

Wizard Of The Crow

NGUGI WA THIONGO,THE GREAT AFRICAN WRITER FROM KENYA,FROM HIS SITE

May 19, 2008

from nguguiwathiongo.com

NGUGI WA THIONGO,THE GREAT AFRICAN WRITER FROM KENYA,FROM HIS WEBSITE
from ngugiwathiongo.com

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o: A Profile of a Literary and Social Activist.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine, was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. He was educated at Kamandura, Manguu and Kinyogori primary schools; Alliance High School, all in Kenya; Makerere University College (then a campus of London University), Kampala, Uganda; and the University of Leeds, Britain. He is recipient of seven Honorary Doctorates viz D Litt (Albright); PhD (Roskilde); D Litt (Leeds); D Litt &Ph D (Walter Sisulu University); PhD (Carlstate); D Litt (Dillard) and D Litt (Auckland University). He is also Honorary Member of American Academy of Letters. A many-sided intellectual, he is novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist.

The Kenya of his birth and youth was a British settler colony (1895-1963). As an adolescent, he lived through the Mau Mau War of Independence (1952-1962), the central historical episode in the making of modern Kenya and a major theme in his early works.

Ngugi burst onto the literary scene in East Africa with the performance of his first major play, The Black Hermit, at the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda, in 1962, as part of the celebration of Uganda’s Independence. “Ngugi Speaks for the Continent,” headlined The Makererian, the Student newspaper, in a review of the performance by Trevor Whittock, one of the professors. In a highly productive literary period, Ngugi wrote additionally eight short stories, two one act plays, two novels, and a regular column for the Sunday Nation under the title, As I See It. One of the novels, Weep Not Child, was published to critical acclaim in 1964; followed by the second novel, The River Between (1965). His third, A Grain of Wheat (1967), was a turning point in the formal and ideological direction of his works. Multi-narrative lines and multi-viewpoints unfolding at different times and spaces replace the linear temporal unfolding of the plot from a single viewpoint. The collective replaces the individual as the center of history.

In 1967, Ngugi became lecturer in English Literature at the University of Nairobi. He taught there until 1977 while, in-between, also serving as Fellow in Creative writing at Makerere (1969-1970), and as Visiting Associate Professor of English and African Studies at Northwestern University (1970-1971). During his tenure at Nairobi, Ngugi was at the center of the politics of English departments in Africa, championing the change of name from English to simply Literature to reflect world literature with African and third world literatures at the center. He, with Taban Lo Liyong and Awuor Anyumba, authored the polemical declaration, On the Abolition of the English Department, setting in motion a continental and global debate and practices that later became the heart of postcolonial theories. “If there is need for a ’study of the historic continuity of a single culture’, why can’t this be African? Why can’t African literature be at the centre so that we can view other cultures in relationship to it?” they asked. The text is carried in his first volume of literary essays, Homecoming, which appeared in print in 1969. These were to be followed, in later years, by other volumes including Writers in Politics (1981 and 1997); Decolonising the Mind (1986); Moving the Center (1994); and Penpoints Gunpoints and Dreams (1998).

The year 1977 forced dramatic turns in Ngugi’s life and career. His first novel in ten years, Petals of Blood, was published in July of that year. The novel painted a harsh and unsparing picture of life in neo-colonial Kenya. It was received with even more emphatic critical acclaim in Kenya and abroad. The Kenya Weekly Review described as “this bomb shell” and the Sunday Times of London as capturing every form and shape that power can take. The same year Ngugi’s controversial play, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), written with Ngugi wa Mirii, was performed at Kamirithu Educational and Cultural Center, Limuru, in an open air theatre, with actors from the workers and peasants of the village. Sharply critical of the inequalities and injustices of Kenyan society, publicly identified with unequivocally championing the cause of ordinary Kenyans, and committed to communicating with them in the languages of their daily lives, Ngugi was arrested and imprisoned without charge at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison at the end of the year, December 31, 1977. An account of those experiences is to be found in his memoir, Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1982). It was at Kamiti Maximum Prison that Ngugi made the decision to abandon English as his primary language of creative writing and committed himself to writing in Gikuyu, his mother tongue. In prison, and following that decision, he wrote, on toilet paper, the novel, Caitani Mutharabaini (1981) translated into English as Devil on the Cross, (1982).

After Amnesty International named him a Prisoner of Conscience, an international campaign secured his release a year later, December 1978. However, the Moi Dictatorship barred him from jobs at colleges and university in the country. He resumed his writing and his activities in the theater and in so doing, continued to be an uncomfortable voice for the Moi dictatorship. While Ngugi was in Britain for the launch and promotion of Devil on the Cross, he learned about the Moi regime’s plot to eliminate him on his return, or as coded, give a red carpet welcome on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport. This forced him into exile, first in Britain (1982 –1989), and then the U.S. after (1989-2002), during which time, the Moi dictatorship hounded him trying, unsuccessfully, to get him expelled from London and from other countries he visited. In 1986, at a conference in Harare, an assassination squad outside his hotel in Harare was thwarted by the Zimbwean security. His next Gikuyu novel, Matigari, was published in 1986. Thinking that the novel’s main character was a real living person, Dictator Moi issued an arrest warrant for his arrest but on learning that the character was fictional, he had the novel “arrested;” instead. Undercover police went to all the bookshops in the country and the Publishers warehouse and took the novel away. So, between 1986 and 1996, Matigari could not be sold in Kenyan bookshops. The dictatorship also had all Ngugi’s books removed from all educational institutions.

In exile, Ngugi worked with the London based Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya, (1982-1998), which championed the cause of democratic and human rights in Kenya. In between, he was Visiting Professor at Byreuth University (1984); and Writer in Residence, for the Borough of Islington, London (1985) and took time to study film, at Dramatiska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. (1986). After 1988, Ngugi became Visiting Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale (1989-1992) in between holding The Five Colleges (Amherst, Mount Holyoke, New Hampshire, Smith, East Massachusetts) Visiting Distinguished Professor of English and African Literature (Fall 1991). He then became Professor of Comparative Literature and Performance Studies at New York University (1992 –2002) where he also held the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of languages, from where he moved to his present position at the University of California Irvine. He remained in exile for the duration of the Moi Dictatorship 1982-2002. When he and his wife, Njeeri, returned to Kenya in 2004 after twenty-two years in exile, they were attacked by four hired gunmen and narrowly escaped with their lives.

Ngugi has continued to write prolifically, publishing, in 2006, what some have described as his crowning achievement, Wizard of the Crow, an English translation of the Gikuyu language novel, Murogi wa Kagogo. Ngugi’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages and they continue to be the subject of books, critical monographs, and dissertations.

Paralleling his academic and literary life has been his role in the production of literature, providing, as an editor, a platform for other people’s voices. He has edited the following literary journals: Penpoint (1963-64); Zuka (1965 -1970); Ghala (guest editor for one issue, 1964?); and Mutiiri (1992-).

He has also continued to speak around the world at numerous universities and as a distinguished speaker. These appearances include: the 1984 Robb Lectures at Auckland University in New Zealand; the1996 Clarendon Lectures in English at Oxford University; the 1999 Ashby Lecture at Cambridge; and the 2006 MacMillan Stewart Lectures at Harvard.
He is recipient of many honors including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and seven honorary doctorates.

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LANGUAGES OF NIGERIA ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA.ORG

May 5, 2008

FROM wikipedia.org

Languages of Nigeria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linguistic map of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin.Nigeria

This article is part of the series:
Culture of Nigeria

Languages
Literature
List of Nigerian writers
List of Nigerian poets
Music of Nigeria

Other countries – Culture Portal

view • talk • edit
The number of languages currently estimated and catalogued in Nigeria is 521. This number includes 510 living languages, two second languages without native speakers and 9 extinct languages. In some areas of Nigeria, ethnic groups speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, the former colonial language, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. The major languages spoken in Nigeria are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, Efik, Ibibio and Annang language, Adamawa Fulfulde, Idoma, and Central Kanuri. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English, being the official language, is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English, however, remains an exclusive preserve of a small minority of the country’s urban elite, and is not spoken in rural areas. With approximately 75% of Nigeria’s populace in the rural areas, the major languages of communication in the country remain tribal languages, with the most widely spoken being Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Foreign minorities speak their own languages aside from English and/or major native languages as their second languages.

Nigeria’s linguistic diversity is a microcosm of Africa as a whole, encompassing three major African languages families: the Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and the Niger-Congo A branch of the Niger-Congo family. Nigeria also has one unclassifiable language, Cen Tuum, spoken by a few old people among the Cham in Gombe State. This may represent an intriguing relic of an even greater diversity prior to the spread of the current language families.

Contents [hide]
1 Niger-Congo languages
2 Afro-Asiatic languages
3 See also
4 Wikimedia
5 References
6 External links

[edit] Niger-Congo languages
Niger-Congo predominates in central and southern Nigeria; the main branches represented in Nigeria are Mande, Atlantic, Gur, Kwa, Benue-Congo and Adamawa-Ubangian. Mande is represented by the Busa cluster and Kyenga in the northwest. Fulfulde is the single Atlantic language, of Senegambian origin but now spoken by cattle pastoralists across the Sahel and largely in the North of Nigeria by the Fulani (sometimes Fulbe) diaspora. The Ijoid languages are spoken across the Niger Delta and include Ịjọ (=Ijaw), Kalabari and the intriguing remnant language, Defaka, while the Ibibio language is spoken across the coastal southeastern part of Nigeria and includes Efik, Annnang, oron, Eket, and Ikot Abasi. The single Gur language spoken is Baatọnun, in the Northwest. The Adamawa-Ubangian languages are spoken between central Nigeria and the Central African Republic. Their westernmost representatives in Nigeria are the Tula-Waja languages. The Kwa languages are represented by the Gun group in the extreme southwest, which is affiliated to the Gbe languages in Benin and Togo.

The classification of the remaining languages is controversial; Joseph Greenberg classified those without noun-classes, such as Yoruba, Igbo, and Ibibio, as ‘Eastern Kwa’ and those with classes as ‘Benue-Congo’. This was reversed in an influential 1989 publication and reflected on the 1992 map of languages, where all these were considered Benue-Congo. Recent opinion, however, has been to revert to Greenberg’s distinction. The literature must thus be read with care and due regard for the date. It should be noted that there are several small language groupings in the Niger Confluence area, notably Ukaan, Akpes, Ayere-Ahan and Ọkọ, whose inclusion in these groupings has never been satisfactorily argued.

Former Eastern Kwa, i.e. West Benue-Congo would then include Yoruboid, i.e. Yoruba, Itsekiri and Igala, Akokoid (eight small languages in Ondo, Edo and Kogi state), Edoid including Edo in Edo State, Igboid, Ibibio, Efik, Annnang, Idomoid (Idoma) and Nupoid (Nupe) and perhaps include the other languages mentioned above. East Benue-Congo includes Kainji, Plateau (46 languages, notably Eggon), Jukunoid, Dakoid and [[Cross River languages|Cross River]. Apart from these, there are numerous Bantoid languages, which are the languages immediately ancestral to Bantu. These include Mambiloid, Ekoid, Bendi, Beboid, Grassfields and Tivoid languages. The geographic distribution of Nigeria’s Niger-Congo languages is not limited to south-central Nigeria, as migration allows their spread to the linguistically Afro-Asiatic northern regions of Nigeria, as well as throughout West Africa and abroad. Yoruba is spoken as a ritual language in cults such as the Santeria in the Caribbean and South-Central America, and the Berbice Dutch language in Surinam is based on an Ijoid language.

Even the above listed linguistic diversity of the Niger-Congo in Nigeria is deceptively limiting, as these languages may further consist of regional dialects that may not be mutually intelligible. As such some languages, particularly those with a large number of speakers, have been standardized and received a romanized orthography. Nearly all languages appear in a Roman script when written, often with modifications allowing for a language’s particularities. The Yoruba and Igbo languages are notable examples of this process; Standard Yoruba came into being due to the work Samuel Crowther, the first African bishop of the Anglican Church and owes most of its lexicon to the dialects spoken in Ọyọ and Ibadan. Since Standard Yoruba’s constitution was determined by a single author rather than by a consensual linguistic policy by all speakers, the Standard has been attacked regarding for failing to include other dialects and spurred debate as to what demarcates “genuine Yoruba”. The more historically recent standardization and romanization of Igbo has provoked even more controversy due to its dialectical diversity, but the Central Igbo dialect has gained the widest acceptace as the standard-bearer; however many such as Chinua Achebe have dismissed standardization as colonial and conservative attempts to simplify a complex mosaic of languages. Such controversies typify inter- and intra-ethnic conflict endemic to post-colonial Nigeria.

Linguistically speaking, all demonstrate the varying phonological features of the Niger-Congo family to which they belong, these include the use of tone, nasality, and particular consonant and vowel systems; more information is available here.

[edit] Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afro-Asiatic languages of Nigeria divide into Chadic, Semitic and Berber. Of these, Chadic languages predominate, with 70+ languages. Semitic is represented by various dialects of Arabic spoken in the Northeast and Berber by the Tuareg-speaking communities in the extreme Northwest.

The Hausa language is the most well-known Chadic language in Nigeria; though there is a paucity of statistics on native speakers in Nigeria, the language is spoken by 24 million people in West Africa and is the second language of 15 million more. Hausa has therefore emerged as lingua franca throughout much of West Africa and the Sahel in particular. The language is spoken primarily amongst Muslims, and the language is often associated with Islamic culture in Nigeria and West Africa on the whole. Hausa is classified as a West Chadic language of the Chadic grouping, a major subfamily of Afro-Asiatic. Culturally, the Hausa people have become closely integrated with the Fulani following the jihadist establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate by the Fulani Uthman dan Fodio in the 19th century. Hausa is the official language of a number states in Northern Nigeria and the most important dialect is generally regarded as that spoken in Kano,an Eastern Hausa dialect, which is the standard variety used for official purposes. Eastern dialects also include some dialects spoken in Zaria, and Bauchi; Western Hausa dialects include Sakkwatanchi spoken in Sokoto, Katsinanchi in Katsina Arewanchi in both Gobir and Adar,Kebbi, and Zamfara. Katsina is transitional between Eastern and Western dialects. Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa and Arawa, while Zaria is a prominent Southern tongue version; Barikanchi is a pidgin formerly used in the military.

Hausa is a highly atypical Chadic language, with a reduced tonal system and a phonology influenced by Arabic. Other well-known Chadic languages include Ngas, Mwaghavul, Bole, Ngizim, Bade and Bacama. In the East of Nigeria and on into Cameroun are the Central Chadic languages, such as Bura, the Higi cluster and Marghi. These are highly diverse and remain very poorly described. Many Chadic languages are severely threatened; recent searches by Bernard Caron for Southern Bauchi languages show that even some of those recorded in the 1970s have disappeared. However, unknown Chadic languages are still being reported, witness the recent description of Dyarim.

Hausa, as well as other Afro-Asiatic languages like Bade (another West Chadic language spoken in Yobe State), have historically been written in a modified Arabic script known as ajami, however, the modern official orthography is now a romanization known as boko first introduced by the British regime in the 1930s.

[edit] See also
List of languages of Nigeria

[edit] Wikimedia
Systematic graphic of the Niger-Congo languages with numbers of speakers

[edit] References
Blench, Roger (2002) Research on Minority Languages in Nigeria in 2001. Ogmios.
Blench, Roger (1998) ‘The Status of the Languages of Central Nigeria’, in Brenzinger, M. (ed.) Endangered languages in Africa. Köln: Köppe Verlag, 187-206. online version
Crozier, David & Blench, Roger (1992) An Index of Nigerian Languages (2nd edition). Dallas: SIL.

[edit] External links
Ethnologue Listing of Nigerian Languages
Blench, Roger (n.d.) Atlas of Nigerian Languages, ed. III (revised and amended edition of Crozier & Blench 1992)
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